what’s next in the fashion industry?

Things have changed drastically in the past few weeks. As hopeful as we are, even when things settle down and get better. The truth is, things have changed. As a creative myself, I have been pondering about the future as to what’s next for the fashion industry, the clothing industry to be specific. 

With a lot of retailers either on the verge of bankruptcy or already filing for it. We need to take lessons from that. Observing the current situation, the thing now is to produce protective gear, mostly masks. The question is, for how long? The truth is, yes masks are becoming a norm. As we have currently seen, in some countries the law now requires one to always have a mask on everywhere you go, publicly. However, soon masks won’t be enough to sustain the fashion industry, especially businesses that work on small production runs. Putting essential wear aside, mainly because that part of the industry is more sustainable at a bigger scale, referring to department stores. As they have the capacity to mass produce both financially and circumstantially.

Now we have to think beyond masks and protective gear. Things won’t go back to being the same, that’s for sure. So, what now? We look to the future. Observing the future in relation to the present. Mostly, we will be based at home. No more going out to work everyday, no more going to the gym frequently, no more going out on a Friday evening. 

In other words, there won’t be much reason to dress up and be glamorous. Until further notice, red carpets will remain packed up and on the side. Meaning the need to buy clothes won’t be as intense. 

However we have social media. How can we use that as a tool to sustain the fashion industry. The need to be social won’t go away. So, people will find an excuse to dress up and take a picture for social media. Not forgetting the zoom meetings and virtual parties. We have seen the social media craze time and time again in the last few years. Having a great outfit on and not taking a picture is a no no. It’s like it never happened because there’s no evidence, even if you did go out. 

WGSN had predicted not so long ago that Comfort Wear will be the new thing, something that will slowly come into play. However, with the pandemic that we are currently going through. We will see an acceleration of the trend/s. Lounge wear, comfort wear, staycation wear, etc. Smart office wear will take a back seat for a while and we’ll see a rise on lounge/comfort wear. Towards the end of the last decade we saw a rise of streetwear. This decade we’ll see a rise on lounge/comfort wear. 

What are you wearing in isolation? Will be the new question. 

We are already seeing individuals become creative with home photo shoots, creating looks, linen backdrops, self makeup, ring lights, Tiktok, etc. Quickly becoming the new norm. Even publications have cover stars shooting their own images – crediting themselves as creative directors from home, in isolation. We see Naomi Campbell for Essence, Indya Moore for Wonderland, Sya also for Wonderland.

There is a definite shift with everything. With the intensity of things and circumstances at the moment, we are in a place where we need ease. Things that will make us feel good, comfortable, at ease and give us hope. Lounge/comfort wear is one area in our industry that caters to all aspects of that. Stay safe!

image credit: Tushya Naidoo for Ezokhetho, Keneilwe Mothoa, Essence Magazine, Wonderland Magazine

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