Just like many different industries, the affect of the pandemic was felt by the style trade too. Quite a bit has occurred over the previous few months, with the trade rethinking its methods of functioning, and honing survival abilities amid uncertainty. While many extra adjustments are anticipated, one can’t ignore the progress it has already made.
Let us decode the developments that nudged the trade in direction of a brand new path.
The world of digital style exhibits
Designer Anifa Mvuemba, founding father of the style label Hanifa, organised her first digital style present in May 2020. Back residence, we witnessed main digital exhibits by FDCI, Reliance, and others–high fashion made its means into everybody’s homes, reversing the much-criticised exclusivity of the trade.
Designer duo Saaksha and Kinni, showstopper designers for Lakme Next Gen present this 12 months, “couldn’t agree more”, they stated. “Everybody is a front row viewer. Moreover, one does not have to travel [anymore] to watch the show; your living room is enough.”
Designer Shruti Sancheti instructed indianexpress.com: “2020 has changed the face of fashion temporarily, as virtual space happens to be one of the most coveted platforms to display one‘s creativity in the absence of physical shows.” She stated it has “democratised the industry”, permitting everybody to be part of the level-playing subject.
While many designers love the thought of holding digital exhibits, some do miss the thrill of watching fashions stroll the ramp of their creations. “People can’t see the details on the phone screen; the attention span of the audience is also low, and what the camera shows is not depicted right — like the colours or the silhouette may not be same as they appear on-screen,” Saaksha stated.
Sancheti is of the opinion that “one cannot compete with the touch and feel of actual designs, along with all the drama on the ramp and backstage.” She, nonetheless, stated that whereas the pandemic has been a tipping level, the way forward for the trade will revolve round “going phygital”. “It is creating a seamless balance of physical and digital elements to showcase the collection in the new normal.”
With bodily purchasing coming to a halt, the trade has been guaranteeing it continues long-standing relationships with prospects by way of know-how and bespoke providers. The Lakme NextGen digital style present in September launched the idea of ‘See Now, Buy Now’, which allowed viewers to straight join with a portal the place they may focus on with designers and buy ensembles instantