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COVID.19 does not need a formal presentation. Today, everyone knows this coronavirus that has spread throughout the world in less than three months, turning everything upside down. All global industrial and services sectors, among them the fashion sector, world economy, banks, and stock markets foresee an uncertain future, showing recessive and pessimistic tendencies.
But much more important than pessimistic economic forecasts is the human factor. Global citizenship has seen their health threatened by a new coronavirus that is highly contagious. COVID.19 affects all human beings without exception of race, age, sex, and social status.
In the following months, the fashion sector is going to see an abrupt disruption to the already ever-changing fashion business, in all areas, manufacturing, logistics, and marketing & PR.
Even in the best possible scenario; the one that contains the global spread of the coronavirus as quickly as possible, and the scientific community finds a vaccine soon which is predicted to take about a year, In the following months, the fashion sector is going to see an abrupt disruption to the already ever-changing fashion business, in all areas, manufacturing, logistics, and marketing & PR.
Our lifestyles and our consumer trends have radically changed over the last few years. The unexpected and abrupt arrival of COVID 19 and its fast-moving viral spread has touched a highly sensitive area for all of us, our health. Today it is COVID 19, but tomorrow what awaits us? Healthiness and hygiene have become yet another key consumer issue, added to sustainability and traceability, in all the value chains of the fashion sector without exception.
Healthiness and hygiene have become yet another key consumer issue, added to sustainability and traceability, in all the value chains of the fashion sector without exception.
The global consumer has long been increasingly informed, and demands from fashion brands and designers traceable and sustainable references of the fashion products they buy. Where are the clothes made? Where does fashion’s raw material come from? Are the labels Made in Spain, Made in Italy, Made in France or Made in China reliable in healthiness standards and sustainable qualities? Are human rights respected in all fashion’s workplaces? Under what working conditions and in which countries do fashion companies manufacture their products? How do they deliver these products to our homes from a sustainable, but also from a healthiness point of view? These are but some of the questions global consumers are asking themselves today to chose where to spend their fashion money.
Consumers demand sustainable and healthiness guarantees in the fashion products they buy whether it is in the high street or on-line.
The fashion sector has long been obsessed by down prizing fashion garments to gain a competitive edge among consumers, but at what a sustainable cost to the planet? Now, in addition to the origin and traceability of fashion products, healthiness and hygiene are added to the demands of fashion consumers at all fashion business; high street retailers, brands, designer labels, and the luxury sector.
Fashion has a hard time embracing the paperless digital era, but the future has been here for a while.
Social networks and online stores have led to major structural changes in the fashion sector, as well as radical changes in consumer profiles and habits. Fashion magazines have lost their leadership and prescription power to digital tools and communities driven by influential people and photogenic celebrities. Advertising and public relations have moved their efforts and budgets towards digital content. Consumers are abandoning street shopping for online purchases. And now the fashion sector has to deal with COVID 19 and analyze its consequences to create communication, marketing, and public relations strategies that interact with its consumers in the midst of this global health crisis.
The fashion sector has to deal with COVID 19 and analyze its consequences in order to create communication, marketing, and PR strategies to engage with its consumers amidst this global health crisis.
CONSEQUENCES OF COVID 10 IN THE FASHION SECTOR
Where do I buy fashion products?
In addition to the origin and traceability of fashion products, from now on health and hygiene are added to the demands of fashion consumers. Where do I buy fashion? Do I go to crowded places where I could get a virus? Or do I buy online? but where will the online order come from, will this be more sustainable and have hygienic standards? These are some of the many questions that arise in the minds of consumers around the world today.
Sustainable and hygienic standards are added to the demands of fashion consumers.
Fashion Value Chain
Many of the brands we see on the streets of cities around the world produce capsule collections in several countries throughout the year. Thus they succeed in identifying consumer trends as well as adapting to the economic temperature of their corresponding markets improving their sales results. COVID.19 seriously affects exports between countries due to the need for governments to contain the virus. This means that there may be garment shortages, in the high street as well as in luxury brands, because of import/export restrictions due to the global viral outbreak.
…that there may be garment shortages, in the high street as well as in luxury brands, because of import/export restrictions due to the global viral outbreak.
From small designer label flagship stores to large department stores, cleanliness, hygiene, masks, not touching customers and maintaining distances are going to become common traits. That the establishment has an impeccable aspect of hygienic cleanliness is key to attract customers to your establishment.
Fashion establishments have to have an impeccable aspect of hygienic cleanliness
Generalist online stores have to be more transparent in informing their customers of the origin and traceability of their fashion products, which may, in fact, benefit those fashion brands that follow slow fashion ideologies and heritage fashion brands with legacy and history. The logistics behind product delivery are also critical in online stores, from the packaging to the transport and delivery everything must follow set hygiene standards to convey consumer confidence.
…may, in fact, benefit those fashion brands that follow slow fashion ideologies and heritage fashion brands with legacy and history.
For the Marketing and PR departments of fashion companies, fashion shows, presentations, awards, gala dinners have been a key part of their Marketing and PR strategies. In Milan and in Paris fashion shows have been canceled or presented to an empty audience, as well as the presentations of the season’s cruise collections. Other digital formats to present fashion collections must be devised. Massive events will give way to small encounters while disinfectant gels and masks are already part of any fashion event. In London, they take your temperature before allowing you to attend an event.
Other digital formats to present fashion collections must be devised
The fashion press, influencers, and celebrities are used to global trotting to attend events, fashion shows, photoshoots, fashion editorials. Strict airport security, and now invasive health checks, plus the possibility of being quarantined whether you go to or arrive in a country, have made fashion prescribers not very amenable to traveling. So now your local market, your local consumer, is more important than ever.
Your local market, your local consumers, is more important than ever.
Presentations, events, fashion shows, and trips, which are the main sources of free publicity content for all fashion brands, are going to be drastically reduced. Advertising and paid activities with fashion media, journalists, stylists, influencers, and celebrities will as well change. The lack of fashion content generated and disseminated by others, as well as the need to connect and communicate with fashion consumers, will force companies to generate their own content. The fashion sector will have to focus on their own digital tools to communicate with their consumers while identifying fashion’s new stakeholders and where to invest their money and PR efforts in the digital world.
A change in the outlook of the usual fashion brand content; Image campaign, look books, fashion shows, events, and red carpets are needed. New dynamic and sales effective brand content have to be generated aimed at generating consumer confidence.
But if there is a sector that has the adaptive capacity, this is the fashion sector and crises always bring opportunities. For example, you don’t have to be a fashion guru to anticipate that gloves, after being abandoned for years at the bottom of the fashion draw, will become the key accessory of the following season, as well as more obvious viral outfits. But it also is a time of investigation in technology, both in its appliances in fabrics, IA or new digital tools and applications. And this is the line of thinking the fashion sector needs to adapt to this new era where everything is uncertain, fewer gurus and more common sense.
To be continued…