Every woman who loves fashion knows that the industry moves like lightening. Things that were once the hottest trends become passé in just a few months (only to become fashionable again sometime later). New designers are constantly taking the world by storm. Women are constantly cleaning out their closets and restocking them with the latest and greatest looks from their favorite boutiques – creating a steady stream of demand for which the industry is happy to supply.
The fast pace of the fashion world has even birthed its own cottage industry: “fast fashion,” where boutiques sell trendy pieces at extremely low prices. The garments are often made quickly, with cheaper fabrics than a high-end designer might use… but, given that the pieces will only be in fashion a short while, it seems worth the small investment to shoppers. For decades now, “fast fashion” companies have been taking an ever-larger market share of the fashion industry.
Image source: Heuritech
Unfortunately, the consequences of fast fashion haven’t been great for the industry at large. Ever wondered why you always see stocked racks at H&M? It’s because the company has countless warehouses, filled with extra product they can pull for a store at any time. Because these companies thrive on quantity, not quality, they tend to over-order garments in the hopes of selling as much product as possible while the trend is still hot.
This model has been working for a very long time. Shoppers were buying cheap fashion at an alarming rate; in 2019, fast fashion retailers had a global market share of 36 billion U.S. dollars! It seemed as though fashion would continue to provide massive quantities of trendy clothing and make a killing doing it forever…
But then came COVID-19. These days, the fashion industry – like everything else – has been turned totally upside down.
How COVID-19 Has Changed the Fashion Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the lives of individuals around the world. In nearly every country, citizens have been forced to quarantine, businesses have closed, and entire industries have sagged under the losses of customers and steady income. And no industry has been hit as hard at the world of fashion – in fact, Imran Amed, the founder and CEO of The Business of Fashion claims that the pandemic has led to “a real existential crisis for the fashion industry.”
Since the pandemic began, many women are spending more time in their homes. If they’re working, they’re likely doing from home offices. If they’re visiting friends and family, it’s via video meeting software. If they’re having a date night with their partner, it’s typically a night in. As a result, most women have stopped visiting their favorite shopping spots. Clothing sales dropped an astounding 34 percent in March 2020 alone!
If no one is buying clothing, what’s happening to all those trendy garments? Most of them are sitting in warehouses – a situation that may be causing extreme anxiety for many retailers and designers. If their garments are going unsold, their fashion moment may pass them by – which could result in tons of fabric waste and lost profits. This is a particularly foreboding prospect for the industry, which has seen blowback from the amount of waste it produces (some 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions in 2019).
In addition to the immense volume of fabric waste, many retailers are feeling the weight of the pandemic’s economic impacts. Thanks to stay-at-home orders and fast-rising unemployment, many women simply aren’t shopping as much as they would in normal circumstances. This means that countless fashion retailers, from boutiques to big box stores, are experiencing lost profits that can be dangerous for their long-term sustainability.
However, things aren’t all bad. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has said that “people’s values are really going to have shifted” in the fashion industry following the pandemic. This force pause can help industry leaders take stock of the fashion world and help them shape a better future – for designers, retailers, and consumers alike.
What is The Future of Fashion?
So, what will the future of fashion look like? The answer is still hazy. After all, the pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world, and consumers still haven’t returned to their usual shopping habits. However, there are some clues we can look at to get a glimpse of how the fashion industry will change in the coming months and years. It looks to us like three things will be at the heart of this change: ecommerce, higher-quality clothing, and a push for sustainability.
Before the pandemic, women made about 80% of their clothing purchases in a physical store. But now that stores are closed, we’re increasingly looking toward online shopping. This is one change that’s likely to stick. Customers like convenience, and there’s nothing more convenient than buying something from the comfort of your home! Fashionistas can expect more of their favorite brands and stores to offer online shopping in the post-COVID world.
Right now, it may feel like quality clothing has fallen by the wayside. After all, so many of us have spent the last few months in sweatpants and tee shirts! But fashion is all about feeling your best – and eventually, many women will want to put on something nice once again. However, the term “nice” might take on new meaning in the post-COVD world.
It’s likely that many people will continue a partially isolated existence even after things to return to “normal.” They’ll keep working from home, they’ll keep shopping online, and they’ll limit the amount of time they spend out on the town. Therefore, when they DO decide to go out, they’ll want to wear something TRULY luxurious! It’s likely that many women will opt for higher-quality clothing in the future.
Finally, the biggest change the fashion industry will make in the aftermath of COVID-19 is a push toward sustainability. Many retailers were already moving toward more ethical practices before the pandemic began by striving for better worker conditions and less fabric waste. But now that there is a lesser benefit to fast fashion and massive quantities of clothing, they will likely move to an on-demand sales model.
Additionally, retailers will have to consider sustainability in the prices of their clothing. Customers are already used to paying less for their fashion, and while high-quality garments may merit a higher cost, they will not be able to price out the masses to meet their bottom line. As a result, women may be able to purchase high-quality clothing at a lower cost, giving a wider range of women access to gorgeous garments.
This Company Might Be the Answer
These changes may seem impossible for the fashion industry to attain – until you realize that one company in New York City has already done it. The company is called Baltini, and they are an online fashion platform that offers high-end fashion at incredibly low prices. The company seamlessly combines fashion and technology in a way that just might be the future of fashion.
Your Favorite Brands Online:
Baltini works like this: the company partners with brands and retailers around the world (currently, they offer fashion from stores across Italy). The stores list their inventory on Baltini’s platform, where shoppers around the world can order pieces on-demand. Then, the items are shipped directly to the buyer’s front door!
Currently, Baltini’s selection includes over 5,000 luxury items from over 100 international brands. Whether you want a Gucci gown to wear on a date or a pair of Fendi leggings for lounging at home, you’ll find it on their website.
High-Quality and 100% Authentic:
Everything Baltini offers on their platform is high-quality and 100% authentic – no fakes or knockoffs! This is a promise the company takes very seriously – in fact, every garment undergoes an on-site inspection before it ships to the customer! This is ideal for any fashionista that loves quality, brand-name clothing; you will never have to worry about getting a poor-quality item in your Baltini order.
Fashion for Everyone:
Finally, Baltini is dedicated to making high-end fashion accessible to all. Their store is the ultimate in price sustainability – items are regularly 35% off retail price! Whether you’re shopping the sale page (which offers savings up to 60%) or browsing the latest additions to Baltini’s collection, you’ll always find a low price for your favorite luxury clothing.
Additionally, Baltini has partnered with Swedish bank Klarna to offer financing options (currently only available for U.S. customers). With Klarna, you can buy a chic handbag or elegant dress and pay for it in four monthly installations. This makes it even easier for women to get gorgeous, high-end clothing into their closets – no matter what their income may be.
The fashion world, like many industries at the moment, is in flux as the COVID pandemic continues. But with companies like Baltini around, it proves that the industry can adapt and serve fashion lovers in a way that is safe, accessible, and (of course) totally in style.
Article by Sylvia Hanna.