The novel coronavirus pandemic had a pronounced impact on the fashion retail segment. Amidst this uncertainty, brands and retailers around the world are planning their strategies for the post COVID-19 era. But what will it look like on the other side of the pandemic?
Well for one, brands will be compelled to treat concerns of sustainability and social responsibility more seriously. A brighter side of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it exposed the real picture of the value chain top consumers across the globe. Consumers watched with horror how their favorite brands ditched their supply chain partners making the fallout even more devastating for some of the poorest countries of the world.
Laura Lanteri, Creative Director & Founder, LLNY Digital Agency & Adjunct Professor, Parsons School of Design highlighted that the call of the hour is ethical practices throughout the fashion value chain. “Ethical fashion should, at the moment, should focus on paying people – starting from garment workers. Fashion is not made by the top leadership, the people that we see on front pages of publications but by the garment works who work in hazardous conditions. These are the people that the whole industry buttresses on yet we haven’t invested anything on them yet. For me this is the need of the hour – pay everybody what they deserve.”
As sentiments shift, experts believe that the new epoch will mark a holistic approach towards sustainability in the fashion industry. “Not just sustainable from an environmental perspective but from a social or socio-economic perspective. I have very reasons to believe that post the pandemic, shareholders would be keen on investing to make their companies sustainable at a level where it can impact people,” says Christopher Lacy, CEO – Christopher Lacy Consulting and Assistant Professor — Parsons School of Design.
The ongoing crisis has revealed humanity’s vulnerability irrespective of social standing, color, caste or creed. It has impacted everyone across industries, value chain and supply chain. This reality has brought mammoth shifts in consumer psychology who now has developed a shared sense of solidarity for the people most at risk.
Going forward, sustainability and transparency will be of core concern to the fashion industry. “Customers are already demanding transparency and I believe it will only increase after all this is over. I really think once we see the light at the end of the tunnel, the whole fashion industry will realize that we aren’t going to be selling products anymore – we will be selling processes – a way of making things. And this process, I believe, will be completely different with hitherto unknown levels of transparency and will include the customer in the process as well,” states Laura Lanteri.