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Coronavirus And The Fashion Industry

Coronavirus And The Fashion Industry

How the fashion industry is coping amid Coronavirus outbreak fears.  With all public gatherings being cancelled and the need for sustainability being overshadowed by the world crisis.  Will the fashion industry be able to cope with the ever growing pressures to keep on top of their game as well as on top of the rules being implemented by the government.  Read on to find out just how this epidemic has impacted the fashion world.

 

Outside Christian Dior's Fall 2020 Ready-to-Wear runway show in Paris, February 25, 2020.Laura Stevens / Getty Images

Milan

With the COVID – 19 virus hitting Italy just as Milan fashion week ended, there was an obvious change in the air. Usually alive with an aura of excitement, fun, and suspense with never knowing who may appear during these highly anticipated catwalk events.  The feeling was very different. Shows were cancelled and seats were empty. Armani announced on the 22nd of February that the fall 2020 collection which was meant to be presented via public runway show, would be cancelled. Instead the entire collection and show was recorded in an empty theatre and later posted on the brands website and social media platforms for all to see.  The brand has also closed its offices in Northern Italy for the next week.  

 

Paris

It was also Paris where a vast amount of awareness of the ever growing fears amid the Coronavirus outbreak could be seen and felt.  Although there were a few moments that would have had the world talking about the actual event rather than the fear surrounding the current world epidemic. For example there was a surprise appearance from Kanye West, as well as Stella McCartney and Thom Browne creating upbeat moments.  For a minute, those who actually took a leap of faith and attended the event, forgot about the presence of the virus.

 

The impact of the coronavirus was clear during Milan Fashion Week. MATTEO BAZZI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Tokyo

Tokyo has been hit the hardest with the entire show being cancelled.  As the countries government scrambles to try and contain the outbreak the biggest fashion gathering in the country has been cancelled.  With Tokyo being the 5th biggest fashion week in the world this will be a missed opportunity for many designers, brands and fashion houses, the chance to get their collections seen by another well attended country outside of the “big four”.  The “big four” being London, Paris, Milan and New York. While the “big four” are the shows that most fashion houses want their collections to be featured on, the chance to gain potential major clients in another part of the world is always an amazing opportunity for any fashion house or brand.  However, this year it is an opportunity which will have to be passed on and one that many will miss out on due to this unforeseen epidemic.

 

Cruise Season?

Now, this has to be the biggest affected season of all. This line of fashion is an inter-season or pre-season line of ready-to-wear clothing originally aimed at the wealthy jet setters of the world. Nowadays it is those who are finished selecting their fall wardrobes and are now looking ahead at vacations who attend such events. “Cruise” Season or “Resort” Season is one of the most lucrative events held.  It’s a big deal within the Fashion Industry. It brings together a plethora of influencers, editors and major clients to locations all over the world. Held in the early Spring, these shows may be less directional than the traditional “on season” shows, but it’s a chance for brands and fashion houses to have their collections seen by people all over the world, it takes their collections to a broader audience outside of the four fashion capitals. It’s also an extremely important time for brand-building moments.  It remains to be seen just how badly affected this season will be. The way shows are presented, created and catered to are all up for discussion at the moment. Changes are being made to try and keep the fashion industry as prestigious, exciting and jaw droppingly extravagant as it’s always been. There has been a vast amount of cancellations to this event already, with fashion power houses such as Gucci, which had planned to show their collection in San Francisco in May; Burberry, which had scheduled an April show in Shanghai; and Prada, which planned a resort show in Tokyo, Japan in late May all deciding to pull out in order to protect their staff from the virus which seems to be dominating every news outlet, conversation and publication around the world.  The fashion industry is just one of many industries which is being overshadowed by the growing epidemic.

Epic Moment's Overlooked Amid The Epidemic

It’s a shame that so many moments were overlooked, or lost amongst the ever growing concern over the spread of the virus. There were many topical issues that, before this dreadful epidemic, were real talking points within the fashion world.  That of sustainability and of animal rights which were once spoken about so loudly and proudly dulled to a mere murmur.  

Stella McCartney put on a fantastic show with animal activists dressed up as cute, plush, stuffed animal like costumes, and models dawning the new vegan line of leather outerwear.  It was a happy, upbeat finale which made everyone smile.  

There was also Thom Browne’s show as mentioned above who also put a smile on everyone’s face.  With music from Stella’s father during his time in “The Beatles” – Here Comes The Sun was the soundtrack of choice which raised everyone’s mood in an otherwise anxiety filled time for many.  

There was also very little talk of recognition to the announcement that Alexandre de Betak, whose firm Bureau Betak which produces shows including Isabel Marant and Nina Ricci, received certification from the Swiss International Organization for Standardization for sustainable event management. Betak has vowed to reduce his shows carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2021.  He plans on doing this through a variety of ways in order to help save our planet from pollution. This includes asking clients to sign a purchasing charter to buy “environmentally and socially conscious products” and services as part of his certification.

