In this blog, we will explore, how Corona and The Fashion Industry are related. This article is going to be tough to read, this article is saddening, but it also gives hope. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

These are dire times. This pandemic has turned the world upside down and, while I write this article, every second, people are losing their fight against Corona. So you’d ask, Why this article right now? Isn’t it insensitive? I too had these doubts, but if not now, then when, and when is a better time to discuss the present and the future of the fashion industry in the wake of Corona.

Fashion Week across the globe(5 Feb – 3 Mar) took a significant blow as the Corona was declared as a pandemic. Resort and Cruise shows were canceled by big houses like Armani, Prada, Gucci, Versace, Max Mara, Dior, Hermes, to name a few. Due to lockdowns in almost all countries sales have severely affected. The trade has been halted because the borders are closed. Production is suspended as social distancing is being practiced.

The worst affected are the factory workers, especially in developing countries that provide products to big fast fashion brands and luxury houses, who work for minimum wages. These workers live paycheck to paycheck, earn in cities, and send money back home in their villages. They have nowhere to go and no money for supplies.

Fashion Stock Market

The stock market has plummeted, and the economy is wretched. Fashion brands from the smallest ones to the most renowned are struggling with their merchandise and its sale. Many are offering 50%-70% offs on their latest collection, but no customer to purchase these goods.

I’m no finance nerd or expert, but let’s take a look at the stock market, addressing Fast Fashion Brands and International Fashion Houses

It is clearly visible that while the graph for the Luxury brands had a gradual decline, stocks of fast fashion brands had a steep downfall. Corona has struck all fashion companies, some hard, some with a soft blow. While few companies in the fashion industry are confident that they’ll undoubtedly bounce back after all this is over, many others have faint to no hope. Although the prominent fashion houses might be able to turn profits within a few months after the Corona is beaten, the low lying, small, and local fashion businesses will suffer even later. Fast fashion brands will end up with most of their merchandise unpurchased, as the “trends” will be gone, and customers will want the latest trends then.

We buy online, offline, and don’t use half of it. This kind of consumer pattern creates false demand for goods, hence causing overproduction of merchandise.

Well ok, we understand but what can we do about it, how is it our problem?

Whether you like you it or not, the fashion industry affects you, directly or indirectly. Every fashion item you have ever purchased was picked out for you, even before you bought it (watch The Devil Wears Prada). Kinda spooky, but 100% true. When the trend is set by big fashion houses, it trickles down to fast-fashion channels, where most of the population buys clothes from. There might be 10 tops chosen for you to shop in a year, but you have the choice to purchase only 4 that year and be conscious.

The Corona outbreak has taught us many things, but most importantly, 
  1. how unsustainable the fashion model is
  2. how important and urgent it has become to take the right action

The current fashion model consists of, minimum of 4 seasonal fashion shows, sometimes even an extra capsule show, all by the top fashion houses. While fast fashion model involves mass production of at least 8 to 10 collections per year, half of which ends up in the landfill. NOT KIDDING. And nobody turns a winner via this model. The brand is left with unpurchased merchandise, makes profits only to waste it. The factory workers don’t even get fairly paid. The customer throws off or forgets about these items after a maximum of 5 uses. Unnecessary chemical processes, use of excess water, which ultimately ends up as garbage, pollute the environment.

Clearly, this paradigm is NOT WORKING. 

But why do we keep following it? Do we really need it?

As soon as governments across the globe started announcing lockdowns, people ran to stores like madmen to stock up on toilet paper, how insane was that? Not too stupid, because that’s what we do throughout the year while shopping for clothes. We buy online, offline, and don’t use half of it. This kind of consumer pattern creates false demand for goods, hence causing overproduction of merchandise.

Does this make sense to y’all?
I hope it does, I don’t have a better and simpler example!

This creates a burden on the earth’s resources, and I think you guys are smart enough to understand that it is wrong.

We all are forced right now to take a break, the fashion industry too. And it is now that we must think and act. If and when the Corona scare goes away, the fashion industry needs to make a shift. Maybe not a sudden one, a slow change, ease into a sustainable model.

Paradigm wherein,

  1. We have a maximum of 2 shows a year.
  2. Limit the number of looks in one collection.
  3. Production of a maximum of 6 collections per year by fast fashion brands.
  4. Slow elimination of fast fashion and integration of good quality merchandise.
  5. No more influencer merchandise. (I’m done with it, aren’t y’all)
  6. Ethical and organic sourcing of raw material.
  7. Fair payment and safe work environment for factory workers/ garment construction workers.
  8. Individual practice of building and maintaining a capsule wardrobe.

These things are tedious, but it’s the need of the hour. And let the business people work it out. You might also argue, But wouldn’t this model make fashion boring? NO, IT WON’T. The fashion industry lacks no artistic and creative people, we just need them to creatively think, in a way that leads us all to a sustainable future.

We don’t need tons and tons of fashion shows, collections, and fashion (Instagram) influencers. An accurate direction will help the fashion model grow and flourish, and with it, us.

I hope that the Corona pandemic eases off, while fashion experts focus on remodeling the fashion industry. The past pattern should not recommence to be normal, let’s join, and create a new normal.

I hope you enjoyed this article.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have any topics you want me to write about, please let me know them too. All suggestions are welcome.
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See you soon!