For a larger part of the world, the COVID-19 crisis has been about awakened reflection and an opportunity to pursue goals differently. Compassion and kindness seems to be the new mantra that will help the world get back on track for real. The fashion industry too is trying to find its silver lining and reconnect with its lost soul. That is one thing that the whole world is looking forward to.
It is clear that the post-pandemic consumer would want to question before buying and more inclined to buy only what is really needed. Therefore, the fashion brands are also opening up their minds towards such possibilities and adopting more sustainable practices. Indian fashion industry has set some ideal benchmarks in this respect. The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) came up with a COVID-19 support fund that takes care of young designers and small businesses in need.
A student pursuing a fashion designing course in Jaipur states that most fashion houses, retailers, fashion magazines, and influencers are busy pivoting and introspecting. Some have made small shifts while there are others who were forced to change their basic business models. Everyone is busy manufacturing masks to stay afloat in these hard times. However, masks are a controversial contribution since mask is not about looks but its way of working. Your mask need not be an expression of your social stature,
Most of the fashion industry has adapted in an expected manner, they are focusing more on online operations. Even big brands like Gucci have decided to go ‘seasonless’ with just two fashion shows this year instead of five. The lockdown has put a huge question mark on the future of fashion shows henceforth the models and designers. Young artists are also anxious about how they will give required exposure to their creativity. So is the state of fashion models who are having a hard time. The only glimmer of hope is in online catwalks where brands will be showcasing their collections via online fashion shows.
A designer teaching at a fashion designing institute in Jaipur states that the fashion industry is known for its ruthless cut-throat competitive atmosphere. For years, the demand in west has driven exploitative policies in production sites in countries like Bangladesh, Thailand, and Indonesia. Even recently, the pressure from western nations forced Bangladesh to reopen 850 garment factories, endangering millions of lives. Also, the sector carries a deep burden of environmental costs. The race to mass produce shoes, bags, and clothes demands more and more resources that is hard for this planet to afford.
The ray of hope is that these hard times have forced the brands to look into the mirror and amend their ways. They are now adopting morally sound practices like recycling, sustainable production strategies, and understand the plight of workers and small designers. As humanity is coming together from all parts and segments of the world, the fashion world is also waking up to responsible, eco-friendly tactics and practices. Let’s hope this soul-searching won’t stop here and will pave the way to rethinking about the most fundamental challenges faced by underline workers of this industry.