As the world faces a global health crisis in unified isolation, many people had been hit by the reality that a lot of us are financially burdened. In this time, when healthcare is the most important thing to prioritize, buying clothes and some other fashion pieces for our wardrobe suddenly feels like a distant dream.
Before the pandemic even happened, there were already so many issues the fashion industry has been dealing with. An article I’ve read from One Army says that the fashion industry has been facing several backlashes because of the problems it created for nature and consumers.
Here are some of the pre-pandemic problems the industry has faced:
Countless production of clothing is one of the issues the fashion industry has been trying to solve for the past several years. The fast fashion & business trend cycle causes a fast over-production turnaround, and it adds more to global waste. Overproduction doesn’t just overwhelm the consumers on what to purchase, but, it also has terrible effects on our environment.
2. COMPULSIVE BUYING
In this fast-trend fashion industry, just imagine how many collections are coming out in markets and stores every year? For major fashion brands who always come out with ideas on the next trends season after season, their consumers are also daring when it comes to spending so much money in this scenario.
In a nutshell: The reason why consumers buy new clothes is not that their clothes are damaged. In contrast, they buy for their wardrobe because the industry makes them feel that what they put on their backs is already old-fashioned.
3. ANIMAL CRUELTY
There’s a movement that started online this year: the “Save Ralph” movement founded by the Humane International Society (HIS). The movement talks about the animals being used as chemical-poisoning testers for cosmetics formulation. If we think about it, cosmetic products are still part of fashion.
Aside from Ralph, who is depicted as a rabbit in the viral video, there are other animals that are still being utilized for fashion, like crocodiles, pigs, and bears.
The skin of these animals are torn to make fur jackets, trenchcoats, leather bags, and shoes.
According to Born Free USA, there are over 50 million animals that are being killed every year just for the sake of fashion.
The mentioned issues above are just one of the problems that the fashion industry is still trying to resolve even up to now.
As they try their best to handle these issues, the fashion industry is yet again facing a new problem, and it’s more threatening, challenging, and above all, it’s bigger.
4. THE PANDEMIC
When the pandemic started last 2020, there were already physical stores and fashion boutiques that went closed, workers had been laid off, and some major brands were filing for bankruptcies.
This unfolding situation constantly affected the industry and fashion entities are being challenged to move forward through digital reliance.
These are things that helped the fashion industry to evolve:
Because of this global pandemic, digital sales and online fashion shops have skyrocketed.
Authorities ordered people to stay at home. Shopping inside a physical store became impossible and risky. During the height of this pandemic, electronic commerce became more accelerated.
Here in the Philippines, the pandemic also became an opportunity for some business-minded people to level up their passion for fashion.
Many launched their online clothing shops, like the Pinoy teenagers we featured before.
DIGITAL FASHION SHOW
When the pandemic came in, the future of the fashion calendar also became uncertain. It challenged some designers to rethink and go outside the box.
I’ve watched some great designers across the world showcase their craft on Youtube since the beginning of this pandemic.
Examples of these designers include Giorgio Armani, who featured his Summer and Spring collection of 2021 in a digital show. Moreover, Prada introduced their Spring and Summer line for 2021 in the same medium, as well.
See how the world of fashion tried to evolve during the height of this pandemic? With all the past issues that challenged the whole industry, this pandemic might be the wake-up call to all who are part of the fashion business.
In this moment of hibernation, while the world heals, it is also a moment to reflect, rethink, and reinvent.
Through the use of advanced technology, the world of fashion began to evolve and online sales suddenly came in. Since most of the time we’re staying at home, clothing brands focused more on selling loungewear and house dresses.
At the end of this global health crisis, I hope that everyone will know that our way of production and consumption reflects our values. The way we choose things is the way we prepare for the future. Fashion can still be fashion. But right now, it’s important to know our priorities as consumers. And to the people behind the fashion industry, it is time to re-assess the things that went wrong in the past. Hence, it might be easy to think that it’s the end of an era for fashion. But in general, it can just be a preparation for rebirth.
Aphro Apollo (Roel Pulido Pagal) is a contemporary author and a senior student of BA Communication at the University of Northern Philippines. This young literary figure is pursuing his career in writing while attending his regular class. One of his goals in life is to become a Fashion journalist in Condé Nast, New York someday. His mantra, “Never underestimate the power of silence” really make things fall into place for him.