2020 saw many business changes and the fashion industry was no exception. During the pandemic there has been a shift in consumer behaviour as many have limited their clothing expenditure. This stance has arisen for a number of reasons. Individuals no longer feel the need to buy clothes with nowhere to wear then. With many seeing their income decrease throughout the pandemic, buying clothes has not been high on individual’s priorities. Not only are consumers cutting back on clothes shopping but when they do shop they are becoming much more selective. Customers now, more than ever are expecting more form brands in terms of creating more sustainable garments.
A successful fashion brand today is not measured solely on sales and profits but also how responsible and sustainable they are as a brand. Fashion brands are under much scrutiny to not only talk about what they are doing to be more sustainable but to more importantly prove it. With many brands leading the way, having developed responsible and conscious collections and making changes to their brand to reduce their impact on the environment, this year we will see more brands adopting the same stance. However, a one-off collection dedicated to sustainability will not be enough to prove that they are a sustainable brand. They will need to show that they are an ethical and fair brand in its entirety in order to stay relevant. Existing brands will have to compete with new and upcoming brands that already have sustainability at the heart of their clothing.
With the closure of numerous stores during the pandemic we have sadly seen many big names and smaller independent brands forced to permanently close their doors. Others have moved their business online to continue to reach their audience. This year we are likely to see even more fashion businesses make use of online platforms to market their brand. With that being said, the pandemic has brought about a greater appreciation for local communities. More than ever consumers are shopping locally and supporting smaller businesses in order to help them stay open. This has encouraged shoppers to source clothing from small boutiques closer to home. The support of local stores is likely to stay strong throughout 2021 as individuals have seen the importance of supporting their local community.
With many of us being forced to stay at home, there has been an increase in re-wearing outfits. Our ‘work-from-home’ uniform consists of a selection of comfortable clothes on rotation. This does make us more likely to resist excessive purchasing. With little to no change of location and no occasions to dress for, individuals are reaching for similar outfits everyday. With that being said some individuals are perhaps buying more clothes as they have more time to scroll through fashion sites. There has been an increase in sales in niche areas of the fashion industry including loungewear and activewear as this seems to be the most popular choice of lockdown outfits.
The pandemic has impacted the fashion industry in a variety of ways. Hopefully what we can take from these changes is to be selective with our clothes purchasing, buying responsibly and researching into a Brand’s sustainability. We are also able to appreciate local brands and continue to support small businesses whilst being mindful of not making unnecessary purchases.
By Taylor- Ann Vaughan