Hundred percent good fashion

What does the title even mean? Well, it means a fashion industry where clothes are produced in an ethical and environmentally friendly way, where the fashion creators make financial profit and where the clothes are still affordable and attractive for the customers.

After four years of thorough research on sustainability in each step of the fashion chain, on fashion systems and on clothes psychology, I had decided to share my finding with the world. Last Thursday was the perfect day for that. My book, on which I had spent eight months writing, rewriting, correcting with the help of great people around me, and fine-tuning until the very last minute before it was sent for printing, was finally ready. I presented my solutions for the polluting and harming industry of today to more than hundred people from the fashion industry at Hotel Droog. The title of the book is Paradigm Shift in Fashion and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve during the evening. My suggestion is to revolutionize the fashion industry of today when it comes to the way clothes are designed, produced, presented, offered to the customers and disposed. You can imagine that my solutions might have sounded rather radical to people who are working in the existing fashion industry for ten – fifteen years.

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I knew that it would certainly be the case. I knew that the visitors might find my ideas amazing, inspiring, innovative, but also ridiculous and naïve. So to make sure that I would receive all the reactions, I provided each visitor with a small booklet and a pen to write everything down that went through their minds. At the end of the book launch I kindly asked them to hand in the booklets so that I would know what they thought and what their motivations were for embracing or rejecting my concept.

But what are we talking about here?
What is the concept and why do we even need anything to change in the fashion industry?

Thirty percent of clothes produced today is never sold. One of the main reasons for this is that those clothes are undesirable by the customers. And the fact that a brand didn’t know that in advance is because there is no dialogue between fashion brands and customers. The brand, and also the retailers, don’t personally know their customers and offer clothes based on assumptions. Those assumptions create a tremendous risk for those designs to never be sold or only be sold in sale. Thirty to forty percent of clothing produced is only sold with great discounts. This situation naturally puts an enormous financial pressure on the fashion brands. It is then not surprising that they choose for cheaper textiles and manufacturing, while being prepared to spend a lot of money on marketing to make sure that their clothes will catch the attention of consumers and result in purchases. The clothes that are being sold, have lost their quality over the years and wear out fast, which means that the consumers need to come back more often to the shop to get new clothes. This might sound as a good thing, but in reality it is not. Five percent of the total landfill exists out of textiles, guess what the reason might be…

The abuse of clothing production workers to satisfy consumers’ short-term desires while at the same time creating a tremendous amount of pollution only for the sake of financial rewards is mildly expressed ignorant and unethical.

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After the first years of my research I understood that fashion could only be environmentally friendly and ethical if everybody involved in the fashion chain would benefit from the change. Therefor I developed a design system of creating desirable clothes and a new business model that makes it possible for marketing to bring money in instead of costing money.

How do you make desirable clothes?

My design system helps to connect consumers and fashion brands, produce high quality ethical clothes and work without creating waste. It consists of 5 steps.

In the first step a fashion brand listens to their future customers to understand their needs, problems and desires. Social media has made it very easy to communicate with a large group of people, so that can be used here as well.

The fashion brand then analysis the received information. In this second step the brand develops design solutions and shares those with their community for feedback on aesthetics and practicalities.

In the third step fashion brands make the first samples of the designs and give those to their audience for trying out. People who will wear the samples can offer valuable insights for eliminating mistakes.

Only after those 3 steps, when the fashion brand makes sure that their designs are successful, can they proceed to ordering a full batch production from the factory.

The final step of the design system is honest communication with the consumers about how the fashion brand is working and why. Honest and personal contact will helps to build a community and improve the collections in time.

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According to my design system, ideas can be tested with the consumers on many criteria, before the full production batch is ordered. That will eliminate overproduction of unwanted clothes, the thirty percent that I mentioned earlier. That alone would already result in less pollution, but wait. The brand can even go further and produce clothes intelligently in a closed loop. This means that the brand would reuse and recycle the clothes they have created after consumers no longer want them.

If you are getting stressed about the price tag, don’t worry!

I suggest fashion brands to use a different business model. The main changes would be that they reduce the marketing expenses and the profit margin without losing money. In turn they invest in services and a clean and high quality production. Clean production means that the way textiles and clothes are created would not harm people and the environment. So how would this work?

Marketing today costs a lot of money spent on advertisement and fashion shows meant to seduce consumers. But when a brand has a dialogue with its customers and delivers clothes that actually meet their expectations and desires, superficial seduction is no longer necessary. Each brand will have its own community. That community will keep growing when the brand does a good job.

