How will the fashion and clothing manufacturing market change after covid

How the fashion market may change after Covid-19

The world has been living at a fast pace since the 20th when many technologies were developed, causing changes in the way we live, our values, our priorities and even our expectations for the future. Inventions such as airplanes, cameras, home appliances and computers were often a result of technologies developed during periods of struggle, such as the two World Wars for example. Ever since the Cold War, the world lived in a period of relative peace where the middle class grew, there was more disposable income and people were driven to buy fashion items as a form of self-improvement. It seemed as if our lives were always on full speed, but that was about to change in 2020 with the world forced to quickly adapt to a new scenario and new ways of living.

The consequences of a public health crisis had a hard impact on the fashion industry and its stakeholders and, consequently, fashion brands were prompted to rethink their processes and approaches. With consumer behaviour and lifestyle changing rapidly, fashion’s only choice was to be flexible and resilient. During 2020, many new terms and trends came to life and despite the worst part of this pandemic hopefully being over soon, its impact will certainly not be temporary.

With that being said, our goal is to understand what some of the most talked-about trends and topics are.

Nearshoring/Reshoring: although they do not mean the same thing, both terms are correlated. Nearshoring means manufacturing in nearby countries and has been especially popular in recent years with brands who target customers aware of the social and environmental issues linked to the fashion industry. Reshoring refers to activities that were outshored due to lower costs abroad for example, and are now being brought back to their original country. Due to the impacts of covid-19, 64% of American manufacturers said that they will likely reshore or nearshore their activities from Asia to North America. That is mainly because of three aspects: more responsive and agile supply chains, better control over quality and transparency. By manufacturing closer to the final consumer, brands can adjust the production quantities or cease the production more easily and then resume activities faster when the scenario improves. Flexibility and agility are two things that brands will be looking for after 2020 as a way to minimize risks. 

Timeless pieces: one of the things observed by trend forecasters in 2020 was that although people were shopping less frequently and buying fewer things, the average spending on fashion online stores increased. Another trend observed was that there was a preference for items that are perceived as timeless and classic. It can be assumed that with the world going through an economical crisis, people will likely prefer to buy investment pieces. Although they might cost more, they will last longer and won’t be out of fashion after only two seasons.

Sustainability: A survey conducted in 2020 concluded that ⅔ of consumers believe that it is more urgent than ever before to battle against climate change, and sustainability was mentioned as the most important action for fashion brands in the years to come for Gen Z and Baby Boomers. Across the different continents involved in the survey, over 50% of consumers confirmed that they would pay more for an eco-friendly product, with Middle-eastern and South American consumers being the most inclined to spend more on sustainable brands.

With the world going through a period of change and uncertainty, it is essential for brands to keep an eye on trends among consumers and other brands as a way of understanding the present and trying to predict the future. Mapping these trends can help brands and entrepreneurs to know where to invest, how to plan their strategy and which pathway to choose.