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How COVID-19 has impacted the fashion industry

How COVID-19 has impacted the fashion industry



The fashion industry has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 on every imaginable level; production has intermittently stopped, retailers have closed, and limited freight availability has caused freight costs to be significantly higher.  On top of this, demand for certain fashion categories such as special occasion wear, luxury accessories and work attire has plummeted as everyone remains at home. 


The silver lining for the fashion industry has been an increase in new categories including face masks, as well as loungewear and activewear.  Baby and childrens clothing categories haven’t been impacted as significantly as adult fashion, as parents continue to capture precious memories of their little ones growing up in isolation and sharing with family and friends on social media.


Growing Demand for Slow Fashion

Interestingly, this unique market situation has driven a shift in consumer values, underpinned by the principles of slow fashion.  Power Retail reported that 39% of online shoppers under the age of 25 were planning to decrease their online spending. But it’s not only that people are buying less—when they do buy, they’re more interested in buying garments that won’t cause unnecessary waste and pollution. 


Building on the foundations of sustainability, consumers are far more selective with a mindset toward quality, value and sustainability.  According to Sarah Willersdorf, BCG’s partner and global head of luxury, as we come out of this pandemic, consumers will be more concerned about where fashion comes from, that it is ethically manufactured, and that it is as good as it can be for the environment,.  It’s a sharp contrast from the seasonality of fast fashion and single-use behaviour. 


Retail Stores

Many retail stores across the globe have been forced to close their doors over the last few months, whether temporarily to adhere to social distancing regulations or a permanent closure.  This has triggered reminders across media of the importance of supporting small business now more than ever. Ideas on how customers can support their favourite retail stores with ideas include:


  • Purchase gift cards which can be redeemed at a later date
  • Shop locally, but online
  • Contribute to, or start, a GoFundMe campaign for your favourite business who’s sales have been wiped out


Mental Health

Many working within fashion have also turned to the additional support services provided by organisations such as Beyond Blue, who offer coping strategies and information for business owners facing the immediate financial stress of closing down or a reduced turnover specifically due to COVID-19.


Keep up to date with Anarkid's COVID-19 updates here.



Further reading & resources


McKinsey: Emerging from COVID-19: Australians embrace their values


Fashion Revolution: The impact of COVID-19 on the people who make our clothes


Power Retail: COVID-19 and the impact on logistics


Forbes: Coronavirus will force fashion to a sustainable future

1 comment

  • Sara: September 09, 2020

    Thanks for sharing, covid has impacted so many businesses :(

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