The profit margins that today are calculated can also decrease significantly. The margin is higher than necessary because the retailers and brand want to earn their investment back, even if clothes would only sell in sale and if thirty percent does not get sold at all. The design system makes it possible to know in advance that clothes are going to sell, and that eliminating uncertainty and risks.

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A part of the budget that now has not been spent on expensive marketing and the production of unwanted clothes, can be invested in high quality clothes, ethical and environmentally friendly production and services towards the consumer.

Finally clothes don’t need to only be sold once, they can also be loaned and sold second hand. By borrowing clothes, customers would be able to try out greatly designed clothes and see if they really fit with the rest of their wardrobe and their lifestyle without spending a lot of money. For the fashion creators this option is financially profitable too. First of all this offers exposure. Instead of these clothes stay hanging in the shop, while the fashion brand is spending money on marketing, people who have paid to borrow them, will now wear them to different places and events. This way clothes might spontaneously catch other people’s eye and result in new customers. Did you notice that marketing shifted from costing money to bringing money in in this new situation?

The brand would also have more clients per piece, resulting in a higher financial profit per item in time.

What I am suggesting for the fashion brand is to shift their focus from making profit, to creating value and contribution. The result will then not only be the financial profit, but also a good conscious, great environment and loyal customers.

As I did at the book launch, also here I would like to ask you to share your questions, remarks and compliments with me by leaving your reaction below.

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Let’s take bigger steps towards a better fashion industry together.

Hasmik Matevosyan

* Photography Noortje Knulst

  1. RO FERNANDEZ October 23, 2014

    Congratulations for this research and sharing a new system and model!
    I would like to know this book exists in spanish edition.
    Thanks a lot

    • admin October 30, 2014

      Dear Ro Fernandez,

      The book only exists in English yet, but it can be sent to anywhere in the world.

      Best,
      Hasmik

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Meta Fashion Summit

Organized by Hasmik Matevosyan and Stephan van Eken
Took Place on the 19th of November
Utrecht, The Netherlands

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It can be challenging for fashion companies to keep up with innovations and move a fashion business towards a more sustainable future. Many questions arise such as:

  • Which innovations are out there that can be valuable for our company?
  • Which new business models and strategies have led to successful results?
  • How to manage the financing of a sustainable or circular fashion company?
  • How to find addresses of ethical producers and sustainable textile-manufacturers?
  • How to convince the end customers to choose a sustainable product above a (mostly cheaper) non-sustainable one?
  • How to better collaborate in this industry?

Our goal with this first event was to acceletate positive changes within the fashion industry. We decided to do so by connecting gamechangers, sharing relevant knowledge and of course inspiration! Read below how the visitors experienced the first edition of the Meta Fashion Summit.
 
“This was a summit about sustainability and new approached of the fashion industry which was inspiring and useful!”- Joan den Exter
“Great initiative. Met lot of people with passion for fashion. Want to see the platform in bigger context. Hope you guys will keep working to change the industry for better.” – S.M. Musa
“The Meta Fashion Summit was very well organised, keynote speakers with interesting news about relevant business issues. Well done!” – Rita van den Berg
“Meta Fashion Summit provided us with the opportunity to get a glance into the fashion world and it’s revolution.” – Rosalie Oomen
“In November 2016 I was a speaker at the Meta Fashion Summit. It was a very interesting event where professionals as well as students could meet each other and talk not only about sustainable fashion, but also about system change within the fashion industry. I greatly enjoyed this event and it was a wonderful opportunity to share and hear new ideas and to get in touch with likeminded people.” – Anke van den Ban
“Such an inspiring event. Networking and guiding each other is such an essential part for a more sustainable (fashion) future. Thanks to Stephan and Hasmik for making this possible. I feel events like the ‘Meta Fashion Summit’ is exactly what we need more from.”
“The Meta Fahion Summit was a good opportunity to get in contact with other people and company’s who want to make sustainable fashion.”

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Testimonial

“Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday I had time yesterday to relax and enjoy watching all of your videos in a row. Wow! They are beautifully filmed, and while they are short in timeframe they are packed with information.

I know that I will be going back and watching again. I am also going to return to your book to dig deeper into certain areas.

The one that really left me thinking yesterday was your comment about the fact that consumers connect better to a product that really serves them, than a marketing message about how it is eco & ethical. Also, that having a prosperous company allows for the implementation of people and planet friendly initiatives.

