What is the future of fashion after the pandemic?
What does the future of fashion look like after Covid-19? Not since the Second World War has the fashion industry ground to such a sudden halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost overnight retail stores have closed across Europe, North America, and most of Asia, and with these parts of the world being both the primary fashion producing and consuming regions, the industry has been brought to its knees.
Will things slowly get back to normal, or has this pandemic changed the industry forever?
Fashion shows cancelled
The virus started spreading from China right at the start of the fashion season, and it was there we saw the first cancellations with the Beijing and Shanghai fashion weeks.
Europe was hit next with giants of the industry such as Prada, Armani, and Versace all cancelling their shows.
Now we’re a few months into lockdown, people are starting to plan for the future.
Both the Paris Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week organisers have cancelled the physical events, but they will be replaced with a virtual show online.
Other names are forgoing the traditional fashion calendar and doing their own thing, like Saint Laurent launching its collections following a plan in conjunction with up-to-date news and advice.
The massive change to the industry has led some to declare that fashion shows are no longer even necessary.
Jordana Guimarães, founder of Fashinnovation, thinks “with runway shows, you just end up having all these samples that are never worn again. There are other ways to do the collections where you’re not using all this fabric and creating waste.”
On top of that, with so many retailers being forced to close, there are hundreds of tonnes of this season’s clothing just sitting in warehouses, wasting away.
And with the average industry turn-around of production-to-market taking five months, it’s probably going to be early 2021 before anything new even arrives, and that’s assuming nothing else goes wrong.
Online shopping has changed the playing field
Online shopping was already beginning to overtake retail shopping before the Coronavirus hit, but now the playing field has changed completely.
Many experts are predicting social distancing might last for years, with the psychological impact of the virus never going away.
A good percentage of people will choose to shop from the safety of their home rather than head out to a busy high-street store, so it’s expected online shopping will become the norm after the pandemic.
Stores with a good eCommerce platform, effective online marketing, and a strong social media presence will be better equipped to deal with the new paradigm shift.
Sustainability and the future
If there’s one good thing to come out of this disaster, it’s that the pandemic might help push the industry into a more sustainable and technologically innovative future.
We’ve already seen the effects of the lockdown on the environment.
There have been many reports of wild animals increasing in numbers and turning up in places they haven’t been seen in a long time.
Air pollution is visibly down and people in India now able to see the Himalayas for the first time in decades.
We’ve talked before about the amount of damage the industry is doing to the environment, with high concentrations of dyes and chemicals like chromium, arsenic, copper, and zinc being dumped into rivers and lakes on a daily basis.
But all those pollution figures will drop sharply this year thanks to the shutdown, and people will hopefully notice the difference that’s been made to the environment and refuse to go back to previous ways.
Fashion labels will create fewer collections over the coming years, and having seen the risks of depending on China for most of their supplies, many countries will perhaps reinvest in local manufacturing, furnishing new jobs and skills.
Winners and losers
As the world starts to get back to normal over the coming months/years, we will see the brands emerge which were able to ride out the storm and other brands who folded under the pressure.
The bigger, luxury brands will be the first to bounce back, and unfortunately, this means they will also capture even more of the market share.
High-end brands will probably be alright, but might have to change their entire way of doing business if they want to keep going in this new, online world.
Smaller brands, unfortunately, probably won’t survive, and department stores will continue to close their doors and disappear.
For the independent designer, the virus might be a blessing in disguise.
The pandemic has almost reset the clock, putting everyone back in starting position, and if that’s where you were before the virus, then you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Join us in a post-Covid world
It’s estimated by some that at least 20% of the shops which closed due to Covid-19 will never reopen.
Not only has this virus destroyed the economy, it has also had a massive impact on many people who now can’t afford to buy items due to the loss of income during lockdown.
But while there are uncertain times ahead, the future of fashion isn’t all doom and gloom.
With over 50 years in this business, we have seen a lot of global disruption, but we’re still here.
In fact, our particular business model has helped us survive Covid, and by doing so, we’ve helped our clients survive as well.
If you would like to know more about how we can help your business in a post-pandemic world, then contact us today and let’s talk about the future of fashion and your place in it.