With the spreading of the coronavirus now becoming a daily news item with an ever-increasing rate of infection and ever-increasing rate of death. What will be the profound effect this virus is having on the fashion industry?
Regarding supply and demand issues. Fast fashion depends on Chinese factories. They have been being closed a good two months. Regarding Nike, they have lost over 3billion due to supply issues as well as hardly any demand from China in the last 3 months. This is just one major brand.
Striking the heart and soul of fashion, especially luxury clothing is the spread of the virus in Italy. Italy has lost control and leading the way regarding coronavirus deaths. My guess is that, Italy will be out of business at this rate till June. This will greatly affect the collections planned for the next season which will be the Autumn-Winter collection. France and the rest of Europe have now joined the global fight against the coronavirus.
Not one single purchase in any high street in Italy will happen, it is all in lockdown. This is now also Spain, France, the UK, New York and most parts of Australia. When it does open? Who has the money or means to keep their stores open?
The longer people are in lockdown the less they want the current collection.
People’s minds are occupied about getting enough toilet paper and enough food in the house to survive the lockdown. I’ve been in lockdown for 10 days and I have hardly looked at my wardrobe. I stare at my shoe collection in despair as I don’t need many as I hardly can go outside. I strategically choose one pair as I have to leave them outside of the house. Just in case they may get infected by the Coronavirus.
Everything I wear and everything I use outside I have to wash immediately and disinfect it. It is very exhuasting and soul destroying for me. I love my fashion, I love to dress up and be free.
Social Distancing And The Fashion Impact
The peak inactive cases will be reached within 3 weeks in Europe and after that, we will see a gradual slow down, I hope? After that people can go out but have to keep a distance from each other to avoid the spread rate increasing. The world of socialising will never be the same again for a very long time.
The new IT word is, Social Distancing.
What will be the long term effects of the fashion industry? Fashion is a statement, it is a commodity of one expressing itself. It is all about touch, feel and socializing. It is about wearing current trends. For me, this has less relevance in the era of social distancing. I assure you when I am free, I will not enter one fashion store. I am running to remote freedom.
Regarding fashion shows, catwalks let alone private launch parties. They could become a thing of the past, currently, large events over a certain amount, more than 30 people are banned. Catwalks will have to be held online for a while, the bi-annual celebrity spotting event and street fashion circus that come with it will be canceled for a while.
It will take years for battered fashion brands plus the general economy for fashion shows to return to their former glory. Social distancing has to become something of the past. Maybe the move to online will have made fashion shows irrelevant, time will tell.
Current Spring Collections
Ten days ago I could stroll into the shops and see what was trending and what to buy? For the first time in my life I find myself unable to shop for the spring collection. It is irrelevant it serves no purpose. I never thought I would ever be saying that. I have two kids, food on the table first. In my opinion, this collection should be sold for spring 2021. It would be a waste to throw away.
The Big Reset
As humans, we are being shown our place in the world we live in, and how we deal with our environment. This virus jumped from animals to humans, like so many other diseases. We have to ponder how much meat we eat and how we treat our animals. Trust me I will have plenty of hours, days and weeks to ponder over this and I will be making some personal adjustments.
One sector that has destroyed our planet is the fashion industry and its overconsumption of clothes. Even though sustainable fashion is popular. We could not get more sustainable than now.
Now that nobody is buying clothes and we think about our place on the planet it could mean we go to a more simple and less materialistic world, I call this the big reset.
For the next few weeks, my wardrobe is in a standstill. I will play dress up for my sanity. But I realise and have for a long time, I don’t need any more clothes or shoes.
The positive impact of the Coronavirus is how quickly the worldhas stopped. I smell things like never befor. The sounds of nature is lovely. As I write for the first time in years I can hear many birds singing. The air in China according to Nasa is cleaner than ever. Venice has dolphins and flamingos flocking back into the city, with beautifully clean water. And regarding travel, flights have come to a halt. Greta is doing backflips.
Fashion And The Future
This Coronavirus has no time limits, and the word social distancing is how we will stop it from spreading. Let’s talk about the current collections just out in stores. No one can access them right now. Spring will be over before I enter any store. So what do we do with this collection? Dump it? Put it on sale? Or pack it away and reuse it for 2021?
As a fashion house right now, should you be sewing for next year? What fashion houses will survive this brutal retail sector? Which was strugging with over supply and on-line competition anyway.
Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel to name a few won’t reveal their current sales. Because the impact both from the riots of Hong Kong and the whole of China not buying has impacted these global household names. Now that the rest of the world goes in lockdown we can fear the worst. May big household names go?
Topman, Primark, Zara and H&M to name a few are all closed. Terrible fashion players regarding climate. Restaurants, pubs, gyms, and anything regarding social contact are shut. Job loses are coming in thick and fast. This is not a recession that is coming it is more likely a depression, something not experienced since 1929. Hotels and spas are closed so that dressing up motivation and inspiration is no longer in demand. Starbucks, Costa, and everything coffee is also not accessible. I know so many in the last week who have lost their jobs. Most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Pennies and cash are not going to be spent on clothing. Your old wardrobe can surely last for a couple of years. Mine would last a lifetime.
Eventually, there will be plenty of supply but the demand side of fashion will take years to get fully back. Hopefully, this will be on a more sustainable footing as our human race comes to terms with its place in the world and has a more holistic way of thinking. I would love to see a fashion industry that is less obsessed with celebrity and Instagram culture and works more on sustainability than the instant I have to have it now a factor. Think about this whilst in weeks of lockdown.
Also a fashion industry that pays fair wages to workers and becomes more ethical.
I call this the big reset for the fashion industry. There will be many resets in other industries as well. Keep strong in the fight against the Coronavirus and remember we are all in this together.