Excuse me for not ignoring the elephant in the room here, but I think that we were all feverishly awaiting a foreseeable end to the pandemic and mentally preparing ourselves for the post-COVID hangover, despite the fact that we had every right to be exhausted and worn out in its aftermath. But that didn’t stop us from bouncing back and just as we were ready to hit the ground running again, totally out of the blue we suddenly found ourselves caught up in the maelstrom of war. For over three months now, Russia has been waging its war of aggression on Ukraine. Talk of World War III is becoming louder, the suffering is getting worse. And COVID? It seems to have been relegated to the side lines. But in a time of overwhelming human suffering and a Cold War 2.0. reality, how is it even possible to keep going and still make fashion that brings joy? That’s assuming that manufacturing and materials can even be secured in the first place. Many brands have their goods produced in Ukraine and Russia was one of the strongest buyers’ markets – two strong pillars that have collapsed overnight. This kind of uncertainty makes it impossible to plan. 

So I started asking myself whether our industry could at least provide a bit of well-deserved escapism. My answer: yes and no. Our industry and its craft, the fashion itself, have always acted as a mirror of society. Fashion is often more philosophical and socially critical than we have given it credit for in the past. And it offers alternatives to everything else that is going on in the world right now. Let’s take the metaverse: a digital space where reality is taking on a new form. Whether or not it’s a better form remains to be seen. Visually, the pixel aesthetic of the 2000s is still rudimentary to say the least and can’t really compete by current graphic standards – and perhaps it’s not even trying to. But the metaverse is creating a parallel world to the offline dystopia we are currently living in. So it’s no wonder there is so much hype surrounding it, a kind of refuge between the Y2K past and the future that is evoking a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia in all of us. But the good news amidst all the bad is that at the beginning of the industry’s earnings season, the chances – despite the war, despite COVID and despite disruptions to the supply chains – aren’t actually looking too bad. Because the whole point of fashion is that it’s a catalyst for the beautiful things in life. People will always seek out things that bring them joy and, at the end of the day, it’s of no help to anyone if we take a defeatist attitude and look pessimistically to the future. So let’s help where we can, let’s continue being transparent, let’s meet each other in person again, let’s be there for each other and, above all, let’s be grateful – especially for the peace in the world that we do have.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue and thanks for accompanying us on this journey!

Cheryll Mühlen

Read the new issue online.