VIEWPOINT #9

THE SPIRIT OF NATURE

We know it’s not the first time we’ve urged you to consider the influence of nature on design. But in the Spirit of Nature edition of Viewpoint Colour, this message is front and centre, as it is now even more timely – and more urgent.

The effects of our long-term betrayal of nature, as we continue to waste resources, pollute the environment, compromise biodiversity, and destroy habitats, were thrown into sharp relief by the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has been identified as zoonotic – transmitted from animals on whose habitats we have encroached. No one can have escaped awareness of this particular crisis, the most evident and deadly of many caused by our lack of respect for the world around us. It is more than time, almost too late, for us to re-establish our respect for nature, and a rebalanced relationship with the natural world.

Design urgently needs to become a catalyst for lasting, sustainable social and environmental change for good. We need to focus not solely on humankind, but on a biocentric perspective. We need to think less about the here and now, and more about the future: the decades, centuries and generations to come.

Our Spirit of Nature edition offers positive inspiration. We profile a variety of designers who are already drawing on the infinite patterns, diversity, and, of course, colours of nature. And we consider the contributions that both science and the ancient wisdom of Indigenous peoples can make, as we shift towards regeneration and long-term thinking, rather than ephemeral, short-term gains

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“A World in Transition It’s been one step forward and one step backwards for

ecological issues during the pandemic. In the beginning, attention shifted from

concern about the wellbeing of the planet to concern about protecting oneself

– mentally, physically and economically. But the Covid-19 virus also taught us

empathy and a new appreciation of nature.

Heatwaves, forest fires and collapsing ice sheets continue to remind us of

the need to forsake human-centred ways of living for planet-centred thinking

– today, not tomorrow. Whatever the consequences of Covid-19, it is a terrible

reminder of our fragility – and a vital catalyst in our struggle to transition from

an anthropocentric to a biocentric perspective.”

           

David R Shah Publisher, View Publications

 
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TEXTILE VIEW  # 134

HOW TO SPEND IT?

Now that we are looking more positively on life after Covid, the big questions in the textile industry are, firstly, whether consumers will ever prioritise fashion in the way they did before coronavirus, and, secondly, what kind of clothes they are going to buy – if and when they do?

The pandemic not only wreaked havoc on the economy, but also created more inequality. For many, it has been a period of intense financial hardship, with furloughs and increased childcare responsibilities. For those people focused on purchasing essential items, new clothes have been a distant dream and fashion an afterthought, or not considered at all.


On the other hand, many in salaried positions and in professions such as law, banking, health and counselling were not only able to maintain their status quo but also actually build on savings. During the lockdown, it has been clear that the main groups still happy to buy (mostly online) were professionals such as these, Gen Y (with generous parents) and, of course, the eternally rich.

The general arguments that support a brisk upturn in clothes shopping – though probably not the massive revenge splurge that some dream of – are that the virus is in retreat, vaccination programmes are pushing ahead, many have money in their pockets, consumers are sick of sameness, the weather is turning, and people want to go out, feel good, be seen and socialise. But that still doesn’t tell us what they are going to wear!

According to the CNBC article So Long Sweatpants, published on 5 March 2021, Urban Outfitters reported that women are starting to gravitate back to shopping for dresses. The retailer’s Anthropologie brand stated that in the final week of February, seven of its top 10 items were dresses, while before that, it was unusual to see just one or two dresses make the list.

Some companies, however, still believe the momentum lies with loungewear, athleisure and sporty performance, and we agree! Comfort, always an apparel issue in recent years, became paramount during the pandemic. Once you are used to the ease of soft, stretchy, easy constructions, it’s very hard to give that up. Besides, who said everyone is going back to the office? Most think that companies will start to see the office as a hub and combine that with working from home, encouraging what Nordstrom calls Work-from-Anywhere Style. And, almost certainly, companies will relax dress codes as the workforce returns. One need look no further than the triumph of sneakers over high heels.

Meanwhile, many newspapers have been asking their readers about pandemic dress habits and post-pandemic intentions. At The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman concluded, “I was struck by the fact that instead of buying lots of small things, or fast fashion, most of you [readers] went all-in on just a few things, or just one very special thing”. In the Guardian, Jess Cartner-Morley six key trends for 2021 were: floaty blouses; the grown-up flat shoe; the smart cardigan; the 18-hour dress; the toffee-coloured handbag; and, of course, sweatpants!

What do we think at View? Well, there is no single answer to how everyone is going to dress once lockdown is over. But that’s how it should be since, as we have always argued, there can no longer be a ‘one solution fits all’ in post-pandemic marketing and designing, but only fragmented approaches depending on age, work conditions and lifestyle preferences. One thing is certain, however: the future will be hybrid and blended, and, whether seriously smart, sexy, fun, responsible or regenerated, it will also be comfortable!

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VIEW 2    #29

Publishers view by David Shah
What's Next?

After every crisis, thinkers and pundits always claim that life will
never be the same again but, surprisingly enough, a large number
of things do stay the same. People did not desert big cities enmasse after 9/11, as some predicted, despite the continuing terror threat. Commuters avoided the tube for weeks after the 7/7 bombing in London, but then settled back into their old patterns when winter came. Consumers bought again in spite of all the austerity sentiments that came with the Lehman
Bros financial crash in 2008. The fear of missing out and self  promotion inevitably re-establish themselves. A leopard never changes it spots: never underestimate the pull of old habits!
But will that be true of the Covid-19 crisis? Will we go back to
normal after the pandemic or will there be change? And, if so, what will be different? It’s early days yet, but the biggest factor at play in any discussion about transformation will not be the desire for greater simplicity or even a greener planet, but personal finance and job insecurity.

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CONTENT   VIEW 2  #29

What Matters Now?

Fabric Headlines

Meet the Maker

Class of 2020

SEASONAL THEMES

  • Regenerate

  • Legacy

  • Stimulus

  • Flex

  • Preservation

Conclusions
SS22 Forecast

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