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Fashion and the Pandemic

How the pandemic has changed the fashion industry?
Two girl wearing flower face masks over their mouths in white vests. Shot on a pale background

How the pandemic has changed the fashion industry?

Pandemic pitstop

The pandemic has no doubt left a noticeable mark on the once set-to-schedule fashion industry, almost causing a shift into an alternate timeline. The first half of 2020, especially, saw an overhaul of things once thought to be permanent; from mass store closures, grounded flights, and shuttered factories, to a complete halt to runway shows [1]. Not only this, but with the social lives of the majority of the world disappearing overnight, there was very little reason to dress or to purchase dress. Jean-Jacques Guiony of the world’s largest luxury brands conglomerate LVMH, described it as being “a perfectly negative alignment of planets” for the fashion industry [1].

A silver lining?

Though the pandemic is far from over, the silver lining in the mess so far has been that it has opened up an opportunity for the industry to re-think everything that was once considered set-in-stone. Fashion Editor for the Washington Post, Robin Givhan, has spoken extensively on the fact that, prior to the pandemic, one of the ongoing frustrations with the industry was that it had gotten itself into a situation in which design houses, both high-end and otherwise, were really just putting out collections to quickly.

It used to be that there were really just 2 collections – fall and spring – but it had gotten to a point that, if you were a brand that did couture and you also did menswear in addition to womenswear, you were producing almost two dozen collections a year [2]. Fashion people and the industry were constantly in motion – producing collections, selling collections, runway shows, opening new stores, fashion shoots, campaigns, influencer product placement, etc. When the pandemic hit, and shut down a lot of these things, it gave (a privileged class of) people, namely the people at the helm of a lot of these companies, the opportunity to pause, and finally really think about the current state of the industry in a critical way.

And it’s not just the industry heads that have had a chance to rethink. For many of us on the consumer end, the sudden change in lifestyle imposed on us by quarantine and lockdown gave us a chance to break from, and in some cases, even change or reset our consumer psychology – our relationship with purchasing and consuming, especially in the fashion field, as we now find ourselves with nowhere to dress up for.

  • Do you think the pandemic will change the fashion industry? Or do you think it’s just going to go back to “business as usual”?

Share your opinion with your peers in the comments down below.

References:

  1. Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/dec/31/2020-the-year-that-changed-fashion-and-not-just-the-look
  2. NPR: https://www.npr.org/transcripts/960343025
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