Li Edelkoort proposes World Hope Forum in manifesto

Li Edelkoort proposes "World Hope Forum" in manifesto for rebuilding society after coronavirus

People "don’t want to go back" to how things were before coronavirus, claims trend forecaster Li Edelkoort in a new manifesto of hope for a post-pandemic world, which is published exclusively on Dezeen today as part of Virtual Design Festival.

"By the end of this pandemic, as if after a war, only our buildings will remain standing and everything else will have changed," writes Edelkoort in the manifesto, which is published in full below. "The economy of hope has the potential to transform society from within."

In the manifesto, Edelkoort proposes a "World Hope Forum" to counterbalance the World Economic Forum.

"The World Hope Forum is a new gathering that will include climate change on its agenda as well as caring for all neglected people involved in production chains and services," writes Edelkoort, who gave further details in a live video interview with Dezeen today.

"Under the leadership of ambassadors chosen in participating countries, the World Hope Forum will bring together speakers and selected case studies, good practices, retail reinventions and innovative ideas that will sprout in the spring of revival."

The Dutch forecaster will expand on her ideas for the forum and the thinking behind her manifesto in a live video interview with Dezeen at 2:00pm today, as part of Virtual Design Festival.

"Under siege from the Covid-19 virus, many people have come to understand that they should change their behaviour patterns, no longer travelling too much, producing too much, consuming too much or using up too many resources," Edelkoort writes in her manifesto.

"The comfort of being at and working from home, wasting time instead of money, has led people away from their addiction to material things and into a realm of sharing, caring and making."

"Disasters are known as powerful ignition tools for radical ways of transforming business practices," she adds, predicting that fashion will ditch its "insane" practices and that the world will see a revival of small-scale, home-based production.

"Many countries will fund the return of production to their own shores and outsourcing will become more diverse and less excessive, taking better care of workers and the environment," she writes.

The manifesto springs in part from an exclusive interview Edelkoort conducted with Dezeen last month, in which she said the pandemic offers society "a blank page for a new beginning". The interview has become the most popular story Dezeen has ever published, with 500,000 views.

She will expand on her ideas at the next Business of Fashion Voices conference.

Widely considered the world's most influential forecaster, Edelkoort is founder of trends agency Trend Union and was director of Design Academy Eindhoven from 1998 to 2008.

Here is the full text of Edelkoort's hope manifesto:

THE WORLD HOPE FORUM

Under siege from the Covid-19 virus, many people have come to understand that they should change their behaviour patterns, no longer travelling too much, producing too much, consuming too much or using up too many resources. The comfort of being at and working from home, wasting time instead of money, has led people away from their addiction to material things and into a realm of sharing, caring and making. Making food, making music, making love and making clothes and crafts have become the centre of life; learning the improvisation skills that ignite a more creative culture. Most people don’t want to go back to the same old society, and long to change their lives forever.

THE ECONOMY OF HOPE:
PUTTING PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS

Many companies, designers and directors hear this call for change and know they shouldn’t miss this chance for the sweeping restructuring of business, slowing down its pulse.

By the end of this pandemic, as if after a war, only our buildings will remain standing and everything else will have changed. It is certain that many enterprises will be forced into a leaner way of producing goods and services, with some companies skipping production lines that are no longer considered vital, keeping today’s products for next year’s offering, and professing a more frugal business sense. Established designers are reconsidering the amount of items they want to conceive and realise, recalibrating their assortment in line with precisely calculated demand.

THE ECONOMY OF HOPE:
ESSENTIAL IS THE WAY FORWARD

Fashion has the unique opportunity to roll back the insane practice of delivering cashmere in May and swimwear in November. In an after-virus future people should be able to buy a winter coat in winter and a summer short in summer. Clothes will probably become essential and more uniform. Product design will also gain crucial momentum, giving shape to autonomous design on a smaller scale, handcrafted in ateliers, keeping a privileged connection with collectors and clients alike.

Disasters are known as powerful ignition tools for radical ways of transforming business practices. Many countries will fund the return of production to their own shores and outsourcing will become more diverse and less excessive, taking better care of workers and the environment.

To harvest these emerging ideas – as well as learn from the good practice established before this global disaster – we wish to organize an international platform to counterbalance the World Economic Forum.

THE WORLD HOPE FORUM

The World Hope Forum is a new gathering that will include climate change on its agenda as well as caring for all neglected people involved in production chains and services. Under the leadership of ambassadors chosen in participating countries, the World Hope Forum will bring together speakers and selected case studies, good practices, retail reinventions and innovative ideas that will sprout in the spring of revival. Different solutions and scenarios brought together in a global (virtual) forum once a year. Dynamic concepts and economic data will be analysed and exchanged, for all of us to learn from and to inspire our creative energies. The results will be subsequently published and open-source access will allow others to follow. Rebuilding the renaissance of society together.

TAKING CARE OF THE PLANET AND ITS PEOPLE

We can start up from scratch and build new systems where social and common aspects outweigh the ego, where morals and values overrule shareholder profits, and where collaboration and cooperation prevail to give more people equal opportunities. We have no choice but to join forces and stand together. New pacts need to be forged between fibre farmers, yarn makers, textile industries and fashion houses, between raw material producers, independent designers and their craftspeople. Whole chains need to be integrated, stimulated by federal funds, finding a shared interest and income from this rebirth in business. The economy of hope has the potential to transform society from within.

Together with Dezeen and Business of Fashion we want to reach out and touch designers, industry leaders, lifestyle companies, the public at large, and a growing number of creative amateurs.

Lidewij Edelkoort, Good Friday, April 10th, 2020

This manifesto is launched as part of the Virtual Design Festival, initiated by Marcus Fairs, founder of Dezeen; and will be further outlined at Voices, the annual platform imagined by Imran Amed, founder of Business of Fashion.