The pandemic is testing many industries and requiring businesses to pivot in order to stay afloat. The fashion industry has been pushed to its limits and unfortunately, not all brands are surviving. Now instead of physical stores, brands are switching to digital platforms to make up for missing profits and getting creative with alternative business strategies.
Here are some of the cool ways fashion is still surviving amongst a deadly global pandemic:
Brands are now mostly online, making the most of online sales opportunities and connection. Online has always been growing, but this year it’s exploding. Companies like Mirta, for example, is a retailer that gives people the opportunity to purchase Italian bags via online shopping, by offering handcrafted bags from 100% Made In Italy artisans. Now, goods from all over the world are available at your fingertips. While online-only stores have understood the flow of offerings and centered their business model online, traditional stores and brands have been rapidly learning to leverage technology in order to still hit their numbers.
Virtual showrooms enable designs to be safely viewed and ordered via technology before production. It does require collections to be digitized so details can be viewed up close by buyers, which was an added step that required quick action from brands. However, it has been successful and has offered quick turnaround times. Kristin Savilia, Joor CEO, said that during Paris Fashion Week the virtual showroom drove activity over 2 times higher than average. She explained, “This was the first time that brands mandated that you have to be digital… There was no other way. It is a good thing for the industry because it leads to transparency, quicker order turnaround times and easier communication.”
Digital fashion shows
Since (in person) fashion shows are major events for the industry, it was critical the shows were able to go on. Luckily, technology has made digital fashion shows possible so people can still attend virtually. While the details and ‘experience’ of the shows may not come across as well as intended over a smart device screen, some fashion shows such as for Valentino have even reached more viewers with livestreams on platforms such as YouTube. Another pivot that Jonathan Anderson made was to mail in samples of pieces for fashion shows that were supposed to happen.
Appointments for in-store private shopping
To offer a safe shopping experience, some stores and brands are offering appointments for in-store private shopping so people can still experience pieces in person before purchasing. With safety precautions in place and only where allowed according to local guidelines, this offers a connection with customers and also offers an exclusive edge for a private shopping experience.
Fewer collections launched
The standard number for collections per year in the fashion industry is 4-12, but now there are only about 2 collections per year. Many mid-season collections are brought to refresh offerings at stores, etc. but from the inability to produce products to needing to save money and shift money elsewhere, offerings are being brought back to the spring/summer and fall/winter collections.
The future of fashion is a bit unknown as the world is going through a big period of change, and we will all see what changes stay and what changes will not.