Image by Brunel Johnson


Defne Ergin

Three months ago, we welcomed the fashion week in Milan like we do each year. We are used to seeing bizarre outfits, spotting celebrities on the streets, watching a show in Roentgen; now, it is as far as a dream to all of us. There’s an inevitable change in all of our lives, as the economy is seeing the worst. All of the industries are affected crucially however the fashion industry is one that has been hit the hardest. Average market capitalization dropped by 40 %, LVMH lost up to 20% of its revenues, sales declined by 600 billion dollars and many small brands are endangered to survive, making this crisis an existential threat to the whole industry. 

It’s for certain that the industry’s interconnected supply chain structure worsens things. The virus was on the agenda for the industry as early as December, affecting the supply in China;

however, no one expected Europe to be paralyzed as well. Once in Europe, the whole world was blocked by the virus. Unfortunately, many of the employees ended up losing their jobs, and unemployment rose to unprecedented values. An inevitable fall in demand followed; the consumers' consumption habits shifted majorly, preferring to save over consuming as the uncertainty and fear conquered all of us. 

However, consumers and producers had the time to think introspectively and open the pandora’s box of problems. For many years, the fashion industry has been a controversial one from the issue of exploiting workers and the environment, to creating false needs and causing excess production, which inevitably led to waste. However, the industry has evolved slowly in the past years from fur to fake fur, waste to sustainability, exploitation to better conditions but still, the industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year and continues to exploit the planet and the poor.

Many argue that this was the change that the fashion world needed desperately to have a more transparent, sustainable, ethical supply chain and to establish purpose-driven, creative brands. New generations prefer to see the crisis as an opportunity to possibly end the exploitation and the damage that the industry has caused for many years.

Hence, the post-corona fashion world is going to be very different and brands need to prepare themselves if they want to survive and thrive in the “new normal”. The brands should work on cutting the excess collections, consumption and possibly decreasing the number of their stores, switching to the digital platforms to sell and attract new customers. Before the crisis, 80% of the shopping was done in a physical store, now this has changed drastically. Furthemore, industry giants such as LVMH and Kering may add new brands to their portfolios, since individual brands are threatened to survive in a crisis. 

Hopefully, the post-corona world will unite us, make us more responsible for our world and the corporations will follow the consumers’ shift in mindset, thus bringing by the change that the fashion industry needed.