COVID-19 claims its unwanted spot in the world. It makes us stop for a minute and think of our lives on a personal and professional level. The latter is of relevance for iNDiViDUALS STUDIO. What will happen to the economy? In particular the fashion industry. Is this the resit we have been waiting for all along? Finally, a groundbreaking change on several levels? It all depends on how the industry copes with COVID-19 right now and, more importantly, afterwards.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting and damaging industries. It is struggling with evolving in order to be enduring. We cannot enjoy fashion the way we have been doing for the past ten years or so. However, it has not been standing still. Professionals have been pushing to evolve for a long time, but no great change has occurred. A great change is what the industry needs, up till now, it is not changing fast enough.
COVID-19 disrupts the normal course of events and forces this change. Certainly, not in the way most of us would like to see. Stores and headquarters are shutting down. Employees are forced to work from home, even when it seems nearly impossible to fully carry out your work this way. We are forced to get creative, and to make it work. Therefore, the industry is adjusting. Events are cancelled, travelling has been brought to a halt and we have never been so dependent on the internet. Fashion brands are being pushed to the limit. They have to act quickly in order to survive.
Langer D, Jing Daily (2020) How Luxury Brands Can Win During a Crisis. Available from https://jingdaily.com/how-luxury-brands-can-win-during-a-crisis/ (accessed 17 March 2020).
THE POSITIVE EFFECTS
The media have been focusing mainly on the negative effects of COVID-19. The negative effects are clearly visible and should by no means be underestimated. Nevertheless, it is of importance to broaden our perspective and also look at the positive results. Here are two examples of positive outcomes we should reconsider after the crisis.
The good thing is that we are going to consume less. We see a decrease in consumption as a clear effect of COVID-19. Many stores are currently closing. This means financially uncertain times, and could result in people losing their jobs. Uncertainty is tough for companies and its employees, but less consumption is eventually where we would like to see the industry going in the future. Consuming less is essential for a durable industry.
Another positive effect is less emissions. We have seen an increase of large-scale and extravagant fashion shows in exotic locations over the recent years. The fashion shows are part of the problem. They bring airplanes full of influencers, journalists and more, often from all parts of the world. Fashion shows are all cancelled or postponed, which is immediately rewarded by mother nature.
HOW IS i28 COPING?
i28, like any other business, is struggling with the consequences of COVID-19. We are trying to learn and look at it from a positive perspective, despite the limitations that have come up.
Our communication shifted to online channels and any prior made decisions need adjusting. We now face working apart together, making communication a key focus in our process. These series of unfortunate events will allow us to be the most unexpected group of iNDiViDUALS yet. We have the unique opportunity to dive into the unimagined scenarios. What is it like to go fully digital? Can we shift away from the common way of producing clothes? Should we focus on localism?
We are ready for the unknown.
O’Connor T, Business of Fashion (2020) Does the Fashion Industry Need to Travel as Much as It Does?. Available from https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/professional/does-the-fashion-industry-need-to-travel-as-much-as-it-does (accessed 17 March 2020).
DATE: Friday the 3rd of April, 2020
CREDITS: Text: Nicky Eering, Anila Hasani Edit: Nicky Eering, Anila Hasani