How Fashion Week Handled COVID-19

How Fashion Week Handled COVID-19

The show must go on!

The paranoia caused by the pandemic has shaken up the world, forcing businesses to either evolve or shut down. The fashion industry in particular has faced an existential crisis as consumer behavior has completely changed. The masses have shifted their focus to a more practical approach to life, which entails less purchases of clothing and more of basic essentials. 

Brick-and-mortar stores have also faced a significant decline due to lack of walk-ins. The e-commerce market has been a temporary replacement, but a digital platform may not sustain enough income since majority of the industry relies on physical retail. 

High levels of inventory have led brands to markdown prices in order to drive business. Even with this strategy in mind, customers are not willing to purchase, say, leopard printed jeans they won’t wear in the near future. Conversely, if marked down inventory would sell out, it could still be at a loss due to the fact that it’s not sold at full price. 

RELATED: Fashion Before and After COVID-19

Luxury brands seem to be the only true survivors as their goods are priced at high costs, therefore sustaining the businesses’ revenue. Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel have always been sustained by the one percent; those who aren't as impacted by the pandemic. 

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Although COVID-19 has changed the industry forever, it has also sparked new ideas for the future of fashion. Designers have dabbled in new creative ways to challenge the virus. The silver lining to the madness is a bright opportunity to do things that have never been done before and it's pretty exciting! Here, a list of creative solutions sought out by big designer brands from Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021: 

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French fashion designer and creative director Olivier Rousteing brought screens to the runway for his digital guests. Unfortunately, the solution only applied to those of utmost importance. The other side of the room was jam-packed as it would be at any regular fashion show. The attendees were wearing face masks but were not socially distant. 

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Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton chose the top floor of the La Samaritaine, a large department store in Paris, where there was more than enough space to keep the attendees six feet apart. The guests were required to remain in their designated seats while wearing face masks.

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For this Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Prada chose to go digital. The idea was to bring street style indoors through the screen. The show was digitally accessible and hit 10,000 views during their Instagram Live last Thursday.  

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Saved the best for last! In 1940s Paris, stand-ins were used to exhibit fashion. Jeremy Scott took inspiration from Théâtre de la Mode, a touring exhibit of fashion mannequins, for this collection. The goal was to transport the audience to another period where we could forget about the pandemic and bask in a whimsical fantasy. His grand idea was successfully executed and certainly met the new standards of creativity in the digital realm. 

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Let this be a reminder that you can take the initiative to turn things around this year. Much like these creative geniuses have proven, if you can’t find a silver lining, make one! The future of fashion is embracing the unknown and exploring fun, fresh and forward ideas that will get us all excited again. 

RELATED: Young Designers on What It’s Like to Run a Fashion Business During a Pandemic

Words Marga Sibug

Art Matthew Fetalver


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