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The long-term effects of COVID-19 on the fashion industry

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Amongst many other industries, the fashion industry has been hit hard by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. And whether you’re a die-hard fashion fan or just newly curious, you must have heard that many things have changed and will change within this industry. Let’s take a look.
Cover photo: © CAES

COVID-19 and Fashion Week

When the COVID-19 crisis hit the world, Fashion Weeks were the first events to be canceled or adjusted. It started with an entire empty show for Giorgio Armani at Milan Fashion Week and soon after other shows got canceled.

And that’s not all. More and more fashion weeks get canceled. First we heard the news about canceled Resort 2021 collections and presentations. Unfortunately Paris Men’s Fashion Week and Paris Haute couture week announced their cancellations soon after.

However, the British Fashion Council announced to launch a gender-neutral fashion platform, which will combine menswear and womenswear shows and presentations. This platform will make fashion accessible for the bigger crowd. Wondering why this is a good thing? Highly interested consumers get to know stories behind lesser known brands and there’s much more space for creativity. And – most importantly – there’s no need to fly around the globe to visit every fashion week.

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A shift at the consumer side

Hence, we should add that we’ll miss this great spectacle. But that doesn’t withhold that there was a need for change. And that welcome shift has come earlier than expected, due to the worldwide crisis. Likewise, Fashion Revolution Week highlighted the importance of these changes in the fashion industry. According to experts at this revolution week, consumers’ attention has shifted. For example, there has been a huge interest in the story behind garments. For example, The Frankie Shop told in an Instagram live session about the development of their massively successful Eva padded shoulder muscle t-shirt. It’s interesting to be aware of the love and hard work that’s been put into practice when developing a new product. It makes you cherish your garments even more.

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In line with this, sustainable influencers encourage people to start making their own clothes. On Instagram, upcycling designer Sustainable Maria posted a picture of her wearing a self-made dress. With giving the right example, she hopes to inspire others. And she’s not the only one. After her post, many other fashion lovers have followed her example.

A much needed break

For some fashion designers, the worldwide lockdown has a silver lining. While in China fashion designers return to their jobs, at most other parts of the world people safely stay at home. To some designers, the lockdown forms a welcome break. This is the time to develop creative plans, analyze what they’ve been doing the past years, decide on what to keep and what to let go of, accomplish necessary changes and question the current system of the fashion industry.

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Implications for the fashion industry as a whole

But the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic also causes negative results for many (independent) fashion businesses and the fashion industry as a whole. Hence many fashion houses have canceled their upcoming shows and presentations. Overall, the luxury industry as a whole has been hit hard. Furthermore, many big fashion conglomerates have faced a large decrease in shared value. Fear of spreading the virus has forced production facilities to close and made consumers too anxious to enter the streets to do their shopping. Furthermore, for the Chinese it’s almost impossible to receive a traveling visa at the moment. Some people, therefore, fear that this might be the biggest crisis since 2008’s financial meltdown. On the bright side, this has led to a drop in carbon emissions in certain areas of China with 25% as soon as the coronavirus hit the country.

Therefore we have to conclude, once again, that everyone should learn from Naomi Campbell’s over-the-top precautionary measures in order to prevent yet another pandemic.

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