TRENDS IN COVID-19
By: Masoom Grover
Almost 4 months under the lockdown and we have seen some tremendous transformations with the nature around us. We hear more birds chirping, more plants growing, more stars in the clear night sky, more rivers decontaminating themselves, more ecosystems rebuilding, we see the planet rebooting. Situations which have consumed uncountable Five Year Plans and crores of country treasure are getting mended sans humans in a number of days. This makes us question, who is the real virus on the planet?
Time and again mankind has faced events which have created havoc in our lives and have put a halt to our daily activities. Despite two World Wars, innumerable civil wars, plagues, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, economic and political crises and a bouquet of such events, human being has risen and made his way through the catastrophes. Economies have boomed and industries have flourished amidst the crisis. One such industry that never rests in the Fashion Industry.
Crisis is an opportunity disguised in struggle and as they say, that some of the best inventions were born out of struggle. If we browse through the history, we’ll find some fairly interesting fashion trends that have emerged through the crisis in the form of necessity; for instance, the surgical face masks during the 1918 Spanish influenza, trousers for women during the first world war, post-war garments made out of rationed fabrics which were used to print maps on durable silk for the soldiers during the second world war.
Today, we are amidst one such crisis which will lead to the emergence of various fashion trends in the near future, the genesis of which we can already witness in the way we are responding to the crisis.
We humans respond to a particular situation in different ways and our behaviour and actions define our mindset in that situation. What drives our mindset to portray this behaviour and to perform these actions are the trends which can be adapted in different ways by various industries, including fashion. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen some interesting human behaviours during the lockdown and has made us rethink fashion trends that may emerge in the near future.
Humans are social animals; our primitive characteristic is to socialize. However, presently, with the pandemic taking an upward stroll, we are defying our basic behaviour and practising isolation. This pandemic-born isolation has not only affected our daily routine but also our mental health. In January 2020 the World Health Organization, declared COVID-19 to be a public health emergency of international concern and on 18th March 2020, it released a document containing various messages for the mental and psychological well being of people during the outbreak. The pandemic has magnified the idea of self-care. We are witnessing more and more articles on developing a routine which is focused on self-development and self-improvement. More people are participating in the need to feel cared amidst the crisis. Animals are the best way to feel loved and to cope. People are turning towards various animals like cats and dogs to cope with isolation. Animal Shelters have seen a rise in the number of people willing to adopt a pet. In the newly published list of animal livestock, China eliminated dogs and regarded them as loyal companions.
Finding new hobbies, learning new courses, languages and skills also play a major role in self-improvement. Online learning companies have seen a spike in the number of students enrolled. The pandemic has seen the shutdown of various educational institutions and with this has emerged the trend of digital learning and E-Classrooms. Technology has become the new ‘IT’ thing. People are turning towards applications like Zoom and Google Meet for webinars and ed-tech sessions. Zoombombing has become a new trend and so has fancying up your zoom background depicting the real ‘YOU’ as a morale booster. Cocooning is a term that was coined by the forecaster, Faith Popcorn in 1981 and has become a reality in the pandemic 2020 where all of us are working from home.
We are seeing more people preferring locally produced necessities over exported products. The trust in organic and homemade has risen manifolds due to the fear of contaminated packed and canned products. More people are cooking their meals themselves over ordering online. This trend of new conscience and the need to use organic and environment friendly products can also be seen in fashion. Consumers are turning towards sustainable and ethical brands. This implies that post-pandemic fashion may also see a rise in simple, sustainable clothing.
Various luxury brands like the LVMH group, Prada, YSL, Balenciaga and fast fashion brands like Zara and Mango have shifted their production to make masks and medical gears needed to fight the pandemic. Companies like Apple, Tesla and Ford have also joined in the battle against COVID-19. Various home brands like Good Earth are manufacturing hand sanitizers. The need for brands to be ethical is a growing mindset especially in the wake of the pandemic. This is in response to the consumer ideology of being more conscience and turning to brands which have empathized and supported people during the crisis. More brands are involving their consumers with online challenges and conversations to build a strong connection and to make them feel like a part of a community.
With the lockdown of production units, the manufacturing of fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21 etc. have come to a standstill. However, this might prove to be a notable turn for the fashion industry as fast fashion is the key reason for this industry being the second greatest cause of pollution on the planet.
The industry might see the revival of slow fashion, bespoke, handcrafted and organic garments and accessories complementing the developments in technology to support the idea of sustainable and planet-friendly fashion. It is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions and we might witness some groundbreaking innovations not only in the fashion industry but in various walks of life, post-pandemic. Till then, we all need to rise up as a community and keep our spirits alive.
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Consultations with NIFT, Delhi faculty, Ms. Shresha Rai
Consulations with the founder of www.streettrotter.com , Ms. Shraddha Gupta