2020 has forced many businesses to reflect upon their existing plans. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on almost every industry from essentials to non-essentials. Businesses faced issues like lockdowns, shutting down, pressure to deliver quickly, regulated opening and closing hours, along health and safety concerns. These major disruptions in industries made strategic players reinvent their brand. And, fashion industry which is already trying to keep pace with customers focusing on eco-friendly products and digital shifts was rocked by pandemics more.
‘Casualization’ was in progress, casual Fridays are now from Monday to Thursday, concerts got canceled, weddings postponed, thus impacting how, when, and why customers shop.
Anxiety/ Worry for the Industry
Companies have seen the most awful financial performance in 2020, which is, even more, worse than the global financial crisis in 2008-09.
Imran Amed, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Business of Fashion described 2020 as a difficult year and shared that "the coming year will require fashion companies to make significant changes in their value chains, as on many other fronts, while learning to reduce their risks and manage in a climate of uncertainty”.
Businesses started paying more attention to monitor the emerging markets and diversifying their risk by entering into other growth areas. The excess use of social media platforms by almost all fashion businesses is creating challenges as well as high competition for businesses to retain their customers.
Customers have started giving weightage to the fashion products which have a positive impact on the environment and thus, fashion industries have to focus on the usage of sustainable fabric and promoting the same through their new sustainable model. The fashion industry has always experienced its journey from ‘need’ to ‘want’ to ‘aspire’, which makes it an evolving sector where there are a group of challenges and a range of opportunities.
Pandemic has made the fashion industry, remarket and retarget themselves. And then ‘Department Shows’ and ‘Virtual Fashion Shows’ became the new normal, bringing new ways of being seen and understood by the customers. This new-age customer and their changed behavior brought interesting lessons for the fashion industry and made the businesses design a new strategy model by focusing on every customer as ‘one segment’.
Good News is that ‘It’s FASHION’
The fashion industry is just transforming not disappearing, as fashion is an essential part of one’s lifestyle. The difference this industry has observed in the last year is the shift of the ground rules of self-care, from haircuts, facials, manicures to breathing, heart rate, and oxygen levels.
Customers lost interest in buying formal and professional clothes and started buying comfortable clothing and loungewear, and workwear is not a category anymore.
Erin Schmidt, a Senior Analyst at Coresight Research, mentioned, “The consumer is rewriting that definition of workwear. And it might be a little while for employers to figure this out”.
But very soon customers have realized that we are just ‘out of office’ and in the new ‘on-camera’ zone, where looking and feeling best will bring confidence and motivation to your work.
Customers have started giving preference to ‘comfort’, and the fashion industry taught all, that comfort doesn’t mean sacrificing style. The new customer lifestyle comprises of casual-aesthetic, and brands are focusing on the launch of the ‘athleisure' collection.
Brands just need to revise their marketing strategies through weighted content which influences the customer to buy, as women are not buying lipsticks as it gets smudge inside the mask but are buying eye makeup as it emphasizes their ‘smize’.