As the corona cases in India, today are scaling to unimaginable heights, the movement of the people is getting restricted to digital imprints and the social media world. Before 2019, fashion in India portrayed a very different picture, offline stores, brick and mortar shops, the relevance of touch and feel of the garments, and the need to meet the designer before purchasing together summed the fashion shopping experience of any buyer. With the world undergoing the COVID 19 pandemic, a new normal was enforced upon the citizens. This normalcy brought along with it increased access to the digital world and social media.
"Everyone (fashion designers) wanted to be on social media before COVID as well, but with the pandemic, it was like a waking up for the designers that the need is not just to be on social media but also to focus upon all the tangents of the digital world, even the traditional designers who were not very keen on being visible online, came to us for websites and other queries as this is the only way of connecting with people now”- MridulSawhney (Co-Founder at AM Branding Co)
As per Statista, clothing takes the maximum online shopping share of fashion in India i.e 59% followed by 45% footwear and 42% mobiles and electronics. This online fashion market is expected to grow at a 3.5x rate in the coming years.
Apart from shopping fashion through recognized and trusted websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, and Ajio, many buyers have started to look for designer garments through multi-designer stores online like Ogaan, Pernia Pop Up Shop, Carmaonline, Ensemble, Agashe, etc.
Other platforms through which fashion buyers often shop are social media handles like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. These platforms in the years 2019-2021 have become powerful tools of interaction. Social media platforms have emerged as a new hub for fashion in India and allow fashion designers to directly influence potential clients through images and chats.
"The social media channels and digital platforms became the only medium of interaction and spreading information in fashion during the lockdown and post the same. The physical interactions ended and soon a realization dawned that digital channels can be explored for reaching the clients and other potentials in fashion by designers."- MridulSawhney (Co-Founder at AM Branding)
Tracing recent history fashion was more about the overall store experience, exclusivity, and those moments of fame. The COVID 19 pandemic, however, changed the fashion trends and the fashion industry in India.
The new address of fashion shifted to .coms and .ins from Kala Ghoda (Mumbai) and Qutub (Delhi), the overall purpose included inclusivity over exclusivity. Fashion trends became more personal and client-oriented from designer oriented and most importantly, the motive shifted from only sales to the interaction between fashion designers, brands, and clients.
“Brands we were managing earlier were not keen on posting too much but during the lockdown and COVID 19, they realized that now it’s more about creating a conversational space with the audiences to connect with them”- MridulSawhney (Co-Founder at AM Branding Co)
A paradigm shift in the fashion trends and perception towards fashion was also witnessed with the fashion weeks going online. From the on-ground experience to online experience, the fashion weeks and fashion designers adapted to the digital world to survive the pandemic and create a new normal in fashion.
Be it the announcement of a new launch or collaboration in fashion in India, digital platforms and media are the go-to places to know about the latest now.
I Knock Fashion connected with MridulSawhney, Co-Founder at AM Branding Co, A New Delhi-based branding studio that is behind the visual identity of some of the leading Indian fashion brands to understand the relevance of digital media and social media marketing amidst COVID 19 in fashion. AM Branding Co has a repertoire of designers and fashion brands as clients, some of them are Saaksha&Kinni, TheiaJewellery, Anushree Reddy, Nikasha, etc.
As per Mridul, it was not just Instagram that saw a rise but other digital and social media platforms such as Pinterest and websites on .com too.
"Building websites was paid a lot of attention to by the brands and designers. They preferred integrating chat options to stay in conversation with the clients. The brands actively posted new collections on Pinterest, pushing people to pin the garment images.”
However, as fashion took to the digital platform it also brought along with it, the stress to keep up at pace with the changing world. Instant updates, reverts, posting on latest happenings, and much more.
The corona cases in India today are changing the perspective of the people towards life and other aspects related to the same. People are now taking to digital platforms for shopping and connecting, they are more inclined towards sustainability and are raising concerns related to the same. The restricted movements and new work culture are shaping the future of consumer behavior and buying patterns in India and the world.