The Covid – Effect on Fashion
Fashion experts have been warning of necessary changes in the fashion industry for years now. All parts of the system have received criticism, from design and purpose to production. But there has never really been a clear moment of change. Does the pandemic shift things for the better? What kind of perspective does the pandemic open to us?
Slow V’s Fast
We often talk about two parts of the fashion world: slow fashion and fast fashion. Fast fashion is the part of the industry with cheap and low-quality knock-offs, accompanied by stunning marketing, made by giant companies. The speed of the produced collections is hard to follow. And the waste of these low-quality clothes is unbearable for the environment. As a response, movements developed over time, praising slow fashion and conscientious choice. Where long-lasting, high-quality wardrobe staples and eternal classics are in focus in comparison with ever-changing cheap trends.
Our New Values
Crises, be personal or worldwide, always open our eyes to the true value. Beyond the important questions of health and safety, fashion and self-expression became the obvious second for many during the pandemic. Those who didn’t lose security still went through a value system change due to the mental and practical results of restrictions. This kind of shift in thinking made more people open to smart consideration, and the decision of voting with their money.
Back to Boutiques
Movements to support small, local businesses evolved, while fast-fashion giants suffered and some bankrupted. Big companies with unethical and non-transparent production are becoming less and less appealing, while small brands with more character and personal service have become highly attractive to consumers.
The controversy of this situation comes into play when we think of the countries which produce fast fashion items. Are we really in this together? It seems like we are not. Fast fashion exploits not only the earth but humans too. It looks like they never hold hands with those who help them flourish. Bangladesh for example lost most of its income from one day to the other last year, when companies stopped accepting previous orders and refused to pay. The average wage is around 90 dollars per month which a business leader making these cuts, easily spends on a New Yorker lunch. How are we in this together and what happens to third world countries relying on fashion orders? How more vulnerable can one get? And what are our responsibilities as brand owners and consumers?
What to do as a Brand
Designers and brands must create with more purpose than ever and share valuable, wise messages. For ready-to-wear collections, they are responsible to use high-quality, durable materials that stand the trials of time and set an example.
They must communicate a story and be as convenient, personal, and direct as possible. Using social media and mastering other online ways is essential for survival.
Brands must get more creative than ever. The need for comfortable business casual and loungewear items might challenge those the most, who have a different identity, while masks offer a new accessory. Try to use the situation to your benefit by adapting to the needs but keep your brand’s vision on the horizon. And of course, this is a time to try new ways to market yourself.
What to do as Consumers
As consumers, we form the industry with our needs. Each purchase is an investment in what we want to improve and evolve. We are responsible to start movements and make our wishes heard. We are responsible for the protection of the victims of the fashion industry. We must vote with our money, and choose brands that design high-quality clothes made ethically while offering transparency. We must force big companies to listen, and change their old, harmful business models. These needs include the quality of the material, as it should be long-lasting. We should also consider how the material was made. We should opt for bio-cotton, Tencel, and other sustainable ways. We must know, by whom and how the garment was produced and sewn, and under what working conditions this person served us.
Perspective for the Future
The solutions of locally and ethically made clothing might suggest that we completely let down countries that rely on western vanity. The final goal should be instead that those giant companies using these services would finally invest back to the very source of their systems, by building new, safe factories and providing decent minimum wages to their hard-working people. While this idea seems like a fairy tale, not detailing the actual chain and complications, we must remember our power as a whole. We must be less vanity-oriented, and more humane-focused to reach a change in fast fashion leaders’ big decisions. In a few years, there should be no other fashion, but slow fashion.