Covid-19 has certainly left a negative impact on the fashion industry. From March 2020 to the current situation, things have not yet gone back to normal. The coronavirus pandemic has given rise to a brand new world – a world we are still coming to terms with, trying to understand and decode, and in some sense, make peace with. For the Indian fashion industry, we have been posed with several questions pertaining to the future of this industry, consumption levels – will they increase or decrease? Will companies have to reimagine their production line? Will operations for fashion retail brands be different? Will the consumer buying patterns change? If yes, then how will they change? How will the Indian fashion brands address this change? And, for the lack of a better term, what really is the “new normal” for the Indian fashion industry?
To start with, the pandemic has made all of us realize that in this world of uncertainty, we really need to be conscious of our requirements. Mostly consumers now believe in something new – A world where ‘Less is More’. This does not mean that we don’t buy new things it only really means that we must declutter or recycle the old to add something new to our wardrobe. Fashion and technology have also long known each other, but today, their equation has gone a step ahead, with some game-changing innovations. The fashion-tech industry has been innovating and re-innovating at a lightening pace and bringing out new products to keep consumers happy and safe during the pandemic. For one, apparel and fashion brands are giving greater importance to hygiene and immunity. The priorities for fashion have changed. We now see a multifunctional approach towards fashion. Clothes that can be repeated and reused in multiple ways with the help of accessories will be in trend.
Post covid consumer sentiments and demands have also taken a radical shift. It has affected the over-all consumer fashion choices. Work from home culture has made everyone so used to comfort clothing that it has now become a necessity of fashion. Shopping culture has really evolved with a lot of rules and regulations. Retail spaces have ensured proper sanitation, appointment-based clients, and social distancing. Rents of retails spaces are high and with a low incoming traffic of customers, a lot of shops have had to shut down. All business owners are trying to adapt to the E- commerce model now. Retailers have now introduced innovative ways for their growth and marketing strategies. Instead of keeping exhibitions where we could see crowds flowing into different shops, virtual trunk shows have now become a new reality.
Even Indian exporters have tons of stocks lying as overseas buyers refuse to take deliveries. Indian Designers who participate in international fashion shows will save energy and travel costs and display their collections online now. All designers are now sourcing eco-friendly and local fabrics as everyone is opting for sustainable practices. It is although becoming increasingly tough to retain and protect local artisans, craftsmen and employees.
This truly has been the most unprecedented year in world history. It will probably take a few years to overcome the losses. It is now clear that pretty much nothing is constant and this is what everyone is trying to believe and is working towards a better tomorrow.
(Article By- Babita Jain, Founder and CEO of The House of Prana, a lifestyle, fashion, artwork and home accessories brand)