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2021 to the future and beyond

I have been reading the BOF/ Mckinsey 2021 report over the last few days, it really gives a sense of the both sobering and innovative thoughts for this year and beyond. Covid has made an impact on the current economic system and it Is interesting to read many of the insights from the thought leaders. Here are my take homes from it, there are so many more insights however, it gave me real clarity on the direction that we as businesses could choose to get to.

Leading with digital futures and sustainability

Over-all the companies that have embraced digital e-commerce and future thinking tech innovations are leading the way. Others have been forced into the digital space. Sustainability is a good solid second place which is good to see even if I wish it were 1st place. I can see that the shift towards sustainability has started and will only get more present. It may be hampered by an uncertain economic future, yet it can be a business case for it.

‘’According to our BoF-McKinsey State of Fashion 2021 Survey, the most fertile ground for these opportunities will be in the areas of digital and sustainability, which were chosen by 30 percent and 10 percent of executives respectively.’’

Consumers are beginning to ask and expect sustainability in their products and services. Which is only a good thing for advocates of sustainability and regenerative sentiments in business and beyond.

‘’The emphasis on sustainability is also reflected in consumer sentiment. More than three in five consumers in a McKinsey survey ran in May 2020 said brands’ promotion of sustainability was an important factor in their purchasing decisions. ‘’

Being Agile in the short-term and clear in the long term

Being agile and stepping into the uncertainty whilst thinking of a longer term future than many are used to, is a huge challenge for business. Those businesses that get into that really will be the players over this time.

‘’In 2021, we expect winning brands to be those that can define clear, long-term ambitions, while demonstrating enough flexibility, speed and agility to navigate an uncertain short-term future. Brands should reshape their operating models to adapt to the faster pace of change and sustain those effective new working practices that have emerged from the crisis. Since adaptability will be key to all of this, brands should identify the threats to their businesses and prepare strategic responses across multiple scenarios in order to counter uncertainty and facilitate fast decision-making.’’

Ethical values

Ethical values and rights for workers will gain more momentum, especially after this year getting the difficult end of the covid disaster. In my opinion a long time overdue, but I am glad to see this as a major theme throughout. Transparency in this will become mainstream, consumers will

‘’With garment workers, sales assistants and other lower-paid workers operating at the sharp end of the crisis, consumers have become more aware of the plight of vulnerable employees in the fashion value chain. As momentum for change builds alongside campaigns to end exploitation, consumers will expect companies to offer more dignity, security and justice to workers throughout the global industry.’’


With the crisis in hand this may now be a time for medium sized brands to build together, collaboration has been a trend that I have seen bubbling up for a few years. It is becoming more standard talk in the sustainability space, so it is very good to read this part of the report.

A circular society will also require a collective approach the report highlights. Looking at business as separate in this will only make things longer. It also talks of deeper partnerships with the supply chain as we move to new levels of transparency.

‘’However, Berry believes there may be an opportunity now for mid-sized brands to come together and form new entities that are better positioned to go up against the giants. “The world has become very complicated... but [conglomer- ates] are going to get too big,” she said. “There is going to be some consolidation between mid-sized companies that are more family- and culture-driven and less corporate.”

Reduce complexity

Gone are the days of over production and massive amounts of product. Focus on what is needed will be paramount. It is very interesting to read this and I welcome it from a sustainability perspective if we reduce the need for over production and make what is needed that is a boon for the more conscious use of raw materials. Consumers adapt a less is more approach, especially when you have been sitting at home staring at the mad amount of clothing that you already own.

‘’The overstock issue will only get worse in the future if companies fail to adapt to the consumer’s new mindset. Consumer attitudes are changing in the wake of the pandemic, as many embrace a “less is more” approach that coincides with industry changes in the fashion cycle. ‘’

Taken from ‘ The state of fashion 2021’ business of fashion/ Mckinsey & company. Jan 2021.

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