White is the director of lifestyle and interiors at trend forecasting company Wgsn. The expert defends that the most innovative companies are those that collaborate.
Lisa White is the director of lifestyle and interiors at trend forecasting company Wgsn. She reflects on the role innovation has today in the fashion industry, how can companies be more innovative and how the focus has changed from product to other parts of the value chain, like sourcing and retailing. But, White says, there’s one trend driving all innovation from cover to cover: sustainability.
Mds: Is fashion less innovative than it used to be?
Lisa White: Fashion is more innovative, especially for those fashion brands that are innovating in terms of sustainability, such as Burberry. Big innovation in fashion is more about the processes and long-term creativity rather than long-time profits. New systems are bringing the change in sustainability and this is driving innovation right now. Being able to rent clothes as well as rental and resale projects are examples of it. Burberry has a partnership with The RealReal to give coupons to those that are selling their old pieces and give access to special deals, Pretty Little Thing is also recycling clothes… Innovation is about regaining new systems in both high and low fashion brands.
Mds: Has innovation shifted from product to other parts of the value chain, such as retail?
LW: Yes, innovation has shifted to processes. How the product got made and where it is going afterwards and how it is being sold.
Mds: What are the sources of innovation come today: the street, high-end brands…?
LW: Innovation comes from all sorts of brands. Brands willing to think about their future. For example, Zara is doing super well because it produces less but offers better quality. It is more about the emotional durability of the design rather than its physical durability.
“Collaborative brands are the most innovative”
Mds: What are the main drivers of innovation in fashion nowadays?
LW: The main drivers of innovation are materials, new materials such as new recycled nylon and 100% sustainable cotton. Even dyes made of bacteria that do not need water.
Mds: What brands would you say are particularly innovative?
LW: Collaborative brands are the most innovative. For example, Levi’s is using less water thanks to a partnership with Jeanologia. It’s also doing collaborations that are working very well such as in product soft tech with Google. You can now answer your phone and control your music with your jacket. Diesel and Coca-Cola have also created a collaborative clothing collection made with recycled materials.