SCENARIOS ARE STORIES ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE; THEY ARE NEITHER PREDICTIONS FOR WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN.
The starting point for a Transformative Scenario Process is the recognition that there is an unacceptable and unsustainable situation, that a player in isolation cannot change the system, that direct changes are impossible or insufficient, and there is the desire and will to change reality.
The process of constructing scenarios is an exercise in suspending desires and set answers; of looking beyond forecasts and projections, and being open to considering a range of possible futures.
The scenarios allow us to deal with the fact that while we cannot predict or control the future, we can work to shape and influence it, inspiring, stimulating and informing strategies, decisions and actions to influence the reality of the fashion system in Brazil.
The Future is not Given, it is Created.
OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS, TRANSFORMATIVE SCENARIO PLANNING HAS BEEN APPLIED IN DIVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES AND PROBLEMATIC CONTEXTS. IT HAS BEEN APPLIED, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE TRANSITION FROM THE APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA, IN MOMENTS OF GREAT CONFLICT IN COLOMBIA, IN POST-CIVIL WAR GUATEMALA, AND WITH THE ISSUE OF DRUGS IN THE AMERICAS AT A TIME OF GREAT UNCERTAINTY AND VOLATILITY.
The construction of scenarios follows a rigorous process, which is, at the same time, analytical and creative.
The team starts by identifying the strategic agenda, in other words. In this case, these are the most important issues to consider when analyzing the Fashion Industry in Brazil.
Next, the group defines the time horizon for the scenarios.
Following this, the group maps the main driving forces, that is, the social, technology, environmental, economic and political forces that contribute to why the system is as it is today .
After identifying driving forces, the team classifies them into two axes – predictability and impact. In the scenario construction process, the high impact driving forces matter most. Once high impact forces are identified, the team differentiates between those that are highly predictable from those that are predictable. Predictable forces, called certainties, are in all scenarios. The unpredictable forces, or uncertainties, differentiate one scenario from another.
The team determined nine certainties regarding the future of the fashion industry in Brazil in 2035:
:: Quality of public policy will impact the industry;
:: Consumer behavior will change;
:: The concept of ‘work force’ will change;
:: Migration flows will continue;
:: Profit will continue to affect business decisions;
:: The tension between profitability and sustainability will remain present in the industry mindset;
:: Climate change will affect natural resources availability, resulting in new supply chain arrangements;
:: Technology will affect the clothing industry, changing the way people produce, sell and relate to fashion;
:: Purchase of clothing items will continue.
Through a creative process, the team initially found itself with more than 30 possible scenarios, and faced the challenge of grouping and selecting the most important features. During the selection process, the team was guided by criteria to ensure that the scenarios would inspire transformative strategies, decisions and actions in the future. Scenarios should be be:
:: Relevant: illuminate current circumstances and concerns, and link into current thinking and mental models;
:: Challenging: make the invisible visible, and question current thinking and mental models;
:: Plausible: be reasonable to believe that they could occur as they are logical and fact-based;
:: Clear: accessible, memorable and distinct from one another.
The construction of scenarios that are simultaneously plausible and challenging is not a simple task. The value of the scenarios lies in their ability to approach the limits of plausibility without, however, crossing over into the realm of the absurd or impossible. After much debate, the team came up with four distinct scenarios.
The next step was to collectively imagine a series of events that would take place between 2018 and 2035 in order for each scenario to become reality by 2035. Woven into the stories are quotes extracted from interviews conducted early in the process, which dialogue with the content of the narratives.
The Project Team is composed of active and influential leaders in the Brazilian clothing and fashion industry who are concerned with and engaged in its transformation. The four scenarios created do not reflect the individual opinions of the Project Team members nor of the institutions in which they work. The scenarios do reflect what the Project Team has collectively imagined, and express what could happen in the Brazilian fashion industry in 2035.
Scenarios of Possible Futures
IMAGINING POSSIBLE FUTURES FOR BRAZIL’S FASHION INDUSTRY IN 2035.
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.
This document presents the Scenarios on the Future of Fashion in Brazil in 2035, including four scenarios that are relevant, challenging, plausible and clear. Scenarios are stories about what could happen in the future, not what will happen (forecasts) or what should happen (recommendations). They have been used as input to the next step of the project, that has the intention to create and prototype multisectoral initiatives that bring innovations for the improvement of the clothing value chain in Brazil over the next few years.
The following table enables comparison between the four scenarios based on the seven differentiators defined by the Project Team: (1) Business Model and Value Chain; (2) Economy and Markets; (3) Education, Science, Technology and Innovation; (4) Culture and Consumption; (5) Work and Workers; (6) Environmental Issues/Natural Resources; (7) Relationship between Stakeholdes: Government, Business, Organized Civil Society and Workers.