A HATTER FOR A NEW ERA
We have all heard Yves St Laurent’s oft-quoted phrase “Fashion fades, style is eternal”, but fashion today barely has time to fade. A bunch of flowers fresh-picked from your garden would certainly last longer than a collection hanging on the rails of many fashion retailers.
In 2015, the concept of perpetual style is appealing to many brands; to be be able to enjoy illimitable creativity away from the pressures of the show schedules. For Pachacuti, there is certainly an attraction in pursuing this idea of unbounded design, focussing on those perennial classics, the backbone of our business, as well as creating dramatic, individual hats for customers to wear to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
For the past 23 years Pachacuti has focussed on creating biannual collections, showing at London, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks and building a global brand.
However, with online shopping it is now always summer somewhere in the world and for many years we have sold as many Panama hats in January as we do in July. This leads us to increasingly question the relevance of doffing our hats to the prescriptions of the fashion calendar.
Our trade customers are from more temperate regions, the Mediterranean, Australia and the Far East, who will sell our Panama hats year-round. Moreover, despite creating 100 different styles each year for SS and AW, a considerable proportion of the hats we sell are bespoke designs for brands and retailers, or sponsor-branded Panama hats to give to VIPs at major sporting events.
After much reflection, we have decided not to participate in the Fashion Week schedule this year. Instead, we are looking towards new ways of working which combine the classic nature of our product line with our ability, as a small fashion brand, to be adaptive. We will be working directly with our trade customers to create collections which work with their colourways and their customer-base, whether this is adding classic Luton grosgrain, the shimmer of Arctic salmon leather, or the light touch of naturally-dyed silk.
The Panama Hat is perhaps the ultimate expression of timeless fashion: an essential accessory which is quintessentially British in style, a well-aged Panama will reflect the character and journeys of its wearer. One recent client screwed up his finely-woven Panama hat before he put it on his head and left our shop. He didn’t want to be seen in a ‘new’ hat; a hat with no history or individuality. Our new website launching this Spring will enable our retail customers to create highly individual designs, choosing from an extensive range of styles, trims, colours and finishes.
In contrast to the fractured nature of most supply chains, resulting in products made by faceless producers, Pachacuti’s website will also highlight our unique traceable narrative, tracking our Panama hats back to the GPS co-ordinates of the weavers, and beyond this to the community-owned plantations where the straw grows.
By meeting our customers’ desire for individuality and for participation in a new sort of fashion which builds connections, rather than blind consumption, Pachacuti aims to become a hatter for the new era.
Notes for editors
Carry Somers, founder of Pachacuti, is also founder of Fashion Revolution, a global movement created in response to the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh which has now spread to 66 countries. Fashion Revolution will be the main focus of Carry’s work moving forward.
Fashion Revolution is made up of designers, brands, retailers, press, producers, academics, organisations and charities calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain. Whilst much has been done by individual organisations over the years to bring about change, Fashion Revolution provides a platform for best practice initiatives from across the supply chain. Everything from Fairtrade, which focuses on the cotton farmer at the beginning of the supply chain to the designers finding creative ways reduce waste.
Fashion Revolution will become a catalyst for change through a number of routes. We want to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and its impact at every stage in the process of production and consumption; show the world that change is possible through celebrating those involved in creating a more sustainable future; bring people together the length of the value chain to ask questions and share best practice; and work towards long-term industry-wide change, getting consensus from the entire supply chain around what changes need to happen.
A Q&A with Carry is available for further information about Fashion Revolution, as well as a presentation showing the impact of Fashion Revolution Day 2014 which was the no.1 global trend on Twitter. Fashion Revolution Day will take place on 24 April, and a 2015 press release will be available soon. Branding and photoshoot can be downloaded here: http://fashionrevolution.org/resources/brand-guidelines-and-assets/
For further information about Pachacuti, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about Fashion Revolution, please contact email@example.com