Nearly every industry has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, whether it is supermarkets having to consider their opening hours and re-stocking methods, non-essential businesses being shut down, or an unprecedented amount of pressure placed on health services. The fashion industry also has experienced the far-reaching effects of the current global health crisis.
Although it has been dismissed as being frivolous – when directly compared with those front line service industries that are fighting so hard to keep people fed and alive – the fashion industry is one of the most important fiscal giants in the world and a creative mecca. The deterioration of the fashion industry would seriously impact the global economy and result in the unemployment and furloughing of millions of seamstresses, designers, artists, and others.
The various has been moving at various rates and has had different impacts on various countries. The UK’s most recent lockdown measures are still encouraging people to work from home when they can, but those who are unable to are encouraged to return to work (along with relaxed rules for outside leisure time and exercise).
Although some of the most serious lockdowns have been relaxed (or in places like France have been lifted), the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage on, as the fate of the fashion industry continues hanging in the balance.
From billions of pounds being donated by various fashion groups to the potential of a humanitarian crisis developing in Bangladesh, the following are some of the ways that the fashion industry is attempting to adapt under the pressure of the coronavirus.
On Monday, May 11 in France, users of social media got on Twitter to share pictures and videos of shopping queued outside of fashion shops like Louis Vuitton and Zara hours after the eight-week lockdown in France was lifted. There was also a huge spike in fashion related google searches such as ‘DIY garments’ and questions like ‘what do bodysuits do?’.
In Paris, the Telegraph reported that Zara circulated a poster that read “Happy to see you again” and at the landmark department store BHV shoppers were informed they needed to put on masks and hand gel.
Many people felt embarrassed seeing the sights of so many shoppers returned to the clothing checkouts and racks so soon after being re-opened. However, in certain parts of the country, it is not just business as usual. This includes the capital of Paris which is still under tight control. The BBC reports that the country is divided into red and green zones.
For the fashion industry in Europe, the lift of France’s lockdown might offer some important insight into the way that consumers will be reacting in the upcoming months.
Although many non-essential workers might feel like they are sitting ducks during the current pandemic, fashion-focussed celebrities and influences have found ways to make contributions.
For example, stylists Bettina Looney and Anna Rose Vitiello co-ordinated a wardrobe clear out from their Instagram stores in order to raise money for the charities Help Them Help Us and Doctors Without Borders.
Looney says they wanted to create an interactive and fun way to raise money for charities who need help during this difficult time.
She added, we love fashion and it is the ideal vehicle to use to give back. We came up with a way where we could combine these two things and there has been a phenomenal response. We will keep hosting a sale on Mondays every week for as long as possible, so we can continue raising awareness and money. We will be working with some fantastic small brands to help with this.
Fashion Brands Cancel Bangladesh Orders
Due to sales downturns and sales closures, Forbes reports that more than $2.8 billion (£2.26) in orders have been cancelled by western fashion brands from Bangladeshi suppliers. This could potentially spark a humanitarian crisis.