How COVID-19 Changed the Fashion Industry




The COVID-19 pandemic had a major influence on about every part of our lives. From remote work to full lockdowns, the behavior of consumers, as well as companies’ strategies, had to adapt, in order to fit the online environment of these uncertain times. The fashion industry, heavily relying on experience, touch-and-feel and fitting, especially came up against a great deal of disruption. The unprecedented circumstances pressured brands to update their operations to what would be a standard 10 years from now. From online-fashion shows to luxury DIY kits, take a look at 3 ways the Corona Crisis has shaped a new look for the fashion industry in 2020.


1. End of retail

It comes as no surprise that social-distancing and stay-at-home measures had a detrimental effect on the fashion retail landscape. While before, we would have been more eager to shop for certain garments in person, the pandemic has made us heavily reliant on e-commerce. The field has quickly become a sole means of survival in the industry. While easier for some, with already fully operating web-shops, developing an entirely new direct-to-consumer strategy became a serious issue for brands who were dependent on communications of partner retailers and boutiques. A popular solution came as the augmentation of the customer service and innovative ways to create a dialogue with a consumer from a distance. As a result, we can already experience conveniences, such as online scheduled appointments with real in-store employees, a big step-up from chat-bots, a previous industry standard. Many brands have also adopted unconventional ways to create value for their customers, such as providing all the necessary ingredients for making garments themselves. An example is an L.A.-based designer Reese Cooper’s $98 DIY kit, which includes materials and instructions to create a classic designer Chore coat.


2. Waist-up fashion

Another industry trend, which shaped the fashion landscape this year, was the “designed-for-digital”. With Zoom being the conference room as well as the coffee shop these days, the “waist-up” fashion became an ever so important part of our wardrobe. With high-heels and dress shoes faced with a drastic demise, button-up shirts and business casual sweaters are at the top of their popularity. Similarly, earrings are experiencing a renaissance, and from under the desk, people are gearing up in slippers and fur-lined Uggs. The camera-focused aspect of trends is also reflected in the beauty industry. Skin care and mascara products are gaining an upper hand, while lipsticks are becoming forgotten, with unfavorable smudges on the inside of our masks, as a result.


3. End of fashion week

Another product of the crisis is the forgetting of the industry’s schedule. Before, designers were pressured to finish a collection in time to be presented during one of the events in major fashion cities. Following four seasons each year, the struggle to keep up could often get very real, resulting in poorly-finished product or forced ideas. Now, creatives are actually grateful for the shift. Being able to slow down and take a breath, allowed many to reveal their projects according to their will, not pressure. Restricted by social distancing, brands are taking their fashion shows to streaming platforms, such as YouTube, stepping away from the traditional form. This aspect presents two additional advantages. First, all of the public can enjoy the release at the same time, with no preferential treatment to the fashion elitists. Second, not limited by the physical boundaries of four walls, designers can get extra creative with the way they present a new collection. Some of the already adopted solutions include short films, animations and miniature mannequins. The new format of communication can only benefit both the brands as well as the consumers, allowing for a bigger part of the story to be told.


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