Coronavirus offers “a blank page for a new beginning” says Li Edelkoort.
Edelkoort is one of the most influential figures in design and fashion. Originally from the Netherlands, she is now based between Paris and New York, and is an advisor to consumer brands around the world. She was chairwoman of the Design Academy Eindhoven between 1998 and 2008, and is currently dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons School of Design in New York.
The coronavirus epidemic will lead to “a global recession of a magnitude that has not been experienced before” but will eventually allow humanity to reset its values, according to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.
She said that the virus was causing a “quarantine of consumption” and would have a profound cultural and economic impact. Disasters are known as powerful ignition tools for radical ways of transforming business practices.
People would have to get used to living with fewer possessions and travelling less, as the virus disrupts global supply chains and transportation networks.
“It seems we are massively entering where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book and cooking up a storm to make life beautiful” she said. ”However, the virus was also showing how economic disruption could have environmental benefits,” she argued.
“This means that the virus will show how slowing and shutting down can produce a better environment which will surely be visible on a large scale. I am hopeful for a better system to be put in place with more respect for human labour and conditions”.
To harvest these emerging ideas – as well as learn from the good practice established before this global disaster – she is organizing 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.
In an exclusive interview that became Dezeen’s most-read ever article, Edelkoort argued that the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak could lead to positive changes for the environment and society.
She said she hopes that, as our travel, production and consumption patterns are upended, humanity would put a better system in place “with more respect for human labour and conditions”.
We so endorse this initiative!
Edelkoort communicated with Dezeen from South Africa, where she is in “self-imposed auto-quarantine” following her lecture at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town in February.