Fashion & Agro, so far so similar & maybe changing our habit !?
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
Days ago, I reflected on what is happening around us in some places where globalization, marketing, stimuli and consumer expectations are changing the habits we did ours for years.
I like the idea of showing some possible parallel between agriculture and fashion where sales and service to customers (most of the value chain) are changing significantly, almost without we notice it.
Let’s start from fashion, once the seasons existed, Summer and winter, two different collections of different fabrics, colors, cut choices and patterns, more or less covering the season. The origin of this choice was not industrial or technological but associated with the needs of the population and two season flavors were more than enough.
Middle season dresses, was even an extra almost for wealthy ones, possessed by those who had a very good spending capability. It was not for everyone and the habits were concentrated in cold and hot.
In agriculture, the seasons once dressed the table, summer and winter were different, and a chestnut in August was offsite like a chicken and avocado salad at Christmas. Restaurants declined to follow the season they simply were doing it, and March was expected time to eat artichokes.
Since fashion has become an industry, things have changed. If we had to say when this happened, I would set the changing after the early 80s. At that time, fashion invented the so-called “pret a porter”, a form of clothing that had/has a great design appeal but manufactured by volume and quality. The industrialization process begins to expand and explore more marketing and sales themes attentive to the end customer.
The industry showed people they could dress well, with quality materials, affordable with style and in a thousand different declinations.
Agriculture has longer cycles in change, but the depopulation of the countryside and the transition to intensive agriculture has stimulated the emergence of more conscious agriculture in the last 50 years and a lot more tied to profit and quality research. Here, in my opinion, an important change may be positioned about the birth of the “slow food” concept (1986 – Petrini).
Farmers start selecting more about specialties and focus on univocity, special and unique type of aubergines or fruits and vegetables more pleasing to the customer, leveraging some of the same concept behind fashion.
But the success of the “pret a porter” and the “fashion” concept moves from old Europe to the rest of the world and conquers it, is a beginning of globalization. Certainly, seasons in South America and Asia or Australia do not always match with the industrial cycles and marketing and sales to follow customers begin to design different situations.
In agriculture, easy access to low-cost transport and advanced conservation techniques allow to receive from the sunny countries fruit and vegetables in winter that were not exist before. The concept of seasonality begins to assume a different meaning. The intensive, greenhouses and hydroponics extend the picking months, and today a Michelin-star restaurant tells they follow “in season recipe” to excite their customers.
Fashion speaking, today there is no more only summer and winter collections, the “capsule” are born. During the year, the prototyping office is now working continuously, making capsules for Christmas, for spring, autumn or for launching a co-marketing item or for covering a sporting event or some else. Main season summer & winter product line is still the most in volume but capsules are repeated more often and they’ll may equilibrate efforts and volumes. The concept so valued to the brand manager is to cover local markets and needs, on the wings of globalization, towards more and more thrilling localization, to improve index penetration and profits.
Agriculture, today main market commercial engine “distribution”, requires season-independent production and sells where it has the most profit. The excess supply of seasonal products is handled by innovative conservation techniques and neutral atmospheres, permitting them being matured when need.On the supermarket counters, you find everything, plenty off-season offerings.
The customer chooses to feed himself on taste and quality basing on his own emotions or on the basis of emotions that have been induced by the last masterchef. Eating today is much simpler than in the past and agriculture aligns itself with the same profits and emotional values of dressing and fashioning.
Fashion chase a better efficiency, deals with the need of a global presence and wants to propose and re-propose itself to avoid losing contact with its customers. This, cheerfully, changes buyers habits and tastes, delivers a larger offer and justifies the Sunday shopping with a good reason that is no longer the season or the need but the thrill of an impromptu shopping.
Agriculture also plans crops based on consumption and markets, makes itself more efficient on an industrial basis driven by exactly the same ideas as fashion and good clothes markets.
Exactly as you buy the efficient technical stuff to go skiing, you are given the food right mix and caloric intake always for the same reason.
We dress and eat in a similar way to any latitude, and the differences appear more and more nuanced, basically we are flatting ourselves in spite of willing being unique that is always that we love so much.
By the end, because of this efficiency and industrial changing we are changing too, often without having the perception of and our habits are shrinking as the great “bio&somediversity” of the past is diminishing, was you aware about ?