We sat down for a Q&A with Del Rainbow Founder & Co-Director Bianca Gregg to discuss the changing fashion industry post-COVID-19.
Bianca has navigated this time with powerful precision, strength, and grace — leading her team with positivity and vision as a new industry awaits. With enormous pressure on brands, agents, and buyers to pivot and drastically adjust during these unpredictable times, Bianca believes the fashion industry will continue to lead – providing vision and inspiration to all. “The pressure for each individual is to maintain strong and positive energy in all that we do, removing fear and standing behind choices as this will carry us through.” COVID has been a call for radical transparency and accountability as sustainability is no longer a choice, but a necessity. As consumers become more conscious and want to connect with brands on a deeper level, it seems a new era is upon us.
“How exciting is it that we are all starting something new? For an industry so set in its ways, it’s amazing that we get to redevelop what the foundations look like. It truly brings things back to the humanness of what we do and that gets me excited,” says Bianca. “From top to bottom change will trickle through and everyone will be held more accountable than ever before. There will be a true pivot with better buying policies, the necessity for certification, shifts in fabrication, and manufacturing processes.” As the industry becomes increasingly digital, brands will be able to engage with their consumers in new ways – allowing for deeper understanding and connection.
“I think that connection and unity is the only way the industry will lead and push forward, as we always do. This industry has always evolved. We are excited to build together and be fluid in our new future,” says Bianca.
How is fashion innovating during this time?
At Del Rainbow, we are always focusing on forward-thinking and innovating new approaches. This really excites us as a team. We are always focused on cultivating and creating, not only internally, but also with our brand partners as a key priority. During COVID and this time, we immediately dove into action and didn’t miss a beat. We have continued to ensure that we are pushing forward each day, being proactive whilst reactive.
When this began, we responded by ensuring that each week all of our team members were coming up with three to five new ideas per week to provide to our brand partners in order to keep their content relevant. This ensured that they were connecting deeper with their consumer and broader audience by focusing on storytelling, social strategy, direct-to-customer strategy, pivoting story angles, and amping up wholesale support for retail partners. Our team has been on fire and we couldn’t be prouder of this incredible, powerful group of individuals who truly care about their impact as a team and individuals.
We have now structured our new virtual market for Resort 20, which involved professional videography to truly capture our space. For us, it is so important to maintain that human connection and for everyone to ‘feel’ as close to both the intention and product as possible – so we focused on capturing a unique experience that maintains our positive energy and connection. We have some exciting things to announce in this space and can’t wait to share them with you. Bookings have begun for our very first global virtual market, ranges are being handed over and we are now in full swing.
We see this only as an opportunity to connect deeper with our clients and partners, as we now have the time to really experience the collection together and ensure the post-delivery support is solid from our partners. Everything will be virtual. We have innovated a virtual showroom from our Byron Bay showroom and HQ to connect with all of our partners globally. We have also set the time zones and our team is prepared to work around the clock to provide the highest level of service.
While this aspect of the business has developed, we have also launched a new, internal wholesale management arm to the Del Rainbow business. We saw such a need for this – in order to help support our partners holistically during this time. I am excited to support all of our clients with passion and creativity this season – and keep flowing with the tides.
How exciting is it that we are all starting something new? For an industry so set in its ways, it’s amazing that we get to redevelop what the foundations look like. It truly brings back the humanness to what we do and I love that.
What current pressure is on brands, agents & buyers?
The pressure is certainly high right now in all areas of expertise. I can see this from all angles.
Firstly, there is pressure on the brands to ensure that the product designed for Resort 20′ for a October/November delivery is relevant to the times and lifestyle.
Secondly, there is pressure on agents to ensure the brand story and product is strongly represented and supported on the retail front. And most importantly, the sell-through must be super strong in order to support trade closely during this time. The initial order is not the focus, it is always on the all through post-delivery. Agents must work harder than ever with partners to innovate and ensure that brand awareness is strong – with internal marketing support from both the partner and brand to really drive awareness and trade. There is also massive importance on unique content & videos which will guide brands towards transparency – using this time to connect with the people behind the brand in order to build a long-term relationship with the customer.
Thirdly, buyers must be predicting the unpredictable as best as they can. They must navigate ‘trends’, assess what will be viable for this time period, support, and have confidence. Buyers will be focused heavily on trade and monitoring it closer than ever in order to react to the time period. They also have the pressure of KPI’s and performance with brand partners. I feel like there is such a strength in all the partnering and working together – servicing all needs.
Despite this pressure, I have faith that our industry will continue to lead and provide a vision and inspiration to all. All of these moving parts behind the scenes equate to the overall feeling for the customer. The pressure for each individual is to maintain a strong and positive energy in all that we do, removing fear and standing behind our choices as this is what will carry us to the end result. If we are confident and deliver with that energy, each piece will hold that story and travel to the wearer.
In what ways has Del Rainbow changed as a business and as a team in the last few months?
Del Rainbow is fluid, we are in an ever-evolving space, consistently growing and adapting to the current landscape- whatever that may be. This is an essential exercise in business, we can never become too comfortable. Our team have such a drive for growth, not necessarily in a traditional view of sales alone, this is a drive of how we can be better and refine our approach whilst execute at the high standard we set for ourselves. We constantly reassess the people who we work with to ensure our values align, in short, we only want to work with good people who have a clear unwavering value system. In this time, we added new arms to the business where we saw gaps. This brought the launch of our wholesale internal management arm to DR. we service the wholesale management for brands who engage in this service, entirely. It has put to test our efficiencies and as such we are stronger and faster in every sphere of what we do. As a team we have grown to eight members (which feels like a strong infinite number) of incredible individuals. For now, we are an amazing dynamic family, filled with positivity and passion. It gives me such pride to be a part of this group, people who I love and admire. We continue to grow together and define DR, our service offering and our capacity to influence our industry for good. I have always said Del Rainbow is a well for all of us, a space to keep filling and drawing the benefits from- we ensure DR is an interactive space where every team member contributes in a way that is fulfilling and developing a part of themselves, more than just a place to “go to work”, our team actively fulfil their journey and their own personal why (in growth for themselves and others). It is an amazing contribution space, where we create together, that is the essence of Del Rainbow.
