Covid-19 & the effect on the fashion industry

May 15, 2020

From historic fashion houses producing face-masks for the NHS to GQ getting their cover star to shoot his own portraits, the fashion industry is adapting to the new normal in many different ways. The Covid -19 pandemic has had a colossal effect on almost every industry, and so it follows that the fashion industry has also been experiencing the effects of a global health crisis. The fashion industry’s deterioration would see a series impact on the global economy, not to mention the furloughing or unemployment status of millions of designers, illustrators, seamstresses and more. All the while the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, the fashion industry’s fate hangs in the balance. The brands that focus on collaboration and innovation will have the best chances of survival.

The show must go on

Dior workshops have been closed since March 17th, however, that certainly doesn’t mean work has stopped. Dior seamstresses, continue their craft at home to ensure production of the upcoming collections even with the quarantine restrictions. The new way of working, supported by numerous video conferences, illustrates the determination and spirit of these artisans who in just a few weeks adapted their habits to their new working environment, guaranteeing that the runway show will go on. From those working on new haute couture creations in their homes to the artisans in Redon joining the nationwide battle against Covid-19 by making masks, Dior seamstresses shine with their resilience and solidarity.

Celebrities become photographers

GQ has just released their June/July cover star with Robert Pattinson. The issue features self-portraits by Robert Pattinson himself and brings an organic and candid vibe to the publication. The photographs are so good, they could have been taken by a professional. From interviews over zoom, GQ has completely altered the usual practice of getting content and show how being innovative can transform a brand’s image. Thus, VOGUE produced a series of candid selfies featuring Kim Kardashian and her children, snuggled up on the sofa. 

The impact on third world countries

A humanitarian crisis is sadly unfolding in Bangladesh, with the fate of 4.1 million garment workers in the hands of western fashion brands, who have reportedly cancelled over $2.8 billion in orders as the COVID-19 crisis escalates. With so many store closures, many brands are refusing to accept completed garment orders, which they would no doubt struggle to sell during the current global lockdowns. According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president, Rubana Huq, “many garment factories in Bangladesh have received impersonal corporate emails from brands cancelling garment orders, and have subsequently ceased communication with factories altogether.” Moving forward, the responsible approach is for brands and retailers to find ways to access lines of credits or other forms of government support to cover their obligations to supplier factories so that they can cover their expenses and pay their workers, in order to avoid sending millions of workers home with no ability to put food on the table.

The fight against Covid-19

As the spread of the virus intensifies, Chanel has pledged to produce over 50,000 facemasks and gowns for healthcare workers, police and other essential workers in France. Levi Strauss and Co. have been doing their part to help fight against COVID -19 by hosting its virtual concert series of Instagram Live and donating $10,000 per performance to a charity picked by the artist. UGG along with its parent company has launched the new initiative Better Together, where brands will donate more than $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts through monetary and product donations. Louis Vuitton announced it will repurpose its American workshops to produce non-surgical face masks. Nike is donating $5.5 million worth of product, including its new Air Zoom Pulse sneakers to frontline healthcare workers. Net – a – porter announced that it will be utilising its vehicles that usually deliver its fashion to deliver food and supplies to seven charities in London. Burberry announced on its website that it would be dedicating significant time, money and resources to helping with the COVID – 19 global pandemic.