And there is also the issue of diversity which is always a topic of conversation during fashion week.  The need for models with more realistic body types is always something which is close to mind during any catwalk show.  Paris has always been one to hold back when it comes to diversity, the reason for this is unclear. However there was a real effort made by all with Chanel featuring real-bodied models during their presentation and Miu Miu included several black models within their show.  Maybe the inclusion of black models comes after Miu Miu’s sister company Prada came under fire only a year ago for selling monkey charms which evoked a black face, the outrage formed a diversity council who stepped in to address the issue. Some delved a little deeper into the world of diversity.  

Thom Browne again wowed crowds with his Noah’s Ark inspired presentation which saw pairs, one male and one female both dressed the same in his signature playful, surreal tailoring.  Each male, female pairing were dressed identically some wore trousers some wore skirts. His show served as an observation of acceptance for a person’s right to dress how they want regardless of gender.  It was an amazing awe inspiring show which has been a firm favourite for many attending fashion week in Paris.

Stella McCartney, Autumn/Winter 2020. © Jamie Stoker

Will the future of fashion be affected??

Will the future of fashion be affected??  Well, that is a question being asked by many.  The future of fashion shows is certainly one aspect of the fashion industry which may take a drastic hit.  The way shows are presented will most definitely change in the future. Given that some big shows still went on and were successful without the need for a big crowd.  Such as Georgio Armarni, his show was live streamed from an empty theatre and later posted via the brands website and social media. I mentioned a little bit about this above.  Now we are going to look into presenting shows this way a little deeper. The excitement of the catwalk show was still felt throughout this show. Maybe not by those who were not watching live, but it was still an exhilarating experience for those who were able to experience the show as it was happening.  That feeling of never really knowing what’s going to happen next, what celeb may make an appearance via the catwalk, or what big look may be strutting down the runway. This world wide epidemic may force designer’s to rethink whether they do actually need big shows in order for their collections to sell and be seen.  Undoubtedly there will always be fashion houses who will want their vision to be played out on the catwalk, such as Balenciaga’s powerful apocalyptic submersion and Marc Jacobs’s joyful spectacle with Karole Armitage, which all demonstrate there’s still something to be gained from attending and presenting collections via a runway show.  

It’s not only the shows themselves or even the designers who are being affected by the COVID – 19 Virus.  China is the biggest supplier and producer of garments in the world. With factories shut and supply chains following suit what does this mean for the industry? Well, for the rest of the fashion industry the impact of the Coronavirus may just getting started.  High street fashion retailers worry that demand may overtake supply. Those such as wholesalers of high street fashion, sportswear brands and supermarket school uniform ranges are concerned that orders will not be fulfilled in time to meet shop-floor demand.

The figures for the first quarter of the year are not looking good either. With companies such as Under Armour Inc for example predicting a potential loss of 50 to 60 million.  Almost all luxury fashion brands have had a drastic decrease in sales. In a week where stock shares were at their lowest since the 2008 recession, fashion has been hit hard and is set to be playing catch up for the rest of the year in order to get their finances back on track. 

So, to answer the opening question.  This means that fashion will still be a big event within the yearly calendar.  But, it may not look like the fashion weeks we have come to know and love. It remains to be seen whether the financial loss that some fashion houses face will be the proverbial “straw that broke the camels back” after such an upheaval never before seen within such an otherwise financially superior industry.

One thing that is for sure.  This is the beginning of the change.  This epidemic will change the face of fashion in some shape or form.  

We CAN Still Look Fabulous While We Face This Anxious Time

Okay okay.  This article has gone very serious.  This is not our normal fun filled tone.  While we do want to bring the real, hard hitting stories surrounding the beauty and fashion industry as well as world wide headlines that just cannot be ignored, we do not want our readers hitting a severe anxiety filled panic attack.   So, we are going  to skip the serious, impeding doom filled news for just a moment. Lets forget our troubles, well, when we say forget we mean forget that we have to look drab and have a look at the hottest accessory to hit the runway during a few of the big four’s fashion weeks.  What can it be?? We hear you cry in suspense.  Well here it is!!!! Yep, you guessed it!! The luxury fashion mask!!  Our fabulous fashion houses did not disappoint when it came to taking care of their models health and making sure they looked freakin amazing at the same time.  Here a few pics of our new trend setting fashion accessory.  

It’s not just celebs, models and fashion designer’s that can take part in the newest trend.  With stores up and down the high street stocking up and taking advantage of the unlikely fashion accessory soon you too can look as fab, glam and fashionable all the while keeping yourself protected from the dreaded virus.

We hope that everyone is looking after themselves and keeping an eye on those who may not be as healthy as they once were.  It is a worrying time for everyone and although we do want to try our best to keep our blog lighthearted and fun.  We also want our community to know that this virus is not something to be looked at flippantly.

Take care, be educated, self isolate and be disciplined about it.   

You may not be severely affected if you do in fact become infected, but, you could pass it on to someone who could easily die from being infected. 

Be kind.  Love, Live, Slay.

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