“We really need to rethink what this industry stands for” –  Anna Wintour

Covid-19 has brought about unthinkable death and destruction to the world, but will it change the world we’ve put on hold?

Gripped by the pandemic, industries around the globe have instantaneously hit the pause button and come to an historic standstill leaving everything but the essential services shuttered and closed. And despite many factories having pivoted their production schedules to help produce the desperately needed personal protective equipment, on the whole, air pollution levels have dropped, historic bodies of water are now cleaner than they have been in living memory, and nature continues to reclaim pockets of space which it had previously been denied.

As we try to settle into the various phases of lock-down and adjust to a new, temporary, way of living where the que’s to supermarkets are lapping up and down the car parks, many have turned to the marvel that is the internet for a sense of normality. The login pages to Amazon, Asos, and every other online shopping site alike, have become equivalent to the gates of heaven. Seemingly, as the majority stay home, everybody needs everything right now, and since only the “essential” items can be bought in store, the level of non-essential online shopping has undoubtedly sky-rocketed.

Social media is a constant flood of individuals critiquing their own vast levels of packages that are being dropped off to their abodes daily, with many packages containing items of clothing from fast fashion giants such as Boo-hoo, Missguided, Asos, and inthestyle etc. But the factories aren’t making clothes anymore – so what happens to the fashion industry when the stocks are low and normality is back on the get-go? While Covid-19 has been a complete devastation, it has brought about some very important conversations surrounding the future of “the norm” within the fashion industry. Will it revert back to the 24hr constant churn of production, or will we take a step back and develop the new ways of living and operating that we are discovering right now?

In an interview with Naomi Campbell on her YouTube show “No Filter with Naomi”, guest Anna Wintour put forward her thoughts on the future of the fashion industry, and openly stated that the direction of the industry needs to be taken towards a more environmentally conscious destination. “I feel very strongly that when we come out at the other end, which we will do, that people’s values are really going to have shifted,” Wintour tells Naomi. “I think it is an opportunity for all of us to look at our industry and look at our lives, and to rethink our values and to really think about the waste, and the amount of money, and excess that we have all, and I obviously include myself in this, that we have all indulged in.”

“We really need to rethink what this industry stands for.”

Historically, publications such as Wintour’s Vogue, alongside luxury brand houses, have ruled the world of fashion by dictating what is in, what is out, and what we should already be replacing the former with next month. For years high street designers waited with baited breath for their style orders that would shape their collections, but that is no longer the case. Fashion brands are now, thanks to a multitude of reasons, no longer hanging on to every word that comes from the golden circle at the top of the industry. Designers can set up shop from their bedroom and get their own unique designs shipped to their customers’ doors straight from the factory without ever needing to know the forecast designs of next season. Trends are now being created and circulated 52 weeks of the year due to the fast fashion phenomenon, and a lot of money has been made.

So, will we see a revolutionary change occur after Covid-19? Or will pockets of the industry see dollar signs in taking advantage of the consumers’ desire to go back to normal? Ultimately it falls on the question, is the fashion industry reflective of, or, led by us consumers?

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