How the pandemic has changed the fashion industry

Silvia Bizzarra

From Milan-Paris FW without shows to prestigious brands uninviting guests on the same day: 2020 has been a tough year for the fashion industry, but when the pandemic emergency will be over, will the fashion world ever be the same again?

Certainly, Fashion weeks will look different, but to understand how the next collections will change it is important to investigate how people’s purchasing behaviour has been affected by long social distancing and lockdown.

1. Lockdown has made people feel closer to sustainability

One of the most extraordinary things about living through the lockdown is the shared realisation that nature has become one of our most prized assets. The conversation about sustainability and the fashion industry has been going on for a long time now, but the current situation is a great accelerator.

That means that in the future, successful businesses will use supply chains that are creating jewellery/clothing in a circular way, and will only source natural material?

Yes, but that's not all.

Sustainability has much to do with the damaging effect of so-called “fast fashion”, where consumers buy something cheap, and then forget in the wardrobe.  In this context, the industry will need to slow down with the crazy seasonal collections we are used to, as people in the future will not be likely to always look for the next new thing.

This brings us to the second trend:

2. Minimalism is the key-word.

The aesthetic of scarcity has been popular so far among a certain subset of minimalist and sustainable influencers, but it seems that in the next future, in-your-face luxury will be out among all style categories.

Interestingly, fashion experts say that in history, crisis and disruptive events were all followed by the appearance of plain design and materials. This trend can be explained by the need for practicality during tough times when people are forced to stay home or face financial instability, but much has to do with the restoration of values of simplicity that people face after experiencing a collective trauma.

So if you love trends and you're considering investing in the next cool diamond pair of earrings, consider switching to a more discrete design.

3.  “How does this make me feel?” is the new “How does this make me look?”

Another fashion trend that will make a big appearance post-pandemic is how mental health and wellness can be connected to our style and how what we wear can make us feel.

The discussion about mental state and self-exploration was already a hot topic among younger generations, but the virus brought up the awareness around it to the next level. We will see a keen interest in emotional or moody colours.

What does this mean? Everything looking natural colours come in as calming factors (earthy-toned palette, all varieties of blue).  It seems that even when we'll return to dressing up for dressing up's sake, the trend of calming, natural colours, and eco-friendly materials will be an essential part of the fashion industry.