Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, many businesses either slowed down or failed to keep the lights on. Malls and departmental stores covering areas beyond a million square foot were abandoned and shut down. A few retail and discount trademarks prevailed, but other than that the significance of physical stores sharply declined. Given that the majority of employees were working from home and avoiding outdoor recreation, the scenario more or less declared that fashion was dead. Sweat pants and tees became the universal attire for at least the whole of 2020. People were naturally inclined towards comfort rather than looking glamorous; after all, their usual was sitting across a computer screen all day and getting food delivered to their doorstep.
Even though fashion outlets on the streets had been downsized, online retailers continued to thrive. Fashion designers did not decide to retire and hibernate, but simply embraced the online shopping trend. The fashion industry somehow managed to remain the frontrunner among online sales, and giant platforms like Amazon earned more than ever. The digital revolution started way before the emergence of coronavirus, so we cannot entirely blame it for the tragic fate of businesses worldwide; nevertheless, it is safe to say that the pandemic gave a big nudge and sped up the movement. A decade ago, online shopping hardly accounted for 2% of nationwide sales, but today it has reached a whopping 50%.
The elimination of physical stores certainly cut down available jobs and heightened unemployment. Startups and enterprises from all kinds of industries became broke and filed bankruptcy; as a result, an infinite number of employees were depending upon worker’s compensation insurance. Truth be told, luxury fashion brands were not prepared for the challenges of an epidemic of this scale. When orders for a countrywide lockdown drove everyone into isolation, operations at every level of the industry were put on hold. Manufacturing came to a halt, sale points got removed, and deliveries were automatically delayed.
Clothing lines and other fashion collections could not be released on due time, which narrowed the time frame for selling products on the actual price before the time for holiday/end of the year discounts arrived. Several fashion designers decided to skip Black Friday and Christmas sales in order to make up for their financial losses. Sadly, this was not a wise move because vendors who chose to deliver the cuts rate despite everything obviously flourished. Apparently, the fashion market became more competitive since the surge of COVID-19. Brands that left out promotions made a place for themselves on the losing team.
Things gradually came back to normal after the first vaccine for COVID-19 was announced near the end of 2020. Despite the convenience of e-commerce platforms, people could not stay locked up in their homes forever. Weddings and other public events were being rescheduled with a smaller audience, so the demand for fashion returned. The public was not going to give up getting together with loved ones for the holidays, hence preparations and gift shopping forced them out of their homes. The Fashion industry undoubtedly did experience some dark times last year, but it didn’t die; the fate of different contenders provides us a good example of ‘survival of the fittest’. The priorities of the consumers shift every now and then (regardless of the pandemic); business owners who think out of the box and adapt quickly stay in the running.
John Adams is a lifestyle blogger who creates content focused on food and fashion. He believes that wholesome cuisines and stylish dressing are the secrets to a happy life. He cannot stress enough that looking good translates to feeling good. John is rather adventurous for his love for food, always eager to try exotic dishes in strange places and then recreate them (with a twist) at home.