How will fashion post the pandemic aftershock, look like?
COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented, health, and economic pandemic, that affects people and global industries. As a non-essential business activity the fashion economy, luxury and retail is no exemption to the impact, the industry faces a global, severe financial disruption.
As the virus spread, across the world, how to go through these times of uncertainty, is the question on everyone’s minds.
With widespread lockdown measures, and movement restrictions, the downturn impact, caused by the decline of incomes, is tremendous, for the industry, luxury and retail combined billions of dollars in losses worldwide.
Brands are shutting doors, canceling shows, calling off or postponing fashion events, repurposing their supply chains, to produce face masks and health care equipment.
With low to none activity, and therefore income, brands are swamped with their unsold stock, unfortunately, independent designers are likely to lose businesses, small and medium brands might never, recover from the pandemic, the industry is in the midst of challenging chaos, hard times lie ahead.
Major global tragedies, prompt reshuffles, the post-COVID 19 business environment, will definitely never be the same, and the economic crash down that follows, might take time to unravel.
What led us, to some questions, how will the fashion industry respond to the deep financial upheaval, of the current crisis? How to mitigate the impact? Is the profit-driven mindset of the industry about to change? Is the fashion world ready to re-think, redefine, and reevaluate its patterns? the apparel sphere had many issues to solve, long before the pandemic.
The industry is the world’s second-largest generator of pollution (the first is oil), it generates 4% of the world’s waste, something like 93 tons of fabric and plastic waste, and 25% of the world’s water waste per year.
The rise of fast fashion, is no stranger to the issue, fast fashion production model, replicating high fashion-inspired collections at affordable pricing, online retailers having low-cost mass-produced garments, available online as often as every three weeks, contribute to significant damage to the environment. Powerhouses market forces, place downward pressure on manufacturers to overproduce, the constant influx production pattern, generates a huge volume of garments, that end up unsold, the stock, shredded, burnt, or buried in landfills.
The global negative impact, on the environment, can last for many centuries, fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the planet. The pressure is also on designers shoulders, powerhouses are engaged in a race for profit, forcing designers to adapt and adjust to a new seasonal schedule, that affects their creativity, efficacy and may lead to a burnout, caused by chronic workplace stress, according to W.H.O.
This global pandemic has changed the world’s dynamic forever and exposed the world’s health and environmental cracks, it takes a tragedy to shift, and embrace new patterns, we can no longer live, for the here-and-now, and deal with the aftermath later.
Before we go back, to clear skies, and what we knew as normal, we need to solve some issues.
Photo credit: Sacai
The over-producing at a breakneck pace, the unethical business model and methods, and poor purchasing practices can no longer be ignored, and part of the system. It has become clear that part of the responsibility, lies with the customers, a rising generation of environmentally and socially conscious ones, became outspoken advocates for sustainability, and are now calling for a change, if customers and fashion professionals join forces, they have the potential, to fundamentally, change things for best.
A more respectful, fair, sustainable, and ethical fashion, rooted in the will to do better, seems to be the only way forward, sustainability is no longer a choice, is a matter ecological emergency and planet well-being, we are being presented with two choices, evolve or repeat.
How can we evolve differently, towards a new fashion landscape from here? Here some suggestions:
- Have a fresh approach to consuming
- Consume local
- Choose conscious supplies chains
- Avoid supporting brands with toxic trail
- Invest in more quality and made to last pieces
- Buy less and buy smarter
- Support purpose-driven brands
- Raise cloth lifecycle
The pattern you support will prevail. Choose wisely. People will continue, to express themselves through fashion. By making a green effort,decision-makers would allow designers to regain control, time, energy to innovate their art and craft, and fully express their creativity, but most important, reconquer freedom, and a brand-new space, to build a genuinely meaningful relationship with their clients. Customers now shifting behaviors, could enjoy a more responsible and different shopping experience, the industry, would be able to provide more respectful and better work conditions, along with fair wages. Through centuries, the fashion industry has repeatedly proven, its incredible ability to reinvent itself.
Will the post-pandemic unveil a more respectful, fairer, savvy, and conscious fashion? The question is not a rhetorical one.
Article By Patrycia Afzal