We cannot predict or control what will come, but we can influence what is coming. Transformative scenarios – stories that describe what can happen in the future – allow us to inspire and stimulate the elaboration of strategies, decisions and actions in the present that influence the future.
At the Sustainable Fashion Collaboration, we created four scenarios about the future of fashion in Brazil in 2035. They expanded the systemic understanding of the sector and served as input to create and prototype collaborative solutions capable of improving sustainability in the fashion chain in the coming years.
4 criteria for creating scenarios:
Scenarios should address important issues for those interested in the topic
Scenarios should help people look at previously unthinkable or imperceptible options and challenge the current way of thinking about reality
They are based on facts and have a logic, are reasonable and people see that they can happen
Scenarios should be easy to remember and simple to describe, making it possible to distinguish the particularities of each story
Methodology for construction
The construction of the scenarios follows a rigorous process, which is both analytical and creative. Find out more about the main steps we have taken:
Identification of the concern map: what are the most important themes when we look at fashion in Brazil
Definition of the time horizon of the scenarios
Mapping of driving forces, that is, those social, technological, environmental, economic and political forces that can have a major impact on the themes of the concern map
Classification of forces by impact. What matters the most are the forces that have a higher impact
Classification of forces by predictability. Considering the forces with the greatest impact, those with the greatest predictability are the certainties about the system in the future, and they become part of all scenarios. In the case of Colabora Moda Sustentável, nine certainties about the future of fashion in Brazil in 2035 were systematized:
a) the quality of public policies will impact the sector
b) there will be a change in consumer behavior
c) there will be a resignification of what the workforce is
d) the migratory flow will continue
e) profit will continue to impact corporate decisions
f) the tension between profitability and sustainability will still be present in the mentality of the sector
g) climate change will affect the availability of natural resources, leading to rearrangements in the chain
h) technology will impact the apparel sector in the way we produce, market and relate to fashion
i) clothing consumption will continue
Definition of uncertainties, driving forces with less predictability differentiate one scenario from another, leading to different futures
Creation of stories with facts that led to each of the scenarios
A set of four scenarios created collectively
Widespread setbacks due to economic and political conflicts, widespread individualism, and protectionist measures that dominate international commerce, lead to a fashion industry that is fundamentally focused on generating profit. Collaboration between different sectors is fragile. The Brazilian economy is in crisis and investment in education and technology is low. There are few social control mechanisms for poor working conditions. The situation is made worse by growing unemployment rates caused by the substitution of manual labor by automated production systems and intense migration flows in the continent.
The intervening State’s power looms over everything, as it seeks to regulate the actions of all other sectors. The State also holds the monopoly over Big Data and there is an increase in inspections of the fashion production chain, with a special focus on both work-related issues and environmental concerns. Low participation in public policy development stifles innovation and investments in technology, which are made by the private sector. Dialogue is weakened and inequality persists. Shopping malls are the preferred locations to experience consumerism but most purchases are done online.
Collaboration between state, business and organized civil society takes on a strategic role in the country, as it brings together different parts of the supply chain. Social and environmental issues gain relevance in the measurement of fashion supply chain impacts in general and among the companies in the fashion industry. High volumes of investment go into science and technology. There are fewer job positions available in the industry due to technology advances, but work relations have improved considerably. Brazil enters the age of fashion customization, through a pulverized production system and the spread of mini-factories. Consumers demand products that are more sustainable.
Consecutive disruptive technology advances and changes in consumer awareness transform the fashion industry. New materials substitute traditional raw materials, production processes are modernized, and professional training is diverse and in-depth. There is a massive reduction in the job positions available, but there is also a stark decrease in poor working conditions and new social protection mechanisms are introduced, such as shorter working days, to ensure more employment. The fashion industry moves towards a circular economy model, as the environmental crisis plagues public consciousness, leading to popular pressure for sustainable production systems.