How Coronavirus is Impacting the Fashion Industry



A lot has happened since the February fashion month, including more than 42% of Americans being under orders to stay at home. With social distancing and self-quarantine measures happening worldwide to help slow down the spread of coronavirus, the fashion industry is taking a hit.

Retail Spending is Down, For Most

COVID-19 is not helping most retailers, although stores that specialize in clothing only are likely to lose more than grocery stores and hypermarkets. Stores like Nike and Abercrombie & Fitch are shutting down stores temporarily, which not only puts the businesses at risk but also puts many employees out of a job.

Meanwhile, those stores that sell essentials, such as food and household items, are seeing an increase in shoppers. The long lineups at Walmart and Costco are in stark contrast to the layoffs at clothing stores.

The difference is that the stores selling the items people need are booming while those that stock non-essentials, such as clothing and home decor, are seeing fewer sales than pre-coronavirus.

Making Conscious Choices

With more time at home, people are spending longer than usual, deciding how to spend their money and improve their lifestyles. Rather than being go, go, go, many people can slow down and analyze their habits while being indoors, looking at methods of self-improvement and personal goals.

For example, you might use the extra time to look at how to invest your savings in ways you haven’t done before. Or maybe you’ve been meaning to try vaping and now you have the time to taste the different eliquid flavors.

You might decide to step up your fitness routine too now that gyms are closed. While it can be easy to fall into a lifestyle of watching Netflix while indoors, home workouts help keep the body and mind active.

Job Loss Means Less Money to Spend

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put many people out of work, not only in the fashion industry but also in the restaurant sector, educational fields, and more. The US Private Sector Job Quality Index estimates about 37 million jobs within America are at risk of layoffs because of the pandemic.

The result of rising unemployment is, of course, that people hold their wallets a little closer to them. In other words, they will cut back on monthly non-essentials, such as new shirts, pants, dresses, and other garments.

After all, why dress up in new threads if you have nowhere to go and no one to see?

Fashion Event Cancellations

Another way the fashion industry is being affected by coronavirus is that many luxury designers are canceling their shows. Chanel opted not to show its 2020/21 cruise show in Capri that was supposed to happen on May 7th, for example.

The decision was made in the interests of health for both teams and guests, as they explained in a recent statement. They also described how they are pursuing other ways to present the collection in Capri later in another way.

Other brands that have cancelled fashion events recently in response to health officials’ guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus are Dior, Max Mara, Versace, and Giorgio Armani. There have been numerous fashion week cancelations and postponements too, including the 2020 Met Gala originally slated for May 4th.

Virtual Events Move Forward

On a positive note, some fashion industry fans and insiders are moving forward with virtual events in place of the traditional in-person ones. The online activities follow social distancing recommendations and imposed travel restrictions, all while still supporting a love of style.

A new approach to fashion is one that uses technology as a tool. Recently eight designers based in China who were invited to Paris Fashion Week used tech to present their designs when they could not travel to the location because of coronavirus-related travel limitations. Each video featured a designer displaying their own work and talking about it.

This type of presentation is one that people are likely to use more during times when in-person shows can’t happen, whether it’s because of a health crisis or for another reason. In addition to sharing recorded videos, the use of slideshows and live streams, as well as Instagram, provide ways to share and participate in fashion events.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are also ways the fashion industry can use tech. That way, showcases can continue to inspire people and also provide some pleasure amidst a troubling time.

Final Words on Fashion and Coronavirus

A lot is happening in a short amount of time and the bad moments seem to come with good ones too. While many clothing retailers are suffering amidst COVID-19, grocery stores and hypermarkets are seeing a boom in shoppers. Amid cancellations of fashion shows, virtual events are allowing designers to continue to celebrate their creativity with fans online. Ultimately, the fashion industry will change, and technology will be vital in transitioning successfully.