Because of the pandemic, the fashion industry has suffered major losses. Italy was one of the first countries to experience massive complications with the pandemic, which unfortunately resulted in a lot of casualties. The country has been in lockdown for months and as the lockdown eases, businesses are starting to reopen, however, the demand for fashion products is not as high as it was before the pandemic. This leads to the question: What is the future of Italy’s fashion industry? The Italian fashion industry is worth 165 billion euros and it constitutes more than 40 % of the world’s luxury fashion production takes place in Italy.
While larger brands such as Versace and Armani will face difficulty, one does not have to fear for their potential disappearance. This is not the case for smaller businesses like Pino Grasso Ricami who create intricate fabrics for large brands like Armani, Prada and Etro. In Italy, large brands are closely connected to smaller businesses specialised in the production of certain fabrics, leathers, etc. These businesses have reopened as well, however they lack orders which is quite worrisome. Furthermore, while the businesses succeeded in reopening this time, one has to note how it was much more difficult for the small ones to do so than it was for the larger ones. Therefore, if a second wave hits Europe and one has to go into lockdown again, it is highly debatable whether these businesses would be able to reopen once again.
This could potentially mean that the “made in Italy” mark could become less frequent in luxury goods, if the government or larger businesses do not help out in a monetary manner as soon as possible. Assuming there to be no second wave of COVID-19, it has to be seen whether the wants of consumers have changed. Perhaps consumers will move towards demanding impeccable quality so that their products could last longer or towards a dislike for frequent trends as they are not sustainable and seem quite superficial after the effects of this crisis.
One has no way of knowing how the trauma from COVID-19 will affect the market exactly, however one can assume and speculate that most consumers will shop less and when they do, they will most likely be interested in classic pieces whose quality is impeccable. This could mean a shift towards clothes being made mainly from sustainable materials such as cotton. The result of this being a decrease in use of polyester in fashion, which would be better for us as consumers as polyester clothing is of worse quality than cotton clothing, and for the planet as we would be using less plastic, which pollutes the seas and takes up space in landfills. All in all, while it is quite reasonable to assume that Italian producers will have many difficulties, if they receive support soon they will endure, and prosper in a most likely new fashion atmosphere where sustainability and quality come before trends.
By Sara Dozai