COVID19 has impacted many sectors in the economy and people’s lifestyles. As many only talk about the number of patients, I have discussed how COVID19 has had an impact on the fashion industry.
Fashion Production sites are effected
Major apparel production countries are Marocco, Portugal, Turkey, Bangladesh, and India. Bangladesh is known as one of the largest apparel production countries.
Covid19 has made many people in Bangladesh jobless. It is because international Brands have canceled billions of dollars of orders since some brands have stopped the orders and the government lockdown stopped people from traveling.This has effected on 4 million people, mainly rural women who are dominating the sector. Most factories haven’t paid their employees for the past two months and some of the employees only earn 100$ per month which is a small amount when you convert it into Bangladeshi Taka (8500 BDT).
These people makes bras, jeans, socks, shirts for wealthier nations and this industry (apparel industry) is the foundation of Bangladesh’s impoverished economy. Not only major factories but the production of smaller factories also have fallen from 50% because of the mass lockdown. Nevertheless, It had been said that some fashion brands aren’t going to cancel the orders. so that the workers will get paid during this situation.
Similar to what’s discussed above there is a podcast discussion under the topics How garment workers around the world are being impacted by COVID-19 and why activists are using #payup. This podcast is done by Ayesha Barenblat ( founder of Remakers), Elizabeth Cline(journalist), Kalpona Akter, Rubana Huq and William Conklin (union and NGO leaders), Mostafiz Uddin (owner of denim manufacturer and exporter Denim Expert Ltd from Bangladesh and founder of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity.). They also discuss, How sustainability in fashion looks like in the future. The link to the podcast will be down below. There’s also another podcast on wardrobe crisis, the link for this is also mentioned below.
Online shopping has made a major impact on the society according to the lockdown economy report by loving the sales ( https://www.lovethesales.com/press/articles/lockdown-economy-report ), for the first time there is a huge change in the UK online retailers.
Within the two weeks, March 24th – April 17th UK citizens have been shopaholics. These shoppers are heavily invested in exercise equipment, beauty products & loungewear ( recorded level of demands). According to the Business insider among all exercise equipments, the kettlebell has a 419% demand with the price increased from 55% compared to last year. Other exercise equipment also has a comparable demand with high rates.
As most of the sports brands know their demand and the most popular clothing during the lockdown, they have waved off their discounts from those items of clothing and has increased the prices of all products during the lockdown. No matter what the price is, the consumer will always purchase a product when it’s needed. Example:- Data collected from over 16,000 retailers and according to Business Insider UGG and CROCS along with fashion giant Calvin Klein are reported as the best performing online brand within the UK during these two weeks.
while high-street brands are struggling without customers, there is a large ē-traffic for all the premium brands as these brands have recognized their target audience during the lockdown. Most of the shopper’s demands for top-half wear ( T-shirt, formal shirts, jumpers) rose 167% and 31% demands for bottoms compared to last year. As a reference to the Business Insider, casual clothing/loungewear came out as the most popular lockdown clothing followed by hoodies, sweatshirts & joggers. They also stated that Calvin Klein & Ralph Lauren as the best-performed brands under loungewear.
In this situation, it is better if we take safety precautions when we are delivering a service towards the society. One of the most popular brands, River Island that is based in the UK and Ireland provides online services for its customers. As a brand, they also have taken precautions to keep their employees safe by regularly sanitizing their stores. As well as having on-site digital thermometers and two-meters distancing zones. The consumer packages will be delivered within 14 days and it can be returned if unwanted within 28 days after delivery.
Anne Barge has launched virtual bridal appointments, establishing a relationship with the customer and giving them Personalised experience. According to their website, Brides are asked to create a wish list of all the gowns they are interested in, before emailing the atelier stylist, who will schedule the virtual appointment via Facetime or Zoom. Then they send fabric swatches up-to three gowns to the brides’ home directly helping them to visualize their gown. Finally, once the lockdown is over the bride can set up an appointment with the brands to try on the selected gown.
