Today we will talk about a need that in one way or another affects the lives of all of us, even those who do not follow its whims – about fashion. Large shopping centers around the globe countries like; USA, China, Russia, and etc; have already opened with all the precautions and safety measures; but the future of the fashion industry as a whole is still uncertain.

Huge loss in demand for fashion accessories

The closures of stores and the reduction in the purchasing power of the mass consumer have dealt a significant blow to retail. For obvious reasons, offline sales have been reduced to zero, and online trading has also dropped significantly – according to US data, by 30–40%. The overall drop in sales is estimated, for example, in Great Britain, by more than 50%. 

Thinking about the fashion industry, do not forget that ultimately it is not only glossy covers and spectacular shows in world capitals, but what was once called the boring term “light industry”. As an industry, the design and manufacture of clothing and footwear are subject to the same economic laws as other areas of the economy. And, of course, it is subject to the same crises that affect mechanical engineering and software development.

Still, many industry experts are still optimistic – especially when it comes to the upcoming demand in the luxury segment. “Will people buy something? I think nothing special will happen here and luxury fashion will return pretty quickly. People who buy luxury are unlikely to be hit hard by this crisis. We have already witnessed more than one crisis in the country, and retail was recovering quite quickly. Shopping is not about getting dressed, because there is nothing to wear. 

This is a kind of entertainment. Customers yearned for good service and communication, so they will come back and spend – maybe not immediately as much as they spent before. But in time everything will return. I don’t think that the quality of service that people are used to offline can be replaced by shopping on the Internet, ”says Georgy Kostava, fashion director of Robb Report magazine.

Both the mass and luxury segments are experiencing difficulties 

No matter how optimistic the experts are, one should not forget that the fashion business began to give the first ” distress signals ” even before the pandemic. First of all, the problems manifested themselves in the so-called fast, mass fashion – inexpensive clothes designed to change wardrobe at least once a season. The drop in sales due to the closure of stores and the change of priorities during quarantine exacerbated the already incipient crisis associated with the outstripping demand by supply.

It is curious that this is practically a classic example of the crisis of overproduction described in textbooks on political economy. Before the pandemic, the fashion industry was forced to recall (and send for recycling) up to 40% of its output each season. With an annual income of $ 2.5 trillion, the fashion business was clearly running at its limits.

E-commerce is now becoming the main trend. Because even those who yesterday did not even think about selling their brand via the Internet, now they simply have to do it. Fashion weeks have practically been canceled, and now a number of brands will have to rebuild the very foundations of their existence outside of this familiar, half-century-old fashion show system.

Demand-based Manufacturing

One of Those people is Kirby Best, CEO of OnPoint Manufacturing, Located in Florence, Alabama.

With assembled a career in the publishing business perfecting the on-demand production of novels, Best, a few years back, made a decision to employ his learnings into the apparel market. He made a tech and production facility which enables fashion manufacturers to deliver on-demand goods to market rapidly and cost-efficiently.

On-demand is more economical and sustainable. Waste from the business is uncontrolled and pricey. On-demand manufacturing allows trend brands to cut back their upfront money need and reduce surplus inventory.

According to Best, the question would be that a change of mindset over the investment in challenging technology and labour. He thinks it is merely a matter of moment “Change needs patience. When on-demand first arrived at the book publishing business, the publishers initially resisted this version. Now they’ve adopted it widely together (traditional) long-run cancel printing. I feel exactly the identical thing will take place in the fashion market. And I feel that the pressures out of COVID-19 will accelerate the change.”

Local Vs. Global

However, while a big part of clothes manufacturing is performed overseas, COVID-19 has also emphasized the benefits of manufacturers fabricating locally under a traditional (i.e. non stick ) version.

So while a return to local production is a likely scenario for the industry, it would seem this shift needs to happen carefully and thoughtfully or it may invite more problems than it solves. A balanced mix of global and local manufacturing is perhaps the best way forward.

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