Earth Overshoot Day is a campaign that highlights the date humanity uses up all the resources that the planet regenerates in a year. In 2022, this fell on 28 July. Meanwhile, the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index found that just 15% of major fashion businesses disclose their production volumes. To meet financial goals as well as each company’s own sustainability goals, they must find new ways to make profits.
Brand extensions such as digital fashion collections, magazines, events and museum spaces are nothing new, but they are so often funded by sales of products with the intention that the return on investment is made through more product sales. That may be about to change, however.
In November, designer Christopher Kane announced that his More Joy range was launching a club night. While the brand is unsure at this early stage whether it will become a revenue driver for the business, it has been born out of a desire to be more than just fashion. Kane said: ‘Apart from sex, there is nothing like the euphoric highs from dancing; everything feels possible in that moment. That is what More Joy is, a feeling, a state of being... I want More Joy Disco to be a playground for open-minded individuals to come together to have THE most amazing time.’
Designer Priya Ahluwalia, who creates limited pieces from upcycled vintage and surplus fabrics, also sells coffee table books and prints exploring key themes and research behind the brand.
EBIT (which stands for Enjoy Being In Transition), founded by former JW Anderson CEO Simon Whitehouse, explores mental health through digital fashion, NFTs, music and film as well as a limited number of physical garments.
This approach is not without its challenges. To generate a meaningful amount of profit, these new revenue streams need serious investment and infrastructure. Of course, it’s not just apparel and accessories that have a footprint either; brands must make meaningful targets to lower production volumes but also assess the impact of any new activities too.
But, as the impacts of the climate crisis become more evident in our lives, the urgency to consume less will only become greater in consumers’ minds and brands must embrace their creativity to offer alternatives.
Olivia Pinnock is a journalist, lecturer and sustainability adviser
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