The pandemic has made all of us realize that in this world of uncertainty, we really need to be conscious of our requirements. ‘Less is more’, must really be the new mantra that everyone should follow. This does not mean we don’t buy new things, it really means that we must learn to declutter or recycle the old whilst adding something new to our wardrobe. The effort to make the Indian fashion industry ecologically sustainable has been ongoing since a long time now but, with the onset of COVID 19, the demand for the industry to adopt sustainability as a whole and not just in parts, was accelerated. I strongly believe that post-COVID-19, sustainability will evolve as the central driving factor in the fashion industry and not just an additional element.
The priorities for fashion have changed, we are now witnessing a multifunctional approach towards fashion. Wardrobe pieces that that can be repeated and reused in multiple ways will be in demand in the post COVID era. With the onset of Covid 19, consumer sentiments and demands have taken a radical shift. It has affected the over-all fashion choices for consumers. The most important shift we saw in the fashion industry was around how comfort clothing had become the new pandemic trend. Moreover, consumer buying behaviour has also evolved with a lot of rules and regulations. With ‘Work From Home’ (WFH) gaining accelerated popularity, office dressing has transitioned into more casual styles welcoming a new category of ‘homewear’ and loungewear. The rise of video meetings has resulted in tops outperforming bottoms categories with customers investing in more fancy tops but simple loungewear home pants.
Retail spaces also have to make sure of sanitation, appointment-based clients, and social distancing. Malls flourishing with customers, right now seems like a distant dream. Rents of retails spaces are high and with low traffic of customers, all owners are trying to adopt E- commerce for their growth opportunities, invest in marketing whilst finding strong collaboration partners. Retailers will have to look for innovative ways to demonstrate their products to provide a contact-less shopping experience by creating a virtual shopping experience. A ‘reset and rethink’ approach has been called upon by Indian retailers to showcase their fashion collections. All retailers are getting ready for recovery post pandemic by building a new pricing discipline. They are working on low profits and discounts for maintaining their clients as ethical practices are now becoming equally important as aesthetics. Lot of retailers have changed their work ethics and are just making necessary items like face masks and PPE gowns which is need of the hour.
We also saw a rise in the sale of home décor products. Currently, home decor has been given equal importance as home loungewear as customers want to make sure that the background during office calls are perfect. Millennials and Gen Z have also started setting up their home offices or even for e.g. their Netflix and chill corners with beautiful pieces of soft fabrics, bed mats, cushions, décor products, and plants.
Last but not the least, owing to the pandemic and the lockdown that was imposed, Indian consumers started exploring various e-commerce platforms to meet their demands. This in turn has made them more tech savvy (even the tier II and tier III consumers) and they are now looking for new shopping experiences through technology. The onset of Covid 19 has definitely enabled a smooth transformation of the fashion industry from mostly only the ’brick and mortar stores’ to now into a complete digital world.
By: Babita Jain, Founder and CEO of The House of Prana, a lifestyle, fashion, artwork and home accessories brand.