Magazine houses like Conde Nast and the larger fashion world have been in a stand-still period of self reflection and adaptation. As the US economy sharply declined during the height of the pandemic and continues to do so, the way we shop and consume online has dramatically shifted. But it's really no surprise, millenials and younger generations have been progressing the market to shift for years now. With brick and mortar stores closing, shopfronts becoming obsolete and the iconic Barney's liquidating in a less-than-flattering manner, retail has almost completely shifted to hold a larger online space.
In the era of political, social, environmental, and cultural change, how does cancel culture make influencers, public figures and brands more susceptible to call outs? And how does this change what we create and release? Vogue published an article this month on fashion finally being forced to address its greenwashing habits, stating that 'accountability is usually what's missing'. What is so complex about addressing these topics, is how many there actually are. Being a responsible brand is more difficult than having accountability. The complex issues around intersectionality don't just make up definition of 'responsible'. Brands now in the online world have to exist within our culture and politics. It's not enough for brands to sideline on issues that are so pertinent to our culture. For example a responsible brand that preaches inclusivity, diversity and ethical production, may behind the scenes do all the right things in terms of hiring, production process, representation of models and sizes etc, but if they stay quiet when there are protests, riots or political changes, are they really a responsible brand? There's certainly a fine line between cancel culture being productive versus dangerous and dismissive. Often it won't give people or brands the space to learn from their mistakes or grow as individuals through education and practice.
At Clutch Bags we stand behind female founders who are making in the USA. We think gender inequality in the industry, as well as the impact fast-fashion and large production has on people and the environment are hugely important issues. It's definitely encouraging to see the term 'responsible brand' being emphasised more and more in the industry. What we take from it is that brands should have a clear and cohesive message as well as stance to our world and cultural climate. What does your brand believe in? What would they say in this situation? How would they react to wildfires, or BLM protests, or huge political change? These things are pivotal to selling your product, but they are pivotal to creating dialogue and community with your audience. If your brand stops standing for what you believe in, then it's really no longer a brand with impact or place in the market, especially in the age of cancel culture.
We encourage all of our designers to be free-thinking, adaptive and conscious brands both personally and through their brand broadcasting. If you think you have an awesome responsible brand you'd like to share with us, or sell on our site, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org today to find out more about how we can help you.