Fashion is one of the businesses most vulnerable to disruption from the outbreak since it relies so heavily on public spending. Unlike food and personal hygiene, clothing is not a necessity; this creates a slowdown period for many businesses. From textile designers to retail buyers and merchandisers, so many people are affected throughout this economic crisis.
People don’t feel the need to buy clothing as when we do go out; it’s for shopping, work, exercise, or to see people outside of our families if we are two meters apart. With the decrease of fashion sales, they have been predicted to drop by a 3rd. However, this may be different for sportswear brands such as Nike and Lululemon as people are choosing exercise-ready clothes over office attire. Experts say that the coronavirus may change the way we dress in the office for good. But personally, I don’t think that will happen. Unless the virus continues to spread, I can’t even imagine someone coming into an office in leggings, trainers, and a sports bra!
The exportation of clothing has been a gruelling process for businesses, as many brands rely on China to manufacture their clothing. China is the world’s most extensive fabric and textile exporter. Even for the brands that depend on countries -such as France and Turkey to export garments- they will be struggling as the yarn needed to make the garments most likely comes from China, as the country is the world’s largest exporter of yarn.
I believe that after the pandemic, prices of clothing will go up. This is due to brands moving their production to different countries, transportation, refund, and delays of shipment. All of this comes at an added cost. For example, Bangladesh is to lose $6 billion in export revenue this year as the world’s largest retailers cancel orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
H&M’s March sales plunged by 46 per cent, as the pandemic forced it to close most of its stores.
The world of fashion is taking a massive hit so much so that 53 million jobs worldwide are affected.
With the deadly disease affecting our livelihood so much, Covid-19 has inevitably affected fashion shows. Unsurprisingly, they have been cancelled for the rest of the year. Max Mara’s resort 2021 show will no longer be held in Russia, along with other brands like Prada, Chanel and Giorgio Armani. Fashion weeks in China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Russia are also called off.
Shanghai Fashion Week became the first to stage a digital showcase. According to organisers, many of the presentations were watched by thousands of consumers. But ultimately, this was no replacement for the thrilling, multi-faceted value created by a traditional fashion week.
For Vogue’s Italian April issue, the first time in the history of a magazine, a completely white cover has been published to show the support for staff and for those who have been affected by the disease. White declares time and space for thinking and is a symbol for rebirth and light after darkness. I think it’s brilliant that Vogue has decided to do this; I would cherish a copy if I had the opportunity to buy one.
Anna Wintour and Tom Ford have teamed up to repurpose the Vogue fashion fund, to provide support for those in the fashion community. A video series has been launched called the ‘Common Thread’, which tells stories about American designers about how their colleagues and business has been affected. Amazingly so far, $3 million has been raised.
Visit Vogue’s website here for the video series: https://www.vogue.com/video/series/a-common-thread
The face of marketing has changed a lot for fashion; as many websites are taking the role to make sure consumers continue to buy all the latest looks. For example, Reformation has written ‘Dresses for going outside one day.’ ‘You can still wear dresses.’ The statement ‘NHS X choose love’ is published on Asos, as the brand has launched t-shirts to support our key workers. ‘From #dress to go nowhere’ to ‘#dress to go wow’ on Stradivarius. This seems to be working; people are ordering more clothes online than ever before.
The organisation Fashion Revolution has a movement called ‘#LovedClothesLast.’ They claim that due to the level of clothing overproduction, they are hoping that the ‘days indoors can bring about revolutions in caring for our clothes better, mending and making clothing, and adopting a mindset of longevity when it comes to our wardrobes.’
A Managing Director has sent an email to the organisation which has been published on its website.
‘We supply 8 different UK retailers. All of which have stopped paying us overnight and I am currently scrambling to make final payments… it seems any contract we have in place is completely worthless in their eyes.’
Visit Fashion Revolution’s website here: https://www.fashionrevolution.org
While people say that Covid-19 might change the way we dress or how many clothes we will purchase in the future, it will definitely change how we see things that have been taken for granted. The importance of business, job roles, and key workers. This can be a time to value the vital work people do in fashion. From embroiders and sewists to workers behind the till and those who deliver the items to our door.