Industry News: How the Pandemic is Shaping the Future of Fashion

Arturo Rey

The COVID 19 pandemic has introduced many changes to our everyday lives. From the way we communicate to the way we greet, what we eat, and how we shop. It’s apparent that very few industries have survived the effects of the pandemic unscathed. The fashion industry, in particular, has undergone a rapid transformation that may impact the way that we consume and interact with clothes for years to come.

Here are the three major trends that have developed mid-pandemic, and will arguably become part of
the fashion industry’s new normal in the future:

ONLINE SHOPPING

Although online shopping has been around for years, owing to government-enforced lockdown, online sales have surged. Over the past few months, consumers have become accustomed to shopping online and in many cases have grown to prefer online shopping. This new phenomenon has forced well-known brands, who have tried to hold on to traditional retail methods, to adopt e-commerce strategies that will ensure that their products will be accessible at all times without interruptions.

An example of this shift is Chanel – a brand built on traditional French heritage and luxury. The celebrated fashion house has avoided entering the e-commerce market for years, but a recent message on their
website’s home page might be an indication that the luxury label is finally moving in a more digital direction. The message on the Chanel.com website reads: “To offer you even more services, our site is temporarily down for maintenance.”

With many popular brick and mortar stores closing down each month, it has become imperative for the fashion industry to adopt digital retail strategies that will give the consumer a memorable experience online that is comparable to that that they would receive in-store.

CONTENT CREATOR MODELS

As soon as the global lockdown hit, most photoshoots and commercials were put on hold or suspended indefinitely, forcing brands to come up with creative new ways to advertise their upcoming collections. During this time we saw brands opting to work with influencers and traditional models who were able to create content on their own. As a result agencies such as Boss Models and 20 Model Management have both created content creator model divisions, which allow brands to book individuals who are able to style, shoot, and model in order to produce magazine editorials as well as digital campaigns.

As lockdown rules loosen, it is expected that the modelling industry will go back to normal. However, the pandemic is giving brands the opportunity to see that it is far more cost-effective to hire hybrid-models and influencers, so as a result there may be a redefinition of what it is to be a model in the future.

HEALTH AND SAFETY-LED DESIGN

Arguably, the most obvious change to the fashion industry has been the incorporation of health and
safety-led designs. Face masks, visors, sweat pants, and loungewear have all become the ‘hero’
fashion items of the pandemic. But will these items continue to take centre-stage post-pandemic?
Trend forecasters seem to think so and are confident that the face mask, in particular, will move from being an essential item to a trend item, and will continue to feature in many people’s wardrobes long after the pandemic comes to an end.

To shop face masks from the AFI Boutique