When it comes to labor relations, more and more, fashion brands do not want to bind their employees.
New business models are emerging in fashion, with brands both recovering from a period of major layoffs and getting used to a remote workforce. Rather than hiring full-time employees for specific roles, companies hire workers with expertise in many areas and complement them with outside experts. The results are teams in constant rotation and, overall, fewer limitations on what can be accomplished.
It’s very fluid, said Jasmine Mullers, vice president and director of partnerships at Pangaia, of the fashion brands team. Pangaia is a company concerned with sustainable development. Well, come across some amazing material, and think hard, who can we work with to develop this further? How can we scale this? Who can we work with who would be able to present this material really well or communicate it in an exciting way? Or there will be an opportunity where we have a connection with an artist and we want to work with them on something. It’s not a unique way of working, and it makes it exciting.
The presentation of the Pangaias brand describes it as a global collective of scientists, technologies and designers. Launched at the end of 2018, it currently has 94 full-time employees. To date, external collaborators include Takashi Murakami, Jaden Smiths Just Water and a large pool of laboratories and researchers. Pangaia declined to share most of the details of the deals, but called them “mutually beneficial.” Materials and research partnerships, in particular, “combine opportunities for investment, commercialization and research scale-up,” according to a spokesperson for the brand.
goodngaia is an umbrella for innovation that comes from various labs around the world, said Maria Srivastava, the brand manager impact and communication agent. We are very focused on the future; our philosophy is to involve as many people as possible in our trip.
In addition to selling its own branded clothes, Panagaia has a B2B activity offering its innovations and materials to fashion brands and companies from all sectors. To date, these exclusive technologies include FLWRDWN, a safer and animal-friendly alternative to goose and duck down launched in 2019; PPRMINT, a treatment said to prolong the freshness of washed clothes; and C-Fiber, a textile made from seaweed.
Pangaia opens its technologies for industry, after first integrating them into its own supply chain and presenting them to the customer as ready-to-use products.Creative industries, such as fashion and art , inspire other industries, which tend to follow their lead, says Srivastava.
After working in luxury fashion, At Valentino and Bottega Veneta, Mullers said fashion innovation will likely come from newer, more agile brands. It’s harder for companies that have been around for a long time to make changes, she said. Srivastava, for his part, spent 10 years at Burberry.
We rely on partners to help us get our message across, and all of our partnerships need to have a bigger focus, Mullers said.
For example, the Murakami collab in May 2020 was launched in parallel with its beneficiary organization: Pangaia and Milkwires Bee the Change Fund, aimed at preserving the bee species. Styles included included bees paired with Murakamis signature flower designs.
Tokyo-based Extraless, launched in October 2020, also rethinks the traditional structure of the silo fashion brand.ounder Bad Fatona said in an email that he is questioning practices that have become synonymous with large international fashion companies, including overconsumption. At the same time, he creates a plan for the business of the future.
“Companies must reflect the reality of the world in which they exist; we need to be nimble and react, in an increasingly dynamic and unpredictable world, ”he said. Extraless works mainly as a collective, where each individual can lend his voice to the various decision-making processes. We believe it fuels ideas and keeps everyone engaged in the cause. Our [six-person] The team is made up of creative thinkers from diverse backgrounds, from business and retail to art, photography and fashion.
Other brands that have taken a collective approach to their operations include the French label APC, launched in 1987 by designer Jean Touitou. APC stands for Production and Creation Workshop, or Workshop of production and creation. In 2017, Theory launched Theory 2.0, allowing a group of employees from all departments to develop a capsule collection.
For its part, Pangaia intends to remain faithful to the collective concept. In 2021, it will enter into many new partnerships, according to Mullers. They range from a product-based collaboration that will sell at MoMa to partnerships to rethink supply chains, experiment within the physical store, and co-develop new materials. In December, Pangaia announced an investment in Kintra Fibers, a company that manufactures 100% bio-based and compostable yarns.
Also this year, it will publish a quarterly impact report, breaking down its effects into seven categories. In the first version of the report, for the whole year 2020, the category of the rise of human potential highlighted the diverse collective of workers in the company: they come from 35 countries and speak 19 languages. Seventy-six percent are women.
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