by Zinam Klaas
The fashion industry is a $1.2 trillion global industry, with more than $250 billion spent annually in the United States alone. This is according to several industry analysts. Fashion and apparel industries employ 1.9 million people in the United States and have a positive impact on regional economies across the country.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a huge impact on almost every industry, whether it be essential health services or non-essential businesses. The fashion industry has unfortunately also been affected by this global pandemic.
The fashion industry is the heart of creative anatomy and one of the key contributors to
the economy. As mentioned above, this industry employs 1.9 million people in the United
States alone and a decline in this industry would see the global economy deteriorating
immensely. With thousands of jobs being lost by artists, designers, seamstresses and
anyone else who contributes to the making of a single garment.
Creatives in the industry have had to find innovative ways to continue to show their
masterpieces and bring a positive light on all the negativity the world has faced. In Europe,
the London-based designer, Steven Tai has had to endure not one but two lockdown periods.
Firstly, at the birthplace of the virus. Many of the employees who operated the machines of
Tai’s factories were unable to work and therefore forced all operations to be put on hold. Despite these challenges, Tai was still able to showcase his work at Paris Fashion Week, with
only two seamstresses at hand.
He now faces yet another lockdown period in London but he has found other methods to reach his buyers. The innovative designer has taken advantage of advanced technology to create a virtual look book that uses a single rotating model. This gives buyers the ability to view the collection from a 360-degree angle whilst still being in the safety of their homes. The result? Nearly half of Tai’s orders were retrieved from his virtual look book which shows the power of technology and social media.
To still feel essential during a pandemic of only ‘essential workers’, influencers and fashion-
focussed celebrities have initiated new ways to contribute. For example, two stylists Anna Rosa Vitiello and Bettina Looney have cleared out their wardrobes in exchange for donations to Doctors Without Borders and Help Them Help Us charities. By using their platform, they
wanted to interact with their followers in a fun yet helpful way; to raise funds for these
By combining their two loves; fashion and humanitarian work, they were still able
to keep to the strict lockdown rules. These two phenomenal women did not make this
initiative a one-hit-wonder but rather a venture that is hosted every Monday. Each Monday
comes with a new and exciting batch of clothes to be sold. Recently they have been partnering with small brands to the mix up with items they already own. The people seem to love it, so why stop?
As many runway shows have been cancelled, many creatives have said: “the show must go
on!”. This was seen at the Shanghai Fashion Week which began on the 24 March and was
held on a digital platform. Designers were still able to show their months of hard work and dedication through social media channels and websites. These live streaming websites served as the runway for over 150 designers for the next few days. Audiences were allowed to purchase items using their phones straight from the virtual runway. Designers also had the choice to photograph their designs and share their inspirations with viewers in real-time. After attracting 2.5 million views on the first day alone, the end of the fashion week only screams a huge success, with over 11 million streams and $2,82 million earned.
With social media being such a big platform for creators to share their work with other creatives, on the night of 22 May, many mouths were uttering the name Anifa Mvuemba. This Congolese designer set the fashion industry on a whole new revolutionary level by hosting the first-ever virtual fashion show without any models. The founder of Hanifa showcased her collection, Pink Label Congo, in response to the uncertainty of the pandemic. She, like many other designers, insists that the show must go on but her unique take on this gave many a taste of ground-breaking display of what could happen to fashion in the near future.
The post Covid-19 world will will mean a completely new era for fashion in all aspects. The designs, the trends to come and the manner in which larger events like “Fashion Week” take place will likely all change.
Lastly and most importantly, this is an insight into how brands have adapted during the crisis
and how it will affect them in the future. However, as we continue to be uncertain on the
events to come, the fashion industry continues to use futuristic approaches to keep its
audience wanting more.