I also really liked your explanations of the different business models and the overall information on apparel lifecycle – and how supporting your customers in the care and end of life of their clothing can make a big environmental impact. I am letting the information filter through my mind, to see if I have insights on how to best apply it with Cheval Amour.” Lisa Simmons

 

“In my ongoing exploration of what is fair fashion and what businesses in the textile industry can do to change their operations for the better, I came across Hasmik’s book “Paradigm Shift in Fashion”. I really enjoyed reading her perspective on how fashion companies can transform their business model by starting at the beginning of the design process – instead of focusing on operations in the supply chain which is more commonly spoken about in sustainable fashion. She advocates more engagement with the brand’s customers and making them part of the design process. With practical tips and a design system on how to go about this, Hasmik provides a refreshing and inspiring approach to changing the fashion industry in her book, and in person when speaking to her about her work and vision.” Mathilde Teuben

 

“I’ve met Hasmik during my research for my graduation thesis, which was focused on the subject of sustainability. After reading her book “Paradigm Shift in Fashion” I had the opportunity to interview her and talk about her book more into depth. The book is well written and offers an innovative design system for brands in order to make sustainability viable, which is different from other books, as they only describe the matter but don’t give a suggestion for a solution. She is such an inspiring and intelligent person, I could talk with her for hours, she knows a great deal about sustainability. I would recommend Hasmik and her professionalism about sustainability for brands who are trying to make a difference.” Dena Simaite

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Copyright Hasmik Matevosyan 2016

Paradigm Shift in Fashion PARADIGM SHIFT
IN FASHION
24.95

‘There is no doubt in my mind that fashion, designed to meet the needs and desires of the future wearer and which has been intelligently produced for the purpose of easy reuse of materials, meanwhile contributing to the lives of tailors, can in fact be profitable.’

In this book Hasmik Matevosyan shows fashion brands and all those involved in fashion today exactly how to do this. She offers a design system that helps fashion brands to start a dialogue with their target audience, build a community and design clothes based on the needs and desires of their clients. Not only the consumer benefits from this ‘social fashion’, it would mean major improvements for all the stakeholders involved in the fashion chain.

Retailers can benefit from this new type of fashion by adjusting their role from being solely a sales location to being an all-round service provider regarding clothes. Hasmik offers practical tools and several case studies making it easy to start implementing this shared knowledge right away.




TESTIMONIALS

“In my ongoing exploration of what is fair fashion and what businesses in the textile industry can do to change their operations for the better, I came across Hasmik’s book “Paradigm Shift in Fashion”. I really enjoyed reading her perspective on how fashion companies can transform their business model by starting at the beginning of the design process – instead of focusing on operations in the supply chain which is more commonly spoken about in sustainable fashion. She advocates more engagement with the brand’s customers and making them part of the design process. With practical tips and a design system on how to go about this, Hasmik provides a refreshing and inspiring approach to changing the fashion industry in her book, and in person when speaking to her about her work and vision.” Mathilde Teuben

 

“I’ve met Hasmik during my research for my graduation thesis, which was focused on the subject of sustainability. After reading her book “Paradigm Shift in Fashion” I had the opportunity to interview her and talk about her book more into depth. The book is well written and offers an innovative design system for brands in order to make sustainability viable, which is different from other books, as they only describe the matter but don’t give a suggestion for a solution. She is such an inspiring and intelligent person, I could talk with her for hours, she knows a great deal about sustainability. I would recommend Hasmik and her professionalism about sustainability for brands who are trying to make a difference.” Dena Simaite

 

“Paradigm shift in fashion’ heb ik in één keer uitgelezen. Interessant voor iedereen die meer wil weten over hoe een duurzame toekomst van de modewereld eruit kan zien & praktische stappen wil weten om daar te komen. Inspirerend en praktisch boek!” Anjolieke Dertien

 

“Hoe verander je een wereldwijde miljoenenindustrie van vervuilend en mensonterend naar eerlijk en duurzaam?
Er zijn maar weinig mensen die daar een helder antwoord op hebben. Hasmik is een van die mensen. In haar boek geeft ze een goed gedocumenteerde beschrijving van haar systeem en haar visie. Niet in grote lijnen, maar praktisch toepasbaar en tot in detail uitgewerkt. Of het ook echt in de dagelijkse modepraktijk gaat werken, is nog afwachten. Maar een eerste stap is gezet, nu is de branche aan zet.” Richwald Feenstra

 

“Het boek van Hasmik schetst een helder beeld van de problemen in de huidige textielindustrie, maar gelukkig blijft het daar niet bij. Sterker nog: het boek maakt juist indruk door de innovatieve visie en praktische oplossingen die Hasmik aandraagt om deze problemen op te lossen.