Even though I have mentioned above that most brands are providing online services. unfortunately many fashion brands such as River Island and Moss Bro have been forced to halt their online due to the pandemic.
The fashion industry marketing sector is heavily impacted by COVID19. As most of the world’s famous high-end fashion brands are in the USA and all over Europe. These are the countries that are having the high number of COVID patients, the brands are now drying without their loyal customers since the lockdown.
Most brands have also stated that the brand value of the world’s biggest 500 companies could fall by 1 trillion US dollars. For example, the British fashion market is worth 55 billion pounds per year in scale.
Availability over Brand, Price or Quality
Most consumers now are in search of availability over price, quality or brand. As stores closed consumer are finding it hard to purchase products online. Gen-Z would find it easy to purchase online and on the other hand millennials and Gen-X might find online purchasing hard.
High street products are produced in small quantities as the price to produce their product is high and mostly their customer base is people who want to get in-store experience as well. Whereas fast fashion brands have mass production when it comes to manufacturing garments.They never run out of product shortage because of this. They also have a huge online customer base in addition to in-store purchase customer base.
Neonyt stands for CHANGE. FASHION. TOGETHER. It is the biggest international sustainable fashion fair that happens in June every year at the Berlin airport hanger 4. As referred to the website Neonyt informs about relevant, future-oriented topics. Experts provide knowledge and discuss current developments in the fashion and textile industry. There are many brands that participate in this fair, such as Vatter, Suit 13, SKFK, SAM LANG and many more. Unfortunately this year the fair has been canceled due to COVID-19. For more information the website link is mentioned below. https://neonyt.messefrankfurt.com/berlin/en.html
Neonyt fashion show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Crx00i7GdA
The Edited (a London retail data company) has created a COVID-19 retail dashboard so that the professionals in the fashion industry can keep up to date. Example – latest fashion in the market, most popular clothing in the market and many more. They are focused on all trends globally. Below I have mentioned some of the key points this website has,
1. Global Coverage
2. What’s New and What’s Working
3. How Retailers are Discounting
Brands against COVID19
- WHP Global, the parent company of Anne Klein, has united with the namesake designer’s granddaughter Jesse Rubinstein to produce Personal Protection Equipments and has produced over 100,000 face masks to distribute among the needy.
- Womenswear brand Baukjen and maternity label Isabella Oliver have teamed up to make face-mask for personal use during COVID19. They make their masks together with their Portugal manufacturer using leftover fabric and offcuts which is very sustainable and will reduce factory waste. These masked have Been coated with an anti-bacterial coating for extra protection. The masks are 100% cotton, you can either purchase or donate them to the NHS volunteer army. A masks pack contains five masks 4 adult masks and 1 kids masks, a pack is £20 and when u purchase a pack you get another pack free so that you can share with your neighbors or anyone who needs masks.
In addition, both brands offer a 40% off their full-priced collection to key workers to show how much they appreciate their work. It includes police, teachers, care workers, and transportation staff. All they need to do to claim the discount is to email a photo of your ID to either TheTeam@Baukjen.Com or TheTeam@IsabellaOliver.Com to receive a discount code. These brands also encourage their customer to make their fast mask by providing the leftover fabrics. They don’t get a profit out of this and they only charge for the courier from the plant to the factory cost. They also have a #Masks4all
- Every 60$ spent on the H&M U.S. ē-commerce site 10$ will be moved to donations the customer can choose who they want to donate their money to. CDC Foundation, Direct Relief, Meals on Wheels and GLAM4GOOD are the foundation H&M is donating. This donation will happen till they collect 150 thousand dollars.H&M also has donated bedding, sheets, adult and children’s clothing to Children’s Defence Fund, LGBT and Nashville Rescue Mission. The brand also donated 500 thousand dollars to WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
- Second-year fashion students at LCI Barcelona makes more than 50 mask reusing materials as diverse as jeans, t-shirt combing fashion recycling with sustainability. Some of these will, later on, be showcased to show how COVID-19 made a huge difference in their lives.
This is my take on the impact of COVID19 in the fashion industry. Comment your thoughts below and share around!