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Fashinnovation 2nd talk: interview with Jordana Guimaraes

Fashinnovation 2nd talk: interview with Jordana Guimaraes

Fashinnovation goes live again today with a second round of talks and we could not be more excited. The first event, which took place in April, was an amazing opportunity to hear from professionals in the fashion field all over the world. Many topics have been discussed and many ideas have been brought to the table. Sustainability and fair trade, ethic development and conscious employment: the second edition of the Fashinnovation worldwide talk will go even deeper.

The first virtual meeting is scheduled for today, June the 5th, and a second appointment will take place in June the 8th. These days have not been chosen by chance. Today is indeed the World Environmental Day, while Monday will be the World Oceans Day. It is the best way to spread knowledge and, also, to celebrate together these two special occasions!

pictures courtesy Fashinnovation.nyc

Fashinnovation is a digital platform based in New York, whose aim is to bring together professionals of the fashion system in order to create dialogue and share information about several topics. We had the chance to interview Jordana Guimaraes, founder of Fashinnovation, together with her husband Marcelo. Her vision and philosophy, together with her passion, really inspire us.

I want to start straight with the main topic of the last months, which is the pandemic. It is changing the status quo as we know it and we will experiment its aftermaths for a long time in the upcoming years. How do you think it is going to affect the sustainability issue? Will it bring more awareness or will it place ethics on a secondary level, since brands will have “more urgent” problems to face?

I truthfully believe that after speaking with brands worldwide – small & big – sustainability will take the front seat. Many fully sustainable brands have been leaders in using their voices “louder” than before during the pandemic and they prove themselves able to create community. From a different perspective, it is true that people won’t have as much money to spend and will go back to fast fashion. However, they won’t buy something to wear once and then get rid of it, but rather buy things and keep them longer. That in itself has a large sustainability value already! Also, it’s the first time that the general consumer wants to be more educated on sustainability. This is due to the fact that, for the first time, we’re all going through a pandemic of this sort and it is apparent now to everyone that we need to take better care of ourselves and make responsible choices.

It seems to me that the way to overcome the Covid-19 aftermath and the one to reach a more sustainable production/consumption chain in fashion follow the same direction. It all starts with collaboration, which is exactly the goal of Fashinnovation, isn’t it? Tell us a bit more about your platform.

100%. Collaboration to us has always been the “key” in where our community has been building – our slogan (even pre-covid) has always been “Fashion Is to Love”. There is no “love” if you’re not collaborating. I feel that now, people realize that no one wins the race alone. And people now need one another for each other’s unique perspectives and ideas, to form whatever the next “normal” in fashion will be.

It is amazing to see how many professionals took part in the events, coming from different positions, different levels of expertise, different approaches. Sustainability is a wide topic and everyone of us has a role: did you actively seek for pluralism and diversity when building your team or was it a consequence of the worldwide spread of the topic?

Diversity & Inclusivity is the way to have the right “solution” to any problem. It was done purposely, but it couldn’t have been done without it.

Digitalization is the other big topic of today. It has helped immensely during the lockdown and it is probably going to persist. Fashinnovation has brought to the table the 3D Virtual Runway Fashion Show as a way of experimenting with the new possibilities: what is your prediction on the future of Fashion Week?

Fashion Week is a beautiful part of Fashion history and it will ALWAYS be present. However, I believe that it will go back to its original purpose with a smaller group, rather than being the “trendy thing to do” it has become over the last few years. I do however believe that the 3D runway shows will just complement it, for an online/offline experience.

A smart implementation and use of technology can really benefit businesses and brands, especially when it comes to small, emerging realities. How can they not only survive, but also make the most out of this evolving situation?

Digitalization creates collaboration, first of all among technologies. In the physical space of the “pop-up” shop, for example, with 3D printing and 3D showrooms. Brands can show their collection firstly through it and, eventually make garments only when there is a customer. In this way they won’t have dead stock, which really helps with sustainability. But also, collaboration when it comes to bringing people together: professionals coming from different industries meet at the intersection and work together on shared goals. It reminds us that the wealth nowadays (and for the years to come) depends on the community one has. It all starts with community. Lastly, digitalization allows you to be truly genuine about your mission. If brands have social impact behind them and if they work for the right reasons, they will flourish – it is the so called “social entrepreneurship”.

Fashinnovation is a great starting point for creating and sharing information within the fashion system. In this sense, transparency is a key factor: do you believe companies, especially big ones, are finally becoming more transparent with their customers? Could such a transparency make companies more conscious about the environmental impact of their ownproduction?

Everyone now has been forced, in one way or another, to be “transparent”. The companies that have remained silent because they didn’t want to show full transparency, are going to “hurt” after this. Vulnerability in the struggles they are still facing. But smaller companies can relate and learn from them on how they too can adapt and navigate these times. And yes, once they see how much more community is built via transparency, they will adapt and it will translate to further environmental impact – through movements like the “”Who Made My Clothes”, etc. I’ve even seen that through being transparent, when you make a mistake, people understand that . Real conversations lead to genuine relationships.

You had speakers and audience from all age groups. Education is indeed a huge player here. What are your feelings about the younger generations? Are they more aware of the problems, despite being raised in a fast-fashion based environment?

Most definitely! From the Gen Z, young people are more educated and savvy at technology. With technology, comes information at your fingertips. They also seem to understand more of the environmental issues and everything else related to it. It is because they are being raised in an era where this is discussed much more and for some parts of it “for the first time”, which makes them instantly educated on these topics. They are not into fast fashion nearly as much as past generations are because they also live for “experience”. They’d rather spend money on experience, travel, etc.

I would like to conclude with some personal questions. When did you start being interested in sustainability and ethic models of business, and why?

I am a “rare” breed – a woman in fashion who can wear the same flip flops for months at a time until they break and I need a new one. I have always had the motto of “less is more” and that all correlates to my love for sustainability. Ethic models, I absolutely am infatuated and in love with people – ALL people. I truly believe that we are very much the same and no matter the CEO or assistant or homeless individual, they should be treated the same. People are what makes this earth beautiful. To maintain people alive and happy, ethics are needed, and to maintain the earth beautiful sustainability is needed!

What role did your native country play in the process? During the talks, there will be some focus on the Amazon forest and the Brazilian rainforest: do you think that coming form a country that is rich in fauna and flora has shaped your sensibility regarding the issue of environmental impact?

Completely! This goes back to my wearing flip flops all the time. Its simplicity. It’s the sound of the birds, the waves and feeling like you’re one with the “terra”.

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