For those of you who don't know, last week was NYC Textile Week. On Friday, we were lucky enough to attend the first ever Ideas for Change Conference, which focused on new and innovative ways that we can transform the fashion industry. An industry that seems to rely on technology that has remained nearly unchanged for two centuries. Speakers ranged from trend forecasters to chemists, all with different ideas about the future of fashion. Here are the top five things they taught us:
1. Remember the obvious
Simon Collins, creative advisor and chairman of WGSN spent twenty minutes reminding us of the obvious - things we probably know but don't hear enough. A theme that resonated throughout his speech was that we are our own story, and that story is powerful. It's not just what we say that matters. What we do, how we act, and how we carry ourselves speak volumes, and finding a way to clearly and consistently articulate our story is essential.
2. Make Your Voice Heard
So now we know our story, and a few other people know our story. So what? How do we use this story to make a difference? Julia Hughes, President of the United States Fashion Industry Association, challenged us to make noise where it matters. Stand up to the people who have the power to make change, and be part of this change. Write to senators and congressmen, tweet at brands, shop your values, figure out who can best help your cause and make your voice heard.
3. Get Your Facts Straight
We're in the age of data. We track everything and consult Google about anything we don't understand. Sarika Doshi, co-founder and CEO of Rank&Style, a site that publishes data-driven top ten fashion and beauty lists, reminded us how accurate data not only fosters trust and transparency, it helps people to make their own educated decisions.
4. Inspiration is Right In Front of You
"Nature is alive with chemistry." This is how Mark Dorfman, chemist at Biomimicry, began his speech. He went on to explain how nature creates chemistry without polluting the environment and how we can take cues from it as we reengineer textiles. On a more base level, this showed us that there are so many things we take for granted every day that we can learn from.
5. Be Forward Thinking
What will people buy in 2030? Haysun Hahn, CEO at Fast Forward Trending, predicted that there will be three consumer groups - mass class, suburbanite community, and ultra culture - and they will shop based on a psychological profile. Regardless of whether or not these groups are the future, this was an important reminder that we need to look forward, acknowledge our hopes, and work to make them a reality.