The coronavirus pandemic has left many industries in a state of uncertainty, unsure of what the future holds for them with the sudden halt of consumerist lifestyles. As one of the most affected industries, the fashion world is prepping for a reboot. Fashion weeks and various events across the world have been cancelled or postponed, design houses are facing difficulties putting together their upcoming collections and businesses have suffered significant losses. As a response, fashion experts are coming together to discuss the next steps they’ll need to take to save the industry.
Consumers will develop a more mindful selection process and support smaller brands
There is much hope for independent labels and upcoming designers as the crisis has shed light on the need to support the little guy and shop local. Consumers are taking a closer look into the brands that they mean to buy from, and they’re asking more questions, thus delving away from the fast-fashion, throwaway culture that was prevalent before.
CEO of Copenhagen fashion week Cecilie Thorsmark tells The Guardian she hopes for “a much bigger appreciation for fashion that is value-driven; supporting the brands that are authentic, inclusive and transparent”.
Fashion shows will still be around but may change in format
While social distancing is in place, fashion shows and similar gatherings may seem irrelevant, but that does not mean they’ll be phased out. There’s leeway for fashion houses to start over and rethink the traditional format of the biannual presentations. “If you started this business from scratch today, you would probably do it differently than some of these legacy practices and where they’ve brought us. That opportunity is upon us,” said Pete Nordstrom during a panel discussion with Vogue on the future of retail.
It will no longer just be about the catwalk and a room of hundreds, but instead incorporate factors such as the latest technology, eye-catching performances and engagement with a larger crowd.
E-commerce and bricks and mortar will need to go hand in hand
One question on everyone’s mind is whether brick-and-mortar shops will be overshadowed by e-commerce. The two complement each other and strengthen the buyer’s experience. If a brand has not entered the e-commerce scene yet, it’s high time that they do. “Where I think the direction if going is it’s going to be an even closer merging of offline and online, where it’s going to be about the customer being at the centre and experiencing fashion in both environments,” said Farfetch’s Stephanie Phair in a conversation about e-commerce.
Sustainability will lead the way
Sustainability, or fashion’s lack thereof, has been a hot topic for some years and it seems that the health crisis is paving the way for talk to finally translate to action. The situation will be a wake up call for designers and entrepreneurs, who will realise the slow planning process of a sustainable business will help them access risks and avoid losses in times of crisis. Brands such as Balenciaga, which already have a five-year plan and a sustainability road map, are navigating through this time more easily.