Sunday 11, Apr 2021, Delhi (India)
China has led to a profound and serious impact on the global economy and changed the dynamics of the fashion industry. The people out there are locked down in their homes and looking for ways to respond. The situation is severe but the right policies can make a difference in fighting the COVID-19 and mitigating its impact. Just like any other industry, the fashion industry is also shaken but the designers across the world including Indian fashion designers understand their job and are finding new ways to invent the future of fashion culture in accordance to the behavior of the consumer which is definite to change once the lockdown is over, due to the fear of the virus.
The public health emergency has gripped the world and looking at the seriousness of the virus, WHO (World Health Organisation) has stated the outbreak to be a pandemic. To stop the entire world from collapsing, governments across the world have taken proper precautions and called out for a lockdown. Countries across the globe have implemented measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19, from country quarantines to school and factory closures.
Countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Spain, France, India, and others are on complete lockdown.
As the world goes into lockdown and consumer shelter at home, the stock market continues to plunge. The store closures across the globe have brought the fashion and retail industries in particular need to steer through changing consumer sentiment.
The world has been shaken with the outbreak of COVID-19, looking at the severity of the situation, the Indian government thought that it's important for a country like India with an extensive population of 1.3 billion citizens to be locked down to further break the chain of the spread. To combat COVID-19 the Indian government is even thinking to extend the three-week national lockdown beyond April 14. Mounting cases of COVID-19 in the states from Kashmir to Kerala have already taken their toll on the economy and market strategy. The lockdown has forced insiders to reckon with the lack of agility in the supply chain and consumer demographics.
As the coronavirus takes its toll on the Indian economy, industries of all sizes and markets face an uncertain future with the question that will the Indian government lift the lockdown? The government post-April 14, is looking at the idea of a "rational lockdown".
Nearly two of the lockdown weeks are over and still one left to go, but with the expansion of cases and areas impacted the question arises how will one of the biggest industries of the country, the fashion industry stop the economy from hemorrhaging?
The fashion industry is looking for scenario planning and financial forecasting. The industry is critically finding new perspectives to stay in touch with consumers. The fashion brands are adopting new strategies, encouraging consumer connections wherever possible, and utilizing human power technology by taking online polls and unique content creation.
A speculated report indicates that significant crises are brewing in the fashion industry, and there could be more than 40% drop in the demand after the lockdown. The expected drop in the market can further lead to almost 50 lacs jobs in the apparel industry at risk.
The Indian government has adopted various measures but it’s still clear that the apparel industry requires more support due to the following problems-
1. Migrant laborers- The lockdown has highlighted the hard life of the seasonal migrants. A speculated data reports that around 93% of laborers have already lost a rapid amount of work further leading to loss of income. Millions of garment and textile workers are stranded in cities across the country left poverty-stricken and unable to return to their homes due to the lockdown.
2. Dying exports- The pandemic has led to a significant lower status of exports in the decade, with lockdown across the globe, the fashion industry is going to be worst hit. The buyers have asked to hold back shipments until the end of May as the borders are closed. The slowdown in the fashion market and supply chain has left the workers unemployed.
The ace Indian fashion designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anita Dongre, and Manish Malhotra are standing strong with their teams throughout this situation.
The disruption is faced by both online and offline retailers across India. There is a supply of essential goods only, as the authorities started to close down other factories including the garment sector.
India’s largest e-commerce shopping websites like Amazon and Flipkart have temporarily suspended logistics services for sellers across regions. The shut down of warehouses has led to the disruption of the supply chain in the fashion industry. But addressing the nation, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stated delivery of essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, through e-commerce is permitted during the lockdown period. Amazon, the e-commerce major, requested the authorities to let them deliver the essential goods to their customers in the wake of lockdown.
Apart from e-commerce shopping, the government also stated that shops, including ration dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder will remain open. Home delivery is also being facilitated to minimize the movements of individuals outside their homes.
In this time of uncertainty, we don’t know what exactly is going to happen- if this is us entering anew world or if things are ever going back to normal.
Lockdown is not easy, but one should not make the situation worse with the negative image that is fear. The pandemic has brought the world to a halt as nothing else could, our minds are still longing for a return to normality. All these factors in a way are going to drastically change the dynamics of the fashion industry and consumers' lookout. It is expected that consumers even after the 21-day lockdown is over, are going to restrict themselves a little before shopping for luxury goods, due to monetary as well as requirement reasons.
The Fashion designers are experiencing this crisis not just as human beings, but also as a marketer. Shopping and retail are some of the most visible behavior changes in the COVID-19 crisis.
The market is not going to be full of shoppers but the one who’ll still be shopping is the young consumers. The ones with job security will be spending more time online as they continue to work from home, which will further lead them to check out the new in fashion and influence their shopping. The fashion market is going to witness the young consumer in a higher ratio than the older ones. Once the lockdown is over, the pandemic’s effect will stay in consumer behavior further leading the online purchases to flourish.
Social distancing is the only policy that has managed to break the chain of the spread of deadly COVID-19 which is gripping the world. The world has witnessed how effective the policy of social distancing has been in containing the virus. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but living in isolation for over a while can be extremely difficult and cause drastic effects on both the individual as well as the fashion market.
Social distancing is a scary and uncertain measure for the global fashion industry. As there are no get-togethers, travel bans, and social distancing initiated by the government, consumers also shelter at home and it's expected that the fashion shows will be canceled for the year.
Fashion designers were not optimistic about the year 2020 even before the coronavirus disrupted the financial market due to suspended supply chains and crushed consumer demand across the globe. The pandemic has severely impacted previously planned strategies of the fashion designers. But it's well said that creativity often comes out of the most challenging scenarios and now is the time when fashion designers are being proactive and re-evaluating organic growth.
The fashion designers understand that the economic impact of COVID-19 is going to be huge, but they look forward to preserving the richness of fashion. This pandemic will change the dynamics of the fashion industry in the long term and the fashion designers are all set to launch affordable wear for their consumers.
Even after the lockdown is over, the fear is going to remain among the consumers, and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) has already led the designers to make the mask a part of the coming fashion culture. Here are some of those making a mask to help with the shortfall- Chanel, Christian Siriano, Prada, Kering, and others.
With a lockdown that is expected to extend, the Indian fashion industry is due on facing a greater impact on its businesses. As consumers are filled with fear and are focusing more on items of necessity building a habit of curbing their desires. This might trail along for longer than expected, hampering the demand of the fashion products even after the lockdown opens. This sluggish demand might lead to Indian fashion designers switching to prêt wear from Haute Couture. As festive season and marriages are lined up in 6 months from now, it can be a great opportunity for fashion designers to make up for the loss borne by them. Many designers are also thinking about coming up with collections with lower price points that can be sold in both the stores and online.
Consumers on the contrary, are still trying to cope up with the trauma of the disease and the global slowdown, this is making them list their necessities over luxury, thus ensuring that their focus for the coming months be on avoiding outdoors, shopping for necessary products online and maintaining social distances.
The pandemic has not just affected the designers and consumers but also the event and fashion show organizers who have either postponed or canceled their events in hope of taking it online and exhibit through the virtual world or plan the same for the coming year.
The pandemic will lead to two pathways for the fashion industry, we hope it turns out to the path where quality and craft values more than quantity. The fashion brands and the designers are moving the deliveries to later so they remain well synchronized with the actual seasons which will further benefit the consumer and the industry both equally. Do you want to know anything more about the fashion industry or be precise about the current situation of the Indian fashion industry?
Do let us know in the comment section, and remember you can count on I Knock Fashion to guide you through these troubled times.