While Dolce & Gabbana proceeded with its 121-look show, Giorgio Armani uninvited guests on the same day, instead live streaming its AW20 show ‘to safeguard the wellbeing’ of those originally invited.
The Coronavirus outbreak ushered the chaos and uncertainty in the fashion during pandemic and beauty industry too. Although no one — not even the trend analysts who make their living forecasting such things — is exactly sure what the future of fashion looks like.
Fashion during pandemic
“We had trends we were forecasting for 2021 that we’re seeing become a reality now.” said Ana Correa, an associate editor for footwear and accessories at trend-forecasting firm WGSN. “They’ve accelerated because of the pandemic for sure.”
Fashion gurus agree that the future of retail and design is actually arriving way ahead of schedule. This comes with back-burner projects front-burnered and fashion’s never-ending hamster wheel getting a good, hard look.
Comfort over fashion
It’s an official goodbye to high heels,stiff dress shoes, tight clothes and tons of makeup. Sales of all such fashion and beauty products have been tumbling for years. Moreover, analysts say the pandemic has turbocharged their demise. Sales of men’s and women’s dress shoes plunged 70 percent in March and April, according to NPD.
“The question now is whether they’ll ever rebound?” Of course, some men and women out there are dying to put their fashionable stuffs back on. But most of them have got habituated to the comfort and hence are choosing easier options available.
Beauty industry responds positively to the crisis
The global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year and accounts for millions of jobs, directly and indirectly. Lives come first, but livelihoods also matter. With the closure of premium beauty-product outlets because of COVID-19, approximately 30% of the beauty-industry market shut down. Some of these stores will never open again, and new openings will likely delay for at least a year.
Industry (comprising skin care, color cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, and personal care) experienced weak first-quarter sales and there have been widespread store closures. However it has responded positively to the crisis, with brands switching their manufacturing to produce hand sanitizers and cleaning agents. They are also offering free beauty services for frontline response workers.
A return to the basics
Malls are reopening, but don’t expect to see racks filled with seasonal trends. With money tighter, retailers and consumers are loading up on evergreen basics and neutrals.
Sara Maino, deputy Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia and directora de Vogue Talents, recently stated: “We didn’t respect the planet until now and in a way this [pandemic] is a message and unfortunately it’s a very, very heavy message. Change had to be done. Everyone thought that the change would happen gradually, but that’s not the case. Change has to be done now, and done quickly” (Vogue, 2020).
The clock is going to have to be turned back on mass-production of disposable items and these trying times will unfortunately leave a lot of brands fallen at the wayside. To stay afloat, brands will need to be savvy and sustainable. This is an opportunity for the brands to rethink how they operate – whether they seize that opportunity or revert back to normal post Covid-19 is for them to decide.