The global spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuously impacting the fashion industry. Besides other consequences the pandemic is having on the market, one major impact is on the development of new fabrics, styles and sales models. For instance, China-based jeans wear maker, Advance Denim recently introduced bio-antibacterial and environmentally safe denim fabrics.
Increase in online sales
“As traditional offline sales or the sales without features are likely to be bleak in the first half of 2020, brands are implementing a variety of online sales methods,” said Amy Wong, General Manager, of Advance Denim in an interview to Sportswear International. Brands are using technology-based solutions such as video and teleconferencing to mitigate the effects of this pandemic. “We have stopped our domestic and international travels and are conducting all our meetings through digital platforms,” added Tolga Ozkurt, Deputy General Manager-Sales & Marketing of the Turkey-based brand Calik.
In an exclusive interview to MFfashion, Renzo Rosso, Founder of Diesel says, "All this will pass but will leave many problems behind and we must all have the energy and the will to come back and do something incredible.”
Changing delivery schedules
Delivery timings are changing according to the single factory situation. “Wuhan is the most affected as restrictions on logistic have affected deliveries in the city. However, the impact on fashion, clothing and denim clothing is lesser in Guangdong and Zhejiang,” explained Wong.
Even though none of its workers or family members has been affected by the virus, Italian denim maker Candiani Denim is faced with increasing worker absences. “This is obviously affecting our production and partially impacting deliveries,” quoted Alberto Candiani in Sportswear International from the brand which is trying to be transparent about its current situation as “we need our customers to know what is happening and how we can deal with this together.”
To safeguard the health of workers, Italian denim brand Canclini 1925 has made some immediate changes in its organisation. “We have organised and implemented all procedures necessary to safeguard the health of our workers and, at the same time, guarantee the respect of planned deliveries we shared with all our clients these new guidelines and reassured them that we will be able to meet their industrial and production plans, and deliveries,” Simone Canclini, CEO of the brand was quoted as saying.
Shifting production out of China
The outbreak is compelling brands to move their production from China to Africa and Eastern Europe. Many global retailers are also shifting their orders from China to Bangladesh. “Retailers who depend heavily on China for sourcing their garments and other fashion products are desperately looking for alternative sources, which include Bangladesh,” notes Aryan Mahbub, Designer of the Bangladeshi brand Square Denims which is already receiving requests from Western buyers to create some space for additional orders. Manufacturers who earlier depended too much on China for raw materials such as fabrics, yarn, etc are placing orders with other countries to cut their dependence on China. Disruption in global supply chains This global issue is impacting everyone. The fashion world is likely to lose its entire season’s sales as shops are closed and showrooms aren’t offering new collections; closed textile companies are not producing; people don’t go out and don’t shop clothing.
“This outbreak is disrupting the global supply chain, taking a toll in particular on China's economy, which produces one-third of the world's apparel. It has also started to disrupt supply chains for more mid-market apparel, with retailers and fashion brands expressing concern about whether Chinese factories will be able to deliver f/w collections as planned,” explains Aydan Tüzün, Executive Director, global sales and marketing, Naveena Group, Pakistan.
Need to reflect on priorities, needs
Rosso says in China, "where in the last week we have returned to full capacity, but in fact, we have never stopped in the three months of the crisis thanks to smart working," he explains anticipating that investment is increasing in that market, while Japan and Korea are giving oxygen.
In fact, brands hope things to return to normalcy soon. However, once all this is over, everyone will need to reflect on their priorities and needs. They will need to produce with care and responsibility and not only aimed at quantity and price.
“We will have to re-evaluate small local shops and emphasise on the quality control of our products without depending on just neither number/volumes nor prices,” Paolo Gnutti the R&D head of Italian denim brand PG Denim opines.
And as Rosso sums up, “We must take advantage of this moment when most of us are at home to recharge and have the energy to start again and change everything.”