Do you believe that fashion has an influential space in the social construct in relation to race, and equal opportunities?
Absolutely, the fashion industry has always been an industry at the forefront of culture in terms of its ability to make a stance and portray messages and movements and who have the propensity to spearhead change at a worldwide scale. I believe we all look to this industry as a space of influence – it includes such a diverse array of individuals and expertise (Designers, Manufacture, Consultants, Production, PR, Marketing, Sales, Showroom, Publications, H&MU Artists, VM, Stylists, Photographers, Business planners, Influencers, Accountants etc) we spread far and wide and still beyond this, there is our customer who experience the world in all walks of life, with all this said, the current social climate actually begs us to ask is our industry contributing to a systemic problem given our incredible reach? We must all reach within our conscious to question bias, agenda and if we don’t pay attention to a begging problem of equal opportunity, do we really have a sustainable industry? Our industry influences the world to focus on, and pay attention to; where, why and what we consume and whilst at DR we have committed to acting responsibly as a business in relation to the planets resources, we must also direct attention to injustices that have been highlighted through this time. There is a problem, and we (as an industry) haven’t held ourselves to an account, we have focussed a large intention on business operations with brands in the last few years, but sustainability includes being conscious about every measure, people and planet. Within sustainability and vetting processes, we have measures to ensure female owned companies and women have equal opportunities, but there has been no measure to address racial biases in how we represent fashion. Some may argue that this is unnecessary, but it is my personal endeavour to ensure we do what is needed within our reach of influence to create change for now and the future. Fashion is diverse, and should enhance our values and ethics of representation, not seek to confine it.
Do you see an importance of transparency during this time?
Transparency is key, it is the most important aspect of a business. Being transparent allows customers to connect to the deeper intention of the product, the brand, their ‘why’ and core values. Right now, we’re having to connect virtually; which allows customers to further connect with the brand, product, and gain a deeper understanding of what they stand for and how they effectively communicate. It encourages a values driven conversation, why they chose each element from manufacturing, the people they work with, choice of fabrications, sustainability practices, the personalities behind the brand, their inclusion, the aims and goals for the future. Knowledge is imperative, brands should in this time be showcasing transparency to maintain a loyal and longterm customer base. We want to have a strong understanding of sustainable practices, greenwashing has become all-too-common, and public statements can be fleeting. It’s important for brands to showcase how they stand a part and why their practices are in line with their values. As a consumer, I want to know the certifications, the percentage of recycled fabrication within each piece, factory practices, internal methods, giving-back procedures, and what a brand actually stands for. I want to know the impact a brand is making and if they truly do mean what they say. Transparency shows impact, action, and also authenticity.
How do you see sustainability progressing during this time?
Sustainability is no longer a choice. It is a necessity. If a business is not focusing on its impact and taking this into consideration, then, in my opinion, they aren’t serving the greater purpose. Sustainable and responsible practices will most certainly be the focus for the future of fashion – slowing down and ensuring each element of their business and practice is considered. Consumers are more conscious than ever and want transparency, which means, businesses and brands must uphold a certain standard.
This is very exciting. It means there will be a true pivot in this sphere, better buying policies, the necessity for certification, shift in fabrication and manufacturing processes. From top to bottom this will trickle through and everyone will begin to be held more accountable than ever before — the consumer and buying teams will also drive this. We believe that sustainability and authenticity will be a focus moving forward in the industry, on several levels. At Del Rainbow, our brands only make to meet demand. We do not run excess stock or over-produce. We work with our partners in respecting this process and valuing the brand practices. This true sense of partnership is important in moving forward for the brand, retailer, and agency.
How are consumers reacting to current happenings, do you see buying habits shifting as we move forward?
I think consumers truly want transparency and want to understand who is behind what they are purchasing. Buying habits will shift based on lifestyle needs. For example, we saw a huge rise in loungewear, sleepwear, beauty and wellness which reflected the happenings of the time. Moving forward, we feel that consumers will be focused on having capsule wardrobes and following brands they know and trust, who have showcased their true colours during this time. Consumers feel this so they will be focusing on supporting those who held a strong space during this time and innovated as best they could.
What is intentional dressing?
We believe that everything holds energy, so it is very important to know who is behind the creation of what you are purchasing and what their intention is. You absorb this energy when wearing or connecting with the piece and it creates a feeling. How you feel when you wear a piece is not only reflected in your energy but also the energy of the creators. This can appeal to the senses. Sight – seeing where the brands sits in the market, adjacencies, the style, & aesthetic. Touch – the feel, texture, how the product makes you feel. Hearing – about the brand’s story, learning about the processes, and having a connection. Taste – the aesthetic and pairing, and how this reflects your style and choices.
Is there a way, as an industry that we can all come together – from customer, designer, buyer and at the top?
Absolutely. I think that connection and unity is the only way our industry will lead and push forward, as we always do. Strength is in the team effort. We all need to support one another to produce confidence, drive, and awareness. We all need to come together to ensure all ends of the wheel are functioning and have longevity. It all comes around.
This industry has always evolved. We are excited to build together and be fluid in our new future. To view our Virtual Showroom for Resort 20, unlock access by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org