6 MINS READ
Fashion has long revolved around seasons, with the fall/winter season running from July through December and the spring/summer season running from January through June. Designers traditionally launch new spring/summer collections in September and showcase fall/winter fashions in March.
Smaller fashion shows would take place up to five times each year, driving shoppers toward the latest, trendiest designs and creating a short life cycle for each item. Preparation for the next fashion season would begin six months in advance, and stores would be stocked with seasonal clothing shortly after the new designs showed up on runways. New retail stock for mass-market consumption has a turnover of about two weeks, with new stock produced and shipped to stores multiple times per month.
Traditional fashion seasons have begun to give way to seasonless fashion, which puts the focus on high-quality garments with cross-seasonal boundaries and reduces the need for a new wardrobe twice each year. The pandemic served as a catalyst for this change, but evergreen clothing items had already begun to seep into seasonal collections in small ways over the last few years.
Some brands, including Michael Kors and Saint Laurent, no longer follow the traditional seasonal calendar when introducing new designs. Both Gucci and Prada stopped using the seasonal calendar to introduce collections in 2020.
The focus of seasonless fashion revolves around comfort, timeless designs, and long-lasting fabrics that can be worn longer than a few months. Seasonless fashion also improves the sustainability of the industry. According to WWD, “By shifting away from a calendar-based cycle, retailers and brands can avoid arbitrary cut-off dates, order quantities, and markdown cycles when there’s unseasonably warm or cold weather.
By loosening constraints, the seasonless model allows for the generation of other options, and thereby, better decisions and outcomes for business and consumers alike.”
Timeless garments are always in fashion, so the same outfit can work through spring, summer, fall, and winter. Modern fashion designers committed to a seasonless fashion philosophy create silhouettes that are always in fashion.
Multi-season designs can be adjusted to suit various weather conditions and seasonal trends. A classic blouse that can be worn alone in summer or with a sweater layered on top during the winter works year-round. Customers are more likely to wear timeless pieces year after year as well, which extends the lifespan of each item of clothing in a closet.
Creating a wardrobe of timeless fashion involves choosing base pieces that serve as a canvas for layered clothes and accessories. Long-lasting fabrics, such as linen, cotton, and silk, provide durability and textural appeal that less sturdy synthetic fabrics just can’t match.
Shifting to a seasonless fashion philosophy in retail and design spaces reduces customer demand for the latest trends. Factory supply chains run more smoothly since fewer products are needed, and the relentless demand for new styles is reduced.
Some fast fashion cycles involve periods of high factory use followed by between-season dips in production. A seasonless approach provides consistent work throughout the year for those in the garment industry, creating a better system for workers at all levels.
Impulse purchases are often driven by a need to have the latest and greatest fashion item. The drive to always stay on trend plays into the relentless fast fashion industry. Advertising tells customers that they need to have the newest fashion items, and this drives designers to create new designs to fill that demand. Changes in small details, such as hem length or patterns, from season to season encourage customers to buy into the cycle of fast fashion.
The fast speed of production involved in seasonal fashion also leaves customers feeling pressured to buy items right away. Since trend cycles move quickly, an item on store shelves one week may disappear by the next week. Customers used to fast fashion may impulse buy clothes they like without thinking about long-term wear simply because they’re afraid to miss out on the design if they wait.
Seasonless collections allow for a more relaxed slow fashion approach to shopping. Items without a fashion expiration date remain available longer, so shoppers can take their time to decide which pieces truly fit into their existing wardrobe. Fewer impulse purchases also reduce over-consumption and address the growing problem of too-rapid trend cycles in the industry.
One major issue with fast fashion is that it often produces waste when trends go out of style. Fabric may become useless at the end of a season as new patterns or colors are introduced. Seasonless fashion gets around this problem by producing clothing designed to last more than one season instead of being heavily invested in trendy details. Fabric from a prior season can be incorporated into future clothing without the worry of it being out of style.
Some slow fashion brands focus on waste reduction at the factory level. Strategies used by brands to encourage seasonless design and reduce waste include:
Fast fashion that isn’t sold ends up going on clearance because retailers have to make room for the next season’s clothes. This leads to a cycle of overproduction, clearance sales, and devaluing of clothing.
When fashion isn’t tied to specific seasons and trendy details, there’s no need to put last season’s products on sale to make room for a new fashion line. Seasonless fashion can be sold year-round or moved into storage to return to the sales floor once the weather shifts again.
Polyester and other synthetic fibers are a major source of microplastic pollution in the environment. The fashion industry also accounts for more carbon emissions than international air travel and maritime shipping combined. Seasonless fashion cuts into the heart of this disposable clothing cycle by reducing demand and reducing the need to dispose of older pieces as they go out of fashion.
Slow seasonless fashion is sustainable fashion. As the industry shifts to a model where reusing clothing and investing in high-quality garments designed to last for years is the norm, fashion becomes more sustainable. Currently, about 11.3 million tons of textile waste are thrown away each year, over 2,000 garments per second.
At Trove, we partner with brands committed to creating sustainable models for the future of the fashion industry. Our revolutionary end-to-end technology, merchandising, and omnichannel supply generation approach empowers brands to extend the life of millions of products, creating more inclusive, less wasteful business practices.
Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand step into a new era of conscious commerce.