What will be the impact on the fashion industry and How will fashion brands adapt to a post-corona world?
9th of April 2020 | Florence, Italy
By GILI BIEGUN
While half of the world’s population is under lockdown, work places are closed, social events are cancelled, Spring 2020 collections die slow and painful death in our closets and store warehouses. The uncertainty of our finances, the comfort of our old loungewear and the lack of positive-
feedback from our surroundings, kept our wallets closed and shopping carts empty. After all, no one will notice if we are completely bottomless during a zoom work meeting or if Suzanne’s from sales top is last year 70% discount or this season Zara’s.
With the tourism, finance and real estate industries taking a hit, the fashion industry got Covid19 as well and is showing first signs of the virus. With the situation getting worse by the second it won't be too long until the industry will get fever, will need a ventilator and under intensive care.
Bof: ‘’75 percent of shoppers in the US and Europe believe that their financial situation will be impacted negatively for more than two months.’’
These days of record high death toll in the USA are just the promo for the deep crisis and new reality the world will face the day after that curve will be flatten.
Fashion Week is cancelled: The cancellation of all social events around the world including many local fashion weeks platforms, led to the first step of handling the pandemic 2020 style.
Fashion week platforms took an advantage of their online platform and adapted to the new reality. MBFW Russia presented their designers collection online in a collaboration with VOGUE RUSSIA, in virtual shows and presentations, breaking view records and reaching new potential clients and audiences.
Giorgio Armani was the first designer in Milan to have his show without an audience broadcast online last February in Milan and in March he donated millions for the ones in need. Prada kept 200 employees busy, manufacturing free face masks for the masses while supporting their workers.
Belgrade fashion week organisation had to cancel its 47th edition this April, but founder Nenad Redujevic grouped a team of designers and together they produce face covers from dead stock or fabric leftovers.
‘’The POKRIVALICE (translation: cover face) campaign was initiated by the designers of the BFW Design Collective, who, in addition to their members, gathered many other designers, tailors, women with sewing skills and volunteers who in various ways wanted to help this action." A network of over 50 people and small workshops throughout Serbia has been created that can produce up to 3000 Pokrivalica per day.
"The Pokrivalice protects against many challenges, eliminates the first obstacle from unclean air in your environment, or protects your environment if you have a cold.’’
Consulting with experts The Pokrivalice can be reused after being washed in boiling water and ironed, therefore is sustainable and cost efficient.
The project’s media channels offer tutorials for self made masks.
Landiana, vice-president of Feeric Fashion Week, gave her advice to brands:
‘’Offer your customers the possibility to buy at bigger discounts if they send you back an old item they bought from you in the past. It is kind of a buyback process. For example instead of 30% give 50% to all customers that send you back one old item.’’
Among her other advice, Landiana encouraged designers to upcycle, recycle and resell used items.
Exiting strategy: What will we do when it's all over?
The second part of dealing with a crisis is the post-trauma stage: The world that will be left behind in the unknown day in which the curve will be flat.
Ateliers around the world are under lockdown, workers can not leave their homes and continue production: will brands reach deadlines for their spring summer 2021? And if so; who will be able to afford 500€ heels in 2021?
Since 2011, Historian and professor Yuval Noah Harari talks in his books about the power and need of reinventing ourselves over and over throughout our lives. Well, there is no time like the present. The post-pandemic world will be different and a self reinventing is necessary in order to adapt and succeed.
The virus is forcing us to walk a path we already knew we had to take and is facing us with our mindless consumption. The immediate shortage of certain fabrics, cashflow, workforce can be the key for a better new reality.
The silver lining:
The financial crisis crushing sales around all sectors and new point of views must be created. Trend Forecaster Li Edelkoort suggested that the Coronavirus will offer the planet a chance for a restart: A sustainable state of mind is already in action and will continue to gain power adapting to the new world the Coronavirus will leave behind. Reducing consumption will lead to producing less which will benefit us and our environment.
The National Chamber of Italian Fashion decided to join together Men and Women fashion weeks in September 2020, a step that might lead to genderless collections and a wider range of potential buyers.
Reusing, upcycling and recycling deadstocks from SS20 might be the starting point for environmentally friendly Seasonless timeless collections.
With a new point of view, the process of designing, creating, presenting and producing a collection might be shorter, more cost efficient and in total sustainable in the full sense of the word.
The future of the fashion industry is a modest one. A future that requires an open mind to new partnerships, collaborations and ways to express ourselves through our clothes.
''Reusing, upcycling and recycling deadstocks from SS20 might be the starting point for environmentally friendly Seasonless and timeless collections.''