Changes In The Fashion Industry Outlook Post Covid-19 Crisis


The global apparel market was worth US$ 1,955 Billion in 2019 and the Covid-19 crisis would certainly not help it grow much until 2022. The global fashion industry is one of the worst hit industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the manufacturing units and retail stores are closed down, fashion shows being cancelled and the logistics are highly affected due to the slowing down of movements. The loss of jobs by the people in the fashion industry is a huge factor in itself.

There are around 19,000 fashion designers working across the United States and New York City is the home to about 30 percent of these designers, a congressional report said in 2019. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has about 500 designers as members. The president and CEO of the CFDA, Steven Kolb said that many designers are having major financial difficulties because they have large inventories that they cannot sell. The retail stores are also facing issues because of lower revenue generation and struggling to pay fixed expenses like rent and other operating costs.

Many fashion houses believe that the crisis is an opportunity towards a more sustainable approach and in embracing the usage of natural and environment friendly resources, to use less amount of resources, to recycle and construct a cleaner and sustainable fashion act. About seasonal fashion trends, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele says “Clothes should have a longer life than that which these words attribute to them.” Manufacturing items abroad for seasonal collections without any feedback on demand and then months later planning to sell those items in the retail stores globally is not a reasonable model. The products should have a more extended shelf life than just being appropriate for a particular season.

There is a rise in the demand for casual wear and loungewear after the world got hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as a large number of people areworking from home or mostly staying inside. The needs of people have changed considerably in the fashion consumer market as people are focusing on conscious buying and fulfilling the need of the hour rather than splurging on expensive outfits that would be worn just once or twice. People are more careful in terms of their buying habits and cutting down on impulse buying and giving a thought to what they actually need to buy. Fashion houses have already started to focus their production based on these demands which might see a rise in the near future.



The consumers are also focusing more on budget buys and so high end fashion items may not see a favorable demand. Sustainable, relatable and reasonable are the core elements that consumers are looking for when they buy fashion items. Pricing the products high would not give much result as it would not serve the changing needs of the people in the current situation and also in the near future.

The current crisis has pushed many business houses to adapt to the changing market conditions and the fashion industry is no different. More businesses are moving online despite having no experience in the digital business realm. As people are spending more time at home and retail outlets are mostly closed or very few of the outlets which do manage to sustain themselves and serve their customers, are not having that much foot traffic. Businesses are starting to give the online consumer market a very close attention to establish their brands online. Stephanie Phair, chief customer officer at Farfetch, an online luxury fashion retail platform says “We are already seeing a move to online. Online was by far the highest growth segment of the industry and because people have been forced to an online world, that will accelerate.”

The e-commerce industry is booming right now as more people are shopping online. People are starting to order online even though they didn’t used to shop through this medium that much but the current situation has its effect. The need to reduce unnecessary stepping out of our houses and the ease of online shopping is what attracts more people and this is only going to increase in the near future.

The retail stores that are trying to survive are taking up more innovative approaches to retain customers and make sales. They are helping customers through virtual shopping, which did exist before but was quite underrated in terms of its value. Virtual shopping can really help building customer relationships and closing more sales with high customer satisfaction. Retail stores are also strengthening their e-commerce facilities so that they can serve the customers both offline and online.

The social distancing rule and a ban on events that require large gathering of people is a huge concern for the fashion industry because designers showcase their work in the fashion shows and these shows also becomes the marketing launchpad for those designs. This problem has pushed these activities in the online sphere. We have already seen magazine covers with photos of the models in their own home studio setups and shots taken by themselves in a very candid manner compared to the high end photo concepts that we are used to see on these covers. This shows that the industry is promoting more natural and sustainable concepts and being more real and relatable.

In the future the concept of virtual shows might come into light and showcasing designs through online platforms could help the industry in building their hold in the digital world. Online marketing and serving customers through various online experiences will also become the center of the businesses as this is proving to be a highly promising medium which can help in brand positioning and also improving the actual sales.

Import export is highly affected because of the pandemic and so many artworksthat used to get supplied are on the low now. The artists and designers who work at ground level are having an income crisis because of this change but situations are expected to recover and improve as the months go by. People are giving more value to sustainability andsupporting small businesses, designers and artists around the world. Bibhu Mohapatra, a New York based fashion designer says “if we don’t think globally, certain skills and crafts are going to die, such as embroidery that comes out of India. I believe in supporting local businesses but we need to maintain a balance. We can’t leave people behind.”

The fashion industry, just like many other hard hit industries due to this pandemic, has run its course from a steep fall to the slow recovery and is expected to recover more by 2021. Adapting to the “new normal” and coming up with innovative ways to make the products available to the customers will be evolving more and more through experience and customer receptiveness. The awareness of people has brought a new element to ponder upon as the fashion houses has to provide products that the consumers actually need rather than pushing things on an impulse.


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