Europe is getting ready to engage with the Green New Deal across multiple industries and the New Bauhaus is viewed as a school of thought and practice to achieve EU Green Deal missions. Design as a system thinking, an enabler to recruit innovation at scale as well as presenting accessibility will help public to see that ideas can become reality, and this is exactly what is expected of the project. The main challenge is to come to terms for a shared future and communicate the practice and the need for such extensive collaborations.
The project is focused around assigning best talents and skillsets around arts, architecture, craft and making to deliver the Green Deal despite the challenges ahead. The approach is also demanding a cultural and behavioral shift at the meeting points of technology, design, social impact to create better clients, manufacturers and designers. Every object or service that could be an artifact of design could be reviewed and the innovation that the future recalls include the longer-term imagination as well as the practical everyday applications. Instead of asking if we should design a new pair of jeans using organic cotton or sustainable new fibers the broader question inquires what is a pair of jeans and how would a pair of jeans make social impact? What kind of values could be generated through fashion or what would it mean to wear circular fashion? What would this life-style stand for?
By nature, fashion works from the street up and defines a supply chain that extends beyond the countries where clothes are used (consumed) The thinking behind the New Bauhaus for the New Green Deal will have implications for industries where design is one of the ubiquitous tools that bond not just products but communities, people, the past and the future.
In his book Covid 19 The Great Reset, Klaus Schwab outlines the post pandemic micro trends which I find to be very relevant to all the dynamics of the fashion industry.
Acceleration of digitization: all the way across the value chain fashion in becoming digitized at scale. Imagine a system where physical samples for a collection need to start at the denim fabric stage and designed and washed into jeans to be sent from the manufacturing locations to global design offices (or homes of the designer`s during the pandemic) to be reviewed, critiqued to be remade. Already outdates right? Even for the denim industry where the wash aesthetics or tactile design inputs were seen as a necessity the way we design and realize fashion is changing. As self-avatars and digital fashion houses take on beyond being fringe, the industry will also have to re-think what makes sense to physically produce (and use) The fashion shows have changed forever and as much as we miss the community feel, the return of investment for any future physical show will be questioned in depth. The online shopping comfort will partially remain as a behavioral change and the brick and mortars will have to redefine their value.
Resilient supply chains: The notion of a supply chain works both from consumption to manufacturer and vice versa – the whole system needs to be rebuilt with end to end value optimization. The pandemic has presented how the fashion industry was built on a cheap labor, cheap resource loops at scale and how the relationships dissolved leaving the most vulnerable to be impacted the most. Resilience demands the redefinition of relationships and this might increase the price of goods.
Stakeholder capitalism and ESG: Environmental social governance could be considered as the minimum to set the benchmark for stakeholder capitalism. Fashion contribution to climate change has been unveiled and the next era will define how consumer behavior, innovation, supply chain responsibility, social impact and carbon drawdown will be at the forefront of the investment processes.
Brand reputation will be entitled with the willingness to engage with employee, community goodwill. The way the consumers interact with the brands as well as with each other is redefining the industry`s future and the supply chain needs to wake up to the new dynamics beyond the mere statistics. The circular business reset cannot be managed or defined with the linear business dynamics – I mean it could be greenwashed to appear to be circular but if the strategies, the technology, the knowledge and the skillset running the businesses are not recruited to be circular-the model will simply not reveal to create profits.
The individual resets have already been taking on – imposed or voluntary but we have changed and are still changing. Our priorities are altered : how we socialize, take care of our communities, value as necessities, manage our health, shop, educate our kids, take care of our wellness and health, how we consider nature; all come with new perceptions. Projecting identities through mere products may have a new course.
The New Green Deal or the The Great Reset are methods or projections that define our collective, interconnected and very much interwoven future as human species and we cannot implement betterment in one region, one country or one community or one company in an industry and expect the reset to work – it won`t. We have to make sure that the uplift has a common global goal to diminish all kind of social inequalities, resource depletion in the form of water, raw materials, soil, clean air, labor and enable design to complement and collaborate with technology and innovation to achieve its best practical performance.