I know a lot of people don’t want to talk about coronavirus. I totally get it. Listening to the never ending stream of fake news by the tabloids, and everyone on facebook community pages thinking they know better than the trying to find a vaccine. It gets a bit tiring. However I think we all are aware that whether we like it or not it will be something we have to deal with, the fashion industry and all. If you didn’t know, I am actually studying a degree in fashion media and marketing. So this unprecedented level of disruption is going to become a key part of my degree and look g at how the fashion industry will be shaped.
Who likes shopping from their phone? It’s become a daily habit of mine to scroll on the ‘New In’ section on ASOS. Or to have a little hunt on Instagram to find out what people are currently wearing. Its really easy to order a whole new wardrobe whilst in bed. So easy, in fact that even before lockdown and coronavirus, the hight street was in trouble because demand for going in store had dropped so much.
But because of corona virus shops have shut, and this is especially damaging for businesses like Primark who’s sale went down to £0 within a day. Even with furlough pay for retail staff, after that ends in June, there is no guarantee employers can afford to pay staff afterwards if they have to stay shut. And trust me I know how daunting that is because its for same for the hospitality industry… say goodbye to my job behind a bar.
A lot of stores such as River Island and Next stopped production completely due to warehouse closures, but since have reopened. Companies such has H&M are estimating between 10-14 days delay and some companies such as Zara are offering extended refund period after the shops have reopened. But even if the issue before lockdown was the survival of the hughstreet, the issue is now for companies just to survive. So once this pandemic settles are we see *some sort* of normality resume what might happen to the fashion industry?
In store experience and pre-order systems might be the new. People will get so used to and much more comfortable with shopping online that shops will have to produce a new level of in-store experience to persuade shoppers to physically go to the stores. This might not be the odd TV screen on the wall. But instead could include less clothes on the rack, and tablets to order the right sizes and colours to the store etc. Also due to broken supply chains with warehouses shutting and travel becoming more expensive, brands and specifically exclusive collection drops might run off of a pre-order system. This means brand will know the exact amount of units to make without wasting materials or resources.
Fashion weeks might not be how they were before. When I went to Paris fashion week back in February, we were quite naive to the fact it could have been the last ‘traditional’ fashion week. It’s unlikely we will see a traditional fashion week catwalk for sometime even with brands such as Saint Laurent already saying they won’t be showing collections at Paris Fashion Week anymore as they are slowing down their fashion and taking radical change to its schedule.
Fast fashion will slow down to an extent. I don’t think it will be right by saying that fast fashion will stop all together. Its too big of an industry to ultimately define that. However trends will slow down. People won’t have the money to buy as much as they did before. Fashion just won’t be as much as a priority and the concept of reasonless clothing will become more prominent with some higher end brands already adopting that.
Brands will be driving consumer made content. This has already been seen by brands such as Topshop, because they cannot go shoot content themselves. The reposting of content by influencers or pretty much anyone with an Instagram account means that they are posting consumer led content. This won’t just drop as people will start relying more on buying products seen on the everyday person rather than a model. The shift on how people style their own pieces, rather than having a stylist working with models links to consumers more.
However all of these ideas are not predictions, just possibilities. We don’t know how long this will affect us for. Or how quickly we will bounce back after this. Or what will happen to other industries which could impact on fashion. What do you think will happen to the fashion industry?
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