Rethinking Fashion by Mwasi Mwitula
Fall fashion is perhaps the most popular and favorite season for most designers and fashionistas. It's the season that is filled with endless possibilities of creativity. Although we are just now beginning the fall season, according to the calendar, the fashion industry began showcasing fall fashion back in February. Yes, the fashion industry is normally two seasons ahead of the calendar and like most of this year, it kicked off at the beginning of a pandemic. Thus, you can imagine things did not pan out like usual and new conversations around re-imagining fashion began inside the industry.
However, ILAVA does not follow the fashion industry’s calendar. ILAVA is the ultimate Ready to Wear brand, meaning, we create pieces that are ready and available for the current season on the calendar.
This brings back a memory when ILAVA had to adjust to the fashion industry’s calendar when we participated in the spring 2018 Los Angeles Fashion Week, the Lost Girls Collection. Since this event was held in October 2017, it was the first and only time we created pieces that were for a later season. Although it pushed us outside of our comfort zone, we were both excited and honored to participate. To date, it remains one of the best the experiences we’ve had as a business.
ILAVA operates on a limited budget, making every dollar count. This is one of the key reasons we focus on creating pieces that are in season in alignment with our clients’ lifestyles.
The fashion industry’s calendar caters to those who are willing to spend money for pieces that one would not wear until two seasons later. However, we intentionally structured our business to design pieces that are timeless, classic and deemed “ready to wear” for the here and now.
Nevertheless, we are part of an industry that focuses on what is next and if you are creating for now, you’re considered behind the eight ball. ILAVA's goal is to show the other side of this industry which includes other designers and brands like ILAVA which focus on the “now” are capable of being successful.
When COVID-19 took our world by storm, the fashion industry was forced to rethink its future and ironically, they were now doing things that brands like ILAVA had already been doing.
Below are the top three focus areas where the fashion industry was forced to turn their attention due to COVID-19:
1. A shift to an online focus- We are no longer able to shop in-person, so one has to focus and invest
more in creating a unique online shopping experience.
2. Sustainability and social mission driven-Customers are more conscious about their shopping behaviors. Is my shopping making a difference.
3. Ready to wear- Designers should focus on creating pieces that are in season.
The above components are what made ILAVA unique and successful.
Who would have thought that a small brand like ILAVA is at the forefront of what the giant fashion industry is considering doing!
Top pic, ILAVA Covid-19 response in Nairobi
Bottom pic, One Girl, One Bike
The bottom line reflects the benefits of BEING AUTHENTIC. What helped me during the pandemic was knowing how to stay focused and true to our mission and design ideas. Our goal is to create “ready to wear” pieces that give people the opportunity to make a positive impact in the world with the proceeds of sales going towards our philanthropic efforts. Our mission is to continue emphasizing our theme of being a Lifestyle Not a Trend with a social mission agenda.