While sourcing vintage and deadstock can be a time-consuming process, neither Ives nor Ahluwalia worry about running out of pre-existing materials. “If the industry continues on the trajectories we’re currently on, I’ll never run out of T-shirts,” Ives says.
For more established brands, however, sourcing high-quality deadstock from factories can present a challenge, as more companies adopt the practice of using leftover materials – as has noted Gabriela Hearst this season. “Whereas [using deadstock] is a great disruptor for young people [businesses]more established brands struggle to tap into enough unsold or vintage materials,” Dio Kurazawa, founder of sustainable fashion consultancy The bear scoutsExplain.
While we may not see the entire industry shift to dead stock and vintage anytime soon, there is no doubt that young designers are playing a major role in disrupting the traditional business model. Ives, for example, decided to show only once a year to allow more time for research and development, with SS Daley selling recycled “drops” online alongside the brand’s mainline collections.
Harris Reed’s half-tailored approach, meanwhile, shows that exclusivity really pays. Explaining the difference between his model and that of his fellow Central Saint Martins who followed the ready-to-wear route, he Told British vogueAnders Christian Madsen, fashion critic: “They have to ship all their orders… What they make from orders from four stores, I can get it in pants and boots. It sounds really rude, but there is an experience there.
Whether it’s stepping away from pristine materials or embracing the art of slow fashion, these designers show how it is possible to build a brand in a sustainable way – and without having to sacrifice creativity or style. The rest of the industry would do well to take note.