Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can stop the New York Fashion Week. It looked a bit different, though. The shows went on with fewer fans, and less fanfare. Perhaps the strongest change came from some of the most reputable designers forgoing the Fashion Week all together.
According to Tory Burch, they want to be respectful with whatever is happening around them, but they are fighting for all the business that they can get amid all the challenges.
As the United States went on lockdown, many clothing shop sales decreased to 79%. Some retailers managed to survive, others failed. With work from home as the norm for many people, pajama sales surged at 133%, for slippers it went up to 75%. Goodbye jeans. Hello sweatpants!
Because of the pandemic, fashion may not be a priority for many. But, it’s actually a billion-dollar industry. It’s too big to fail, said Burch.
According to Dr. Valerie Steele, Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum director, back in the Depression, several people couldn’t afford to purchase new dresses. Many dressmakers also closed their businesses. We may see the same thing today.
Dr. Steele said that some of the best fashion pieces came out of the most challenging times. There were tons of creative fashion produced back in 1918, 1919 and after the Spanish flu epidemic. Many people were just excited about exploring new feminine, beautiful fashion touches again.
Dr. Steel said that fashion will survive the coronavirus ordeal. The idea of making oneself look special and the concept of dressing up appears to be hard-wired into humans. That is good news for the fashion industry. The bad news? Recovering for many brands will be difficult. It can take so much time.
It’s already been difficult. Lord & Taylor, one of the country’s oldest department stores, officially announced the closure of all its stores.
At least 15 apparel businesses have filed for bankruptcy. This includes Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, and JCPenney.
CEO and president of Saks, Marc Metrick, closed all 40 of his shops temporarily.
Meanwhile, as other menswear labels are folding, the brand Men’s at Saks is performing well unexpectedly.
Tracy Reese, a designer who moved her brand, Hope for Flowers, from NYC to Detroit, said that the plan is to make Detroit the business’ home base. The coronavirus pandemic escalated those plans. What wasn’t addressed was the country-wide reckoning on the race issue. She said she wasn’t a favorite of some fashion editors. It’s so challenging to gain financing.
Aurora James, a designer, is on Vogue’s September cover after challenging businesses to devote more space to Black-owned ventures. The “15% pledge” went viral.
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