It takes a crisis to form a tactic and fashion is no exception. Some of the best designs were born from struggle. It’s been said with time and again: this is our new normal. Routines we once knew and schedules we used to religiously follow are no longer. Work from home, social distancing, wearing PPEs, lockdowns and quarantine are the key elements that now paint everyday life. And some speculate that it is a prelude to the new world order.
Along with this drastic, global change is an overall shift in our consumption and subsequently, our lifestyle choices. “Ditch the lipstick, wear a mask ”- is the new trend.
Immediately, the designer masks that have been popping up on our social media seems like a sound choice. We happily acknowledge that, after staying at home for over a month, the designer bags and shoes we once considered beloved, no longer bear that same value they once held.
We stare at our massive closets wondering how we’ve come to accumulate so much stuff. We then go on to wonder: how much does one truly need to get through another day locked down at home?
With shops and operations on indefinite stand still, industries like fashion, beauty, design and luxury are figuring out ways to survive. More importantly, they are exploring methods by which to carve out their places within the new world order.
Ideals like mindfulness, kindness sustainability and awareness will determine the worthy purchase.
This is a wake-up call for both us as consumers and for 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.
Just as it was post war, fashion will be a clear reflection of life after the pandemic. There will be a new crop of young talents offering fresh propositions that resonate with the times. Off the bat, sustainable labels will stir even greater interest among the fashion forward lot.
- The Fashion industry would see a paradigm shift from “ASPIRATIONAL” to “ESSENTIAL”. The renewed focus to celebrate our tailors, embroiders, pattern-masters, artisans and crafts- persons would give purpose to the fashion and textile fraternity in the coming days.
- Seasonal trends will continue to disappear as designers focus more on classic items that can be worn year-round — and stay on store shelves longer. The shift to more restrained, timeless pieces will ultimately give way to exuberance and excess.
- Sustainable Fashion : Consumers will focus on products that are earth-friendly, artisanal, up-cycled and vintage. The objective would be to socially and environmentally responsible using three focused pillar to achieve 100% sustainability by 2029—products, people and planet. o begin with, don’t expect new collections to change as frequently or be as extensive as they were. Factories are shut, so production deadlines will be missed. If you are obsessed with changing your looks, learn to mix, match and re use.
- LOCAL WILL RULE, NOT GLOBAL: Imports have been hit and this may just be a good thing. The more local designers, brands and tailors you buy, endorse or use, the better, because the country’s economy will revive faster. This may give a much-needed boost to homespun, small, medium, new or even large and established Indian brands. With localisation, we are likely to see fewer mass-produced clothes and accessories. Indian fabrics will be sought after and used extensively in the coming months and years.
- Fashion shows will get a much-needed overhaul : Already, the volume of resources poured into 10-minute shows — sometimes involving two full days of travel to see a single collection in Rio or Marrakesh — felt outrageous amid a climate crisis. They are also boring to watch online. Instead, brands will experiment with digital presentations and live interactions with designers. Storytelling around brands and collections will improve as a result. It already has.
- Fashion weeks will be smaller: Many designers won’t be able to afford to host them. Nor will magazines have the budgets to send editors to attend them. Deep-pocketed brands will fill seats with more influencers, exerting yet more control over third-party coverage.
- Technology will change shopping: Poorly trained and disinterested in-store stylists and shopping assistants will ultimately be replaced by computers and apps that will help you put together a look or complete a purchase. There are also whispers of stores going ‘smart’ with voice commands, as well as larger retailers using maps to navigate their floors and displays. This means the shopping experience will have much less human interface and personal interactions. Unable to host showroom appointments, brands will invest in better showroom software, leaving buyers with less reason to travel in the long-term. This will be good for the industry’s carbon footprint.
- 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. Others will turn to fast fashion for cheap thrills. Online seems to be the only way to connect and designers must constructively use it to analyse the consumer’s choice.
- Ostentatious purchases will be out — athleisure, which was losing its appeal, will be back in. There will be a huge impact on buying jeans as people will love wearing comfortable clothes & stylish at the same time.
- Consistent technological advancement will be taking centre-stage .i.e. Virtual-reality, e-showrooming , etc and the era of “digital shift” will be a result of this pandemic.
- There will be sales, discounts and special offers: To survive, brands and designers are likely to adopt aggressive discount policies which, at least in the medium term, could hurt the luxury positioning of brands that didn’t have a concession model. Clothes and accessories, even branded ones, will all become more accessible and affordable.
We definitely look forward for a re-imagined, re-positioned, and re-invented. As a result of pandemic, many people would avoid gatherings after lockdown, so the state of normalcy is not expected to return anytime soon. This lockdown could filter serious contenders to present their collection, but there would also be financial strain and it would be a rocky path ahead for everyone.
We have already seen numerous global store closures, drops in stock prices, cancelled fashion shows and postponed events. A huge reshuffling will occur, restarting the entire industry. To stay afloat, brands will need to be savvy and sustainable. That leaves us and our own creativity, cradled by cabin fever. When the rule board is dismantled, anything goes. Fashion could return to its basic beauty, an expression of individuality. And in the process, we can hope that our Earth will be able to heal some more.
Until then, we continue to witness emerging game changers directing their energies to innovating and reimagining for brighter world after COVID.
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