Top 9 trends that will shape the fashion world post coronavirus
Top 9 trends that will shape the fashion world post coronavirus
The world is still in a tight grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it has hit nearly all industries, its repercussions will be felt the most by the fashion industry due to its discretionary nature. Orders stand cancelled, factories remain shut, and retail stores stop seeing customers. While the end of this pandemic remains a mystery, people have started embracing the changes that might follow.
It’s not the first time fashion has seen a blow from catastrophic events. In fact, such events have shaped the way we see fashion today. World War I scraped tight corsets from the Victorian era, and instead, introduced looser silhouettes. World War II popularised men’s clothing like trousers, shirts and blazers for women who had started entering the workforce. On a more recent note, the 2008-09 recession gave rise to much more practical clothing with Phoebe Philo’s work gaining global attention for catering to precise clothing for intellectual women.
While experts predict that the effect of post-coronavirus recession will last for at least two years, there will be considerable shifts in fashion and to understand them better, here are some major trends for the post-coronavirus world.
1. Affordable clothing will see a rise
The lockdown has resulted in consumers spending more on essential goods rather than things like clothing. Gradually, consumers will be inclined to buy clothing that is affordable and utilitarian rather than expensive and preposterous. The luxury market will see the biggest slump out of all and it may take a long time to revive faith in purchasing high-value goods.
2. Questions on celebrity culture
The quarantine period has affected consumers and celebrities alike, and while many celebrities and influencers have made efforts to keep their audience engaged, their influence on making consumers buy products will definitely take a toll. Instead of being constantly bombarded with advertising campaigns, the consumers will now have plenty of time along with monetary constraints before they make any kind of purchases, thus making celerity marketing campaigns less effective. Also, several brands have already started cutting advertorial budgets which will affect incomes of influencers as well as celebrities.
3. Online shopping will dominate physical retail shopping
While online shopping was one of the main culprits for lower footfalls in retail spaces, coronavirus has accelerated it to another level. Consumers will have less confidence in shopping from retail outlets and more in shopping online. This will be a perfect opportunity for retailers to expand their online presence like a dedicated website or presence on multi-brand e-commerce websites and apps.
4. Focus on classics rather than trendy pieces
Brands will start churning out pieces that have done well in the past, keeping which will increase the chances of the customer buying those pieces. So your basic H&M top will make rounds of the shelves and catalogues for a longer period of time than the multi-coloured sequin dress. This was also evident during the post-recession period of 2009 when designers like Phoebe Philo became famous for their minimal take on garments.
5. Longer fashion cycles
Companies will start implementing longer fashion cycles, which means that the number of collections launched by a brand will decrease due to the lack of spending power from the consumers as well as longer lead times for the supply chain. The spring stocks are already in the warehouses, and for the companies to reach maximum efficiency, the number of collections per season will see a decline. This also means that the stores will see the winter merchandise in September or October rather than July which falls perfectly in the seasonal timeline.
6. Global operations will take a back seat
Fashion houses in developed economies will struggle in terms of expansion in newer markets. This means that most of the retailers will start focusing on the home markets rather than investing in new markets. This is because most of such fashion houses earn more from economies that are outside their countries including China that was a major part of global luxury retail. A smaller workforce and limited financials will further restrict such brands to stick to their home countries, and global operations will take a toll.
7. Sustainable products will rise, but not early on
Sustainable products will see a slight slump due to their prices which are placed higher than their fast fashion counterparts. However, due to the temporary halt, most of the consumers are looking deeper into fashion supply chains and will become more careful of investing in brands. Consumers, especially in developed economies, will require more than just pretty pictures of the garments. They will increasingly show interest in brands that are highly transparent and have a sustainable footprint. Thus, when the world reaches a relatively stable state, the consumers will show a higher interest in sustainable products later in the year or next year rather than early on.
8. Bigger companies will bounce back, smaller ones won’t
Conglomerates will thrive because of financial backing and higher liquid assets that can sustain brands for this recession-like state. On the other hand, smaller businesses will suffer the hardest because according to BOF and McKinsey’s report, 80 per cent of companies will face financial distraught in the coming months. Thus, with little to no financial backing, smaller businesses will seek mergers and acquisitions or bankruptcy.
9. Discount culture will return
Discount schemes will become stronger because brands will seek to liquidate stocks faster. One can argue that discounts have already plagued the fashion world for years. However, the customers are familiar with discount opportunities, and thus, will respond optimistically. Deep discounts will become a nightmare for luxury brands, as it will tarnish the brand image and they will explore other channels and strategies like wholesale e-commerce that would provide relief.
Looking at all these trends, it is sure that the current perception that we have of fashion will turn upside down and will challenge all players in the industry to find innovations that will be crucial for their survival.