If there were ever a time for fashion to reinvent itself, it is now. The industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Billions of dollars of clothing orders placed with manufacturers around the world have been cancelled, major physical retailers have shuttered. Online sales are down by as much as 20-40% in the US. A majority of fashion businesses are likely to suffer financial distress over the coming months, and it’s a fact that many will not survive.
As the world sits on pause during this COVID-19 crisis, there exists a rare opportunity for the fashion world to rethink how it does things, financially and environmentally. This is certainly true of the major incumbents, fashion houses that control a large portion of the industry value chain. But it also applies to new entrants: innovators and disruptors that might find it the perfect time to shake things up and improve upon the status quo. (see fashion accessories for men online stores)
This is a wake-up call for both the consumers and the industry as a whole. The threat that this pandemic holds over our heads is a call to action for the fashion industry to slow down, move away from mass production and change direction, before an even larger problem is at hand.
The crisis that we are now finding ourselves in will undoubtedly initiate a shift in how we interpret fashion. Like the effect of past world wars and pandemics, we too will have to focus on quality over quantity, practicality over vanity. (see us-reviews.com)
It takes a crisis to form a tactic and fashion is no exception. Some of the best designs were born from hardship. Let’s take for instance, Coco Chanel created women’s couture pieces from foraged fabrics when materials were scarce around the period of the First World War, such as jersey men’s underwear. This led to a huge shift in womenswear from restrained corsets to comfortable attire, making Chanel the innovative brand to beat.
When the lock-down started, face masks became the most ubiquitous and essential accessory, they were passed out at the runway shows everywhere in America, factories closed in parts of Asia bringing production to a halt, but the permanent shifts the industry would experience had yet to be fully realized. From the very beginning, Coronavirus disrupted and changed the fashion industry, but its larger impact is still only starting to be understood.
As businesses everywhere learned to adapt and hit the breaks during this time, fashion faced a unique call to action. It came quite literally in a joint letter from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council. In addition to emphasizing sustainable practices and a more thoughtful approach to events and in-person presentations, the letter asked designers to focus on two main collections per year.
With over 36 million people currently unemployed, leisure fashion has taken a backseat in favor of necessities. Buying the latest designer shoe or handbag isn’t exactly top of mind in a pandemic, and experts predict this “recession economy mindset” will have major ripple effects on shopping patterns, spending, and the success of major brands.
Consumers are likely to cut back on fashion-related spending, particularly of the high-end variety. In a recession, people have less money to spend, in a world of ‘social distancing’ they have fewer flashy events to go to, and in a post-pandemic world the mood is likely to be more reflective and subdued.