Fashion is an industry which thrives on people being together- from huge worldwide showcases in Paris, Milan and New York to the most exclusive backstage parties attended by fashions elite. As far as the industry is concerned, the bigger the better- the more people that can view a new collection or a runway show and the more buzz that can be created around a fashion campaign can be pivotal for the success of a brand.
Therefore, producing fashion in the same way in the middle of a pandemic is just not possible- huge shake ups are happening to the industry and there are questions being asked to whether it will ever go back to how we knew it.
February’s fashion events took place with some hesitation, however with many big editors, designers, models and influencers having to quarantine after trips to Milan and the US people quickly realised this way was no longer sustainable. Huge fashion shows have cancelled or postponed their events- Gucci and Versace both cancelled US shows planned for May, and in addition to shows being cancelled, multiple fashion weeks have also followed suit, with those in Shanghai, Moscow and Tokyo being cancelled. Arguably the most shocking of the season was Anna Wintour postponing the annual Met Gala indefinitely, to many people’s disappointment.
So, as nobody knows when the next fashion show will be able to go ahead, designers are, like everyone else turning to the digital alternative. Dior, Hermes and Prada have been amongst many brands to have livestreamed collections, uploaded edited versions of shows onto social media or just skipped straight to the sharing of their social images to display the new collections. In addition, fast fashion brands such as Misguided and Topshop have massively upped their online presence the last few months through the use of influencers and digital marketing. Although this is a temporary solution and change to fashion, it is believed Covid-19 will have huge long-term effects to the industry.
According to NRA, these will be the four biggest ways the fashion industry will change. Consumers will:
- Buy less and take more care of their clothes
- Highlight the need for fair transition for garment workers
- Put society and the environment at the heart of our business
- Grow support for ethical brands from ‘Gen Z’
During lockdown over half of us bought less clothes, with no nipping out to the shops on your lunch hour or dedicated girls shopping weekends there was no impulse buying, pairing this with nobody had any occasions or events to wear new clothes to. It was a disaster for fashion brands. Consumers have had a lot of time to research and reflect during lockdown, and the need for transparency and sustainability in fashion is still ever-growing.
With another lockdown pending it will be interesting to see if these consumer behaviour predictions will come to pass, not just in haute couture but all areas of the industry. Fashion is an art form and something that brings many people joy and happiness in these dark times, so we need to do everything we can to preserve this.