State of fashion:
More than ever, consumers will favor brands with a purpose.

Meet Toos Franken. Belgian fashion designer and brand. She’s been pushing for a more transparent and inclusive fashion industry for years. Her critical attitude towards the industry translates among other things into her choice for exclusively producing in Belgium. Toos’ unique designs are characterized by creating and drawing the patterns for each and every design herself. A true fashion diamond.

Fashion needs to be experienced. During the first wave of covid-19, people couldn’t go to the store to see, feel, talk about and wear the designs. Financial uncertainty made them scared. Fashion saw a big drop in sales. Toos Franken also had a substantial part of her collection unsold. She wanted to do something special with it and reached out to Restless Minds. We took it further and developed a long-term strategy for the brand.

Fashion consumers today shop more aware than ever. They shop less but choosier. They shop increasingly locally and direct from designers, with Instagram playing an important role in discovering local designers. Shoppers favor sustainable and purposeful brands more than ever. Brands must ensure that they operate in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible.

Sustainability begins with having no waste. We came up with three steps to take for never not selling an item. First, we introduce archive sales. Older collections are being sold for big discounts. Doing this, we reach an audience that normally can’t afford designer clothes. Toos’ understated designs are timeless pieces. Therefore, collections from previous years are perfect for archive sales.

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We took it one step further. In November 2020, we organized a 72-hour archive flash sale, where we donated 20% of the proceeds to ‘Te Gek?!’, an organization dedicated to opening conversation and creating awareness around mental health and wellbeing. This was a huge success. Sales went through the roof and we sold out.

In the future, we envision a new line created for everyone who believes in sustainable designer goods but cannot afford or is not willing to pay up for the latest. This collection will have a strong focus on young buyers. It also includes pieces and fabrics from previous A-brand collections. Nothing goes to waste. Sales are done exclusively online to allow the affordable price and social media are our primary channels to generate buzz.

Designer clothes are often worn just a few times. Sometimes even just once, for a special occasion. If some people are seen on Instagram in a dress, they don’t wear it again. It’s old. Younger generations value access over ownership. Hence the success of sharing apps like Uber, Bird, Poppy and Airbnb. What if we rent out exclusive fashion pieces? We could have a try-and-buy module. The price for a new item could be 100 and rental 20. That way, everyone has access to designer clothes on special occasions. Love this piece? Pay 60 and keep it.

Fashion is becoming slower. And that’s a good thing. People are realizing that fast fashion and changing your wardrobe every season puts a heavy weight on our planet. This reflects in more understated pieces. Seasons are becoming less important. This is clothing that can be worn year in, year out and over multiple seasons.

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All these movements help guarantee a fashion future without waste, with broader access and more locally designed and produced clothing. By approaching fashion with a perspective of longevity, we design in a way that is mindful of our environment and our future. 

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