The time came to take stock of the situation of 10 years of change in the fashion worldwhen in Italy the 9 March 2020 the first general lockdown due to a pandemic of Coronavirus. One year to date since the start of the national lockdown nothing is the same as before, with a situation that requires a new, more challenging and innovative analysis.
The COVID-19 has ruined many dynamics but accelerated othersradically transforming the entire core business of the fashion industry.
Italian counts estimate to date a decrease of -20%, lower than expected mid-year but higher than during the economic crisis of 2008 (-9%).
But numbers are not enough to shed light on the evolutionary process of the communication and distribution media used by fashion. The topics are manifold:
Physical retail crisis
Digital shopping revolution
The role of influencers
The problems of the production chain
The great demand for sustainability from consumers
And many others?
Macro transformations are reflected in every branch of the industry.
Fashion before COVID-19
In late 2019, according to McKinsey, the Fashion industry would have had a decrease in growth of -3/4% in the following yeardue to increasingly cautious consumers amidst wider economic, political and trade uncertainty.
I first two months of 2020 are dominated by classic appointments: Fashion Week, major film awards, Oscars at the Baftas with its red carpetwhich are the stage favoured by designers to give context to their style line.
Just in the days of Milan Fashion Week the alarm reaches Italythe first European country affected by the pandemic: Giorgio Armani chooses to parade behind closed doorsmaking the first of a series of gestures that will make him a spokesman for the demand for change in the months to come.
Has the fashion design economy collapsed or changed since Italy's first Lockdown?
The 9 March Italy closes. Businesses, schools, shops and the entire social fabric that makes up the garment industry and accessories. The priority is the health emergency, so the vast majority of the industries of the converted.
The change is accompanied by an inevitable general standstill of the system, and major events in April and May cancelled - as the Cruise 2021 fashion show series - manufacturers decide to lighten the system by talking about a common stop of production with unbridled timing, typical of the fashion industry.
Carlo Capasa is against it, President of Camera Modawith an open letter explaining that "allow the closure of some companies, especially smallwould create a tear in the unique fabric that our supply chain represents. The question is: are we willing to lose our iconic industry? We can safeguard people at risk, we can use different criteria in certain geographical areas, but if we want to continue to have a fashion industry in Italy, we must start producing again right away".
Stylists also take a standparticularly those of the Kering group: Gucci and Saint Laurent announced their departure from the traditional catwalk calendar. On the other side (along with other brands) is Chanel, to bring events back to normal as soon as possible.
Live or digital, parades are entertainment.
Fashion shows are throughout the year the territory of experimentation and dissemination within the fashion industry. Live events are greatly reduced, and their role also changes. Whether they are marketing or circulation managers, whether they are buyers, journalists or influencersmust absolutely start an amplification project on social and digital distribution platforms.
Some examples are the Gucci TV series, Miuccia Prada's live interview e Raf Simons during their debut together, from the avatar of GCDS at augmented reality of Khaite, from Balenciaga video game at creative box by Loewe and JW Andersoneverything is designed to entertain, to amplify, to carve out a moment of attention for those who can appreciate fashion design.
One year after the start of the pandemic is there a new sensitivity in the fashion industry?
There is a growing demand for an more sustainable with the direct consequence of?adoption of new business models by some realities.
First and foremost is the pre-orderpractice that causes a brand to produce its products only after selling them to the end consumer. It has done so Telfar Clemens, a young New York designer who, after seeing demand for his Bushwick Bags (+282% on Stylighy), preferred to ask his fans to wait a few months rather than expand his production facility, aware of the maintenance costs he had to face in times of crisis. But more and more small and medium-sized Italian companies are also doing this, combining it with a social strategy requiring less economic investment than traditional marketing but a strong digitalisation and creative attitude.
The initiatives of upcyclingpractice of reusing waste materials. Also known as "creative reuse"Many big names will experience this over the course of the year, including Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Prada, ByFar, JW Anderson, Aspesi, Desigual, Converse, Levi?s.
Also growing, and by a lot, is the market for the second hand and the vintagewith a forecast to double the volume of fast fashion by 2029.