Als (startend) ondernemer in de textielindustrie pas ik de aangedragen oplossingen uit het boek momenteel toe in de praktijk. Het design system dat Hasmik beschrijft in het boek stelt de klant echt centraal. Het onderzoek naar de behoeften van de klant kost t.o.v. de gebruikelijke werkwijze iets meer tijd in het begin, maar het levert zoveel waardevolle informatie op dat dit het meer dan waard is. Want waarom zouden we brede collecties ontwerpen, deze zo snel mogelijk laten produceren (met verlies van kwaliteit), en dan maar hopen dat de klanten het willen hebben? Dat is als schieten met hagel en dan hopen dat er iets raak is.

Kortom: dit boek is een echte aanrader! Voor geïnteresseerde consumenten, maar ook voor iedereen die iets doet in de keten van textiel, van (grote en kleine) kledingmerken tot retailers!

Tot slot, ook haar optreden op TedX Maastricht is overigens een aanrader om te kijken!” Brendy Boogaard

 

“Het boek spreekt duidelijke taal en leest heerlijk weg. Het was zowel bevestigend als verrassend en ik vind dat iedereen die in de fashion werkt het sowieso moet lezen om zich in te lezen over het business model. De huidige modellen voldoen niet meer aan deze tijd!

Ik ben ontzettend blij dat er mensen zijn als Hasmik die met zoveel passie informatieve boeken schrijven en zo de wereld in de industrie kunnen veranderen. Complimenten!” Sabrina Wullur

 

“Ben jij op zoek naar een manier om van de oude economie in de nieuwe economie in te stappen? Zoek niet verder, maar lees dit boek. Een heldere omschrijving van alternatieven voor de staande ontwerp-, productie-, marketing- en verkoopsystematiek. Laat je inspireren om dit model op alle mogelijke terreinen toe te passen!

Are you looking to leave the old economy and are you searching for ways to step into the new economy? Look no further and read this book. It will provide you with alternatives for the standing design-, production-, marketing- and sales systems. Get inspired to work with this new outlook in all thinkable areas!” Jessica Maas

Fashion and Sustainability Researcher, Consultant, Public Speaker and Connector

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When I can help you with advice or my network, we can plan a consultancy meeting online.

Contact me please by sending an e-mail to hasmik@hasmikmatevosyan.com for more details. I will get back to you the same day, I promise.

MY BACKGROUND

I was born in Armenia in 1987. At the age of 14 I came to the Netherlands with my family where I later studied fashion design and communication.

In 2012 I received my Master of Arts degree in Fashion Communication Design.

The year 2014 was a great year for getting it touch with like minded people all around the world. In May 2014 I was awarded a title of a Radical Innovator of the Future with the design system and the business model that I have developed for the fashion industry. In October I was able to publish my first book and share my findings of a research that I had spent 4 years on. In October I was also invited to give a Tedx Talk about the subject and you can view the video below. My Tedx Talk was chosen as editors pick in the US and helped me to reach out to many professionals working in the same field as I am.

In 2015 I developed the video-course Good Fashion Mastery where I share new and more detailed findings from my research with fashion designers and brands.

In 2016 I focused on creating a community of fashion professionals who are working towards improving the fashion industry. I created a group on Facebook (731 members) and one on Linkedin (623 members) to connect like-minded fashion professionals and help each other with inspiration, knowledge and network. Members of the groups share interesting articles around sustainabillity, new business models, innovation and fashion.  They start discussions, ask for help, introduce inspiring companies and themselves. Feel welcome to join.

This year I was nominated for the Viva400 Award in the catergory ‘World Improver’.

At the end of 2016, in collaboration with Stephan van Eken we organized our first seminar: the Meta Fashion Summit. Our goal with this event was to acceletate positive changes within the fashion industry. We decided to do so by connecting gamechangers, sharing relevant knowledge and of course inspiration.

In 2017 I will mainly be in Cyprus and work on my research from another country than where it all started. To be completely exact, it all started when I was 5 years old and living in Armenia, not the Netherlands. My mother, who was knitting clothes for her customers, was my inspiration and first teacher. She was the one who made me appreciate the effort that is put into the making of a garment. She also made me want to learn to design clothes that would be cherished and would stay in people’s memories for years.

This year, you will mainly find me online. There are exciting plans which I will shre with you throughout the year through my blog and my social media groups.

Don’t hesitate to contact me, our conversation might even develop into a brainstorm session.

 

Blog
Meta Fashion Summit
Overproduction: Taboo in Fashion
Good Fashion Mastery is ready!
Second update about Good Fashion Mastery
Launch Good Fashion Mastery
First update about Good Fashion Mastery
True Cost Movie, my reaction
Q&A: How much time is the prototyping step going to take?
Q&A: Can sustainability and economy be combined?
Good Fashion Mastery

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the given information on the website, or if you would like to plan a meeting.

E-mail: Hasmik@HasmikMatevosyan.com

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