It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge hit on the fashion industry – especially in terms of luxury fashion. Donatella Versace herself said, “THE WORLD IS OVER AS WE KNOW IT.” And I cannot say that I disagree with her, COVID19 has put a stop on so many things; fashion weeks have been cancelled and moved to virtual runways, designers like YSL have pulled out, stores have been forced to close, orders have been cancelled, factories have shut or repurposed to make PPE. Fashion, for the first time in history, was and has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. But was this a blessing in disguise? Did the industry need this to rethink their purpose? What is the future of fashion? What will emerge? Could a more responsible sector — one less damaging to the environment be the future?
For the last few years, seasonal trends have slowly been disappearing with designers choosing more classical items for their runways and collections, items which can be worn all year round, items that we would all call staple pieces, items that stay on store shelves longer and can be sold for years rather than just a season. Think about all the trends that have made a come back in the last few years and have stayed dominating the fashion scene for not only a season but for the last 5 years – think blazers, cycling shorts, leather jackets, flared jeans – staple items that everyone needs! With the pandemic, I ‘m sure that more designers will realise the importance of this as I can imagine that they have so much excess stock that won’t even be sellable after this is all over because, they’ll essentially be out of fashion, by the time this is over, we’ll be going into a new season and what’s fashionable will be different – Burberry famously burnt £28.6m in bags, clothes and perfume in 2017 to prevent them from being stolen or sold for too little (a practice it has since halted). So what’s going to happen to unsold items that can only be found and sourced in luxury boutiques because last time I checked the likes of Chanel, Dior and Hermes don’t do online delivery?
VOGUE GLOBAL CONVERSATIONS
I recently watched an episode of vogue’s global conversations and they brought up some very important points that we need to assess when it comes to this industry;
- We Still Need Catwalk Shows—But We Also Need to Invest In Digital Experiences
- Fashion Needs to Slow Down, and Designers Can Lead the Way
- Sustainability Is A Growing Conversation, But Action Is Needed, Too
- Now’s The Time To Share Your Creativity With The World, Especially If You’re A Young Designer
- The Industry Has To Change, And Much Of It Comes Down To Doing Less
To summarise for you guys; ideally, fashion weeks will be smaller mainly because many designers won’t actually be able to host them and magazines won’t be able to afford to send editors to attend them, instead most of the seats will be filled with influencers. It’s sad really, that something like this has caused such a detrimental effect on an industry I love.
In addition, unable to host showroom appointments, brands will invest in better showroom software, leaving buyers with less reason to travel in the long-term which will be good in helping to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. And to no surprise, shopping habits will change – with less disposable income, consumers will be more conscious of what they buy, treating luxury items as investment pieces that will serve them for years — or at least hold their resale value. The shift in spending from high-end handbags to health — skincare, supplements, boutique fitness classes — already on the rise pre-pandemic, will continue. Online shopping will become more of a habit. Similar to the 2008 recession, there will be more support for buying second-hand and directly from small businesses who manufacture responsibly whilst others will turn to fast fashion for cheap thrills.