Fashion’s Inevitability to Change

Ruby McAuliffe
Author-Ruby-McAuliffe-on-Fashion's-Inevitability-to-Change

How COVID-19 will affect the world of runways, production and consumerism.

Featured Photo by @Karina Tess on Unsplash

When the world was put on hold, so were the very elements that made up our everyday lives. These elements include eateries, universities, churches and places of work. But the art world also came to an abrupt halt putting a tentative stop on movie releases, theatre productions, museums and fashion.

Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash

The world noticed the quick and sudden changes, but as a woman who finds joy in creating the perfect outfit ensemble, I specifically honed in on the pause of fashion. I began to wonder what fashion would look like post COVID-19. Will we stick to loungewear and ditch our jeans for good? Will consumerism begin to fall? Will we place higher importance on the need for an eco-friendly shift?

With each day looking dramatically different than the last, nothing is certain. But like we are individually evolving through this pandemic, so is the world of fashion.

Slowing Down

If this time of isolation has taught us anything, it’s that we were in a fast-paced spiral that only accelerated with each passing day. Now, alone with our thoughts and a simpler life, we are slowing down and trying to find joy in the stillness.

This new form of leisure may just be what the fashion world needed. Fashion was constantly ahead of itself projecting show dates and clothing lines months in advance. And with fast fashion ever growing, a solution seemed distant and unattainable.

A forced stop now provides fashion empires the opportunity to change its models and readjust to a slower cycle of production. This can lead to benefits in the fight for ethical and sustainable fashion. If this is what comes next, we may just see global change within the textile world.  

An Eco-friendly Shift: Fashion’s Inevitability to Change

While we’ve been indoors, the world outside has been changing for the better. 

According to a recent BBC video, carbon dioxide emissions are down five to 10 percent in New York and 25 percent in China. Coal usage across the board has also drastically dropped and northern Italy has seen their nitrogen dioxide emissions fading away. 

Although, these positive changes can almost instantly disappear once we go back to our old habits.  

Fashion is not exempt from the narrative, as the industry is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. This is sure to spike up once we go back to our typical buying habits. But with such progressive possibilities ahead, the fashion world may just side with the environment.

While choosing sustainability requires major change, there’s never been a better time. Our lives have been uprooted, and all of the rules of the past have already begun to fall away. A Forbes article discusses this as “an opportunity to redefine business models and build a more sustainable, progressive future.”

Virtual Shopping and Shows: Fashion’s Inevitability to Change

With internet usage surging between 50 and 70 percent, technological creativity has made its mark.

According to Glossy, stores such as Dior, Ulta, Tommy Hilfiger, Farfetch and Levi’s have begun implementing VR technology into their shopping experiences. Virtual assistants and consultations are being utilized as well.

Virtual fashion shows are also becoming the new normal. The British Fashion Council plans to create an exclusively digital fashion week for designers, according to the New York Times. Ermenegildo Zegna, the creator of the Italian luxury fashion house, has even given this digital movement a name: “phygital.” According to the same New York Times article, the word combines “physical space and digital technologies.”  

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With these new modes of purchasing and showcasing fashion, we have barely begun to discover the merge of textiles and technology. These concepts may integrate themselves into the future and stay for good.  

Photo by Highlight ID on Unsplash

Giving Back 

While a juxtaposition, these lonely times have been filled with unity and partnership. This has been embodied by delivering groceries to those who can’t go out themselves, dialing in an extra call, flashing a smile and saying a simple but grateful thank you. 

Some brands have cultivated that same care. According to Elle, Puma has donated over 25,000 garments to healthcare workers, Old Navy has given over $30 million of clothing to those who need it most and Kate Spade New York Foundation “will be donating $100,000 to their partner Crisis Text Line.”

Fashion is no longer solely about production and sales but the humanity behind the labels. This new outlook has the potential to become a staple element of the fashion world, as we are now valuing one another through a new lens.

It is impossible to know exactly what fashion will resemble post COVID-19. But one thing is certain –– it will need to adapt. To progress forward, change is inevitable. In a recent Vogue article, Marc Jacobs said, “I hope that the system, which has to change as a result of all of this, will allow us to define what we do in a new way, in a different way, to express it in another way. To show it, to make it, to produce it, to distribute it, to communicate it: All of that will have to change.”

Read more about shift in fashion and perspective here.

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