Jackie Burger On The Future Of Fashion Post The Pandemic
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Style icon Jackie Burger keeps reinventing herself. The silver fox is most well known as the former editor of Elle magazine. But Jackie has run the style and fashion gamut from brand manager and consultant, to finally becoming a fashion entrepreneur with her own Salon58. Jackie explains that Salon58 integrates the principles of the original Parisian salon: a gathering with curated conversation.
“Before lockdown, I felt the need to host smaller and more intimate salons affording the guests time and opportunity to engage in a more considered and meaningful manner, sharing ideas and thoughts… cultivating sustainable and nurturing perspectives. I hope to continue these smaller salon gatherings and trust my conviction that we need ‘human-time’ more than ever before… finding solace and perspective in intimate and considered interactions.” Jackie will also co-host wellness retreats in the Karoo with yoga, meditation, vegetarian cooking classes and self-expression workshops.
The gluttony of consumerism
As she reflects on the fashion trends we can expect to see after the Covid-19 pandemic, Jackie takes her inspiration from Coco Chanel who said that fashion doesn’t only exists in dresses. “Fashion is in the sky, the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” and so Jackie believes that we should be guided by the spirit of the times.
“We should take responsibility for the gluttony of overproduction and overconsumption that preceded the crisis. The latter fuelled by a digital image-economy, influenced by social media ‘peacocking’ and a fast fashion supply chain cultivating a knock-off design culture delivering the mass-produced fashion on the heels of the catwalk collections.”
“Before the corona pandemic, the fashion industry was already in crisis and labelled as one of the world’s most destructive business sectors. Fashion is the world’s second worst offender when it comes to water pollution, according to the 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report, and is responsible for approximately 10 percent of all carbon emissions. Not to mention, with overproduction running 30 to 40 percent each season, more than 70 percent of clothes end up in a landfill and ‘an estimated $500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing being barely worn and rarely recycled,’ The Business of Fashion reported.”
What’s next for fashion?
Jackie hopes that when a great social disruptor, such as the current pandemic, intervenes to take away the social gatherings and “pavement catwalks” where we usually strut our fashion stuff, a more conscious consumer will emerge. One that prioritises a mindset of well-being over the accumulation of material possessions.
She says to keep an eye on these existing trends that are evolving now:
WFH outfits Spending more time indoors and engaging via social media for meetings, etc., has resulted in
“indoor-wear” or “working-from-home wear” including loungewear, fashionable accessories such as earrings, necklaces worn with interesting tops, sweaters or knits.
Earthy vibes Trend forecaster Li Edelkoortd predicted “The Green Wave” at her recent Trend Talk hosted at the Design Indaba, emphasising earth inspired colours, natural textures and organic fibres. In addition she highlighted Workwear basics, sturdy footwear and “New Folk” as a celebration of folkloric craft practises such as quilting, embroidery and patch-making. Also expect a demand for all things natural to offset our increasing reliance on a digital economy.
Making it last Caring for clothing and adopting a mindset of longevity when it comes to our wardrobes due to economic and financial pressures.
Mashups Recycling and up-cycling by reworking and restyling previously worn garments.
Made well Vintage collectables will become even more sought after as we begin to grasp the legacy of well-designed and iconic pieces in our wardrobes.
A skills revival Hand-crafted garments, the return of sewing and knitting skills as well as the practice of mending as a creative art form are heralded as a new and innovative way of exploring creativity with what we already have.
Different ways to buy and sell The art of wardrobe swaps as an infusion of a sharing and value conscious fashion economy.
The deliberate consumer The rise of the social responsible consumer seeking the ethical and “green” descriptors when considering a purchase such as fair-trade and locally sourced product (for example: see the #WhoMadeMyClothes hashtag).
Clothes to enhance mood Dopamine or mood-lifting dressing – wearing “happy” clothes to enhance a sense of wellbeing.
Make the fashion conversation deeper
When asked what she wants to see more of, Jackie says that she hopes to see more well-written features that celebrate the true beauty and the real creativity of fashion, design and the wearer. “Is the essence of style properly discerned or have we succumbed to a dumbing down of what the industry entails? Do we still honour the trailblazers or are we at the mercy of celebrity influencers? Do we seek the innovators and risk-takers or do we settle for the prescriptive formula of what will sell? Fashion is multi-faceted, comprising a multitude of beautifully interwoven layers – it should always be narrated and expressed in an empowering and creative manner and not be perceived as an imposing and disposable cultural boundary.”
Jackie implores the fashion media to liberate and educate readers about the many aspects comprising the fashion industry, including the sociology of the times. To present
homegrown or local design initiatives in an all-inclusive manner. “From the concept to the seamstresses and crafters – skills sets that have been passed on for generations and threatened to be replaced by sew bots or other technological innovations deployed to speed up the process of mass production; the psychology of appearance and or image that contributed vastly to the fashion industry becoming commercialised and losing integrity; the notion of trends and the self-inflicted pressure to wear the latest, vs. the essence of self-esteem, style and self-expression.”
Jackie would also like to see more educational features about conscious consumption and the circular economy; fashion waste, landfills, the water used to produce cotton or denim; the impact of seasonal fashion cycles spurring excess. “Karl Lagerfeld expressed it beautifully… ‘Love fashion; don’t be a victim’,” she says.
Jackie’s vision is bold. “My love and respect for the fashion industry is deeply rooted in a personal quest for the gift of beauty, the freedom of self-expression and the wisdom of reinvention. May we take action and slow down, move away from mass consumption and pursue our health and liberty and, in the process, honour the much-needed healing of our planet Mother Earth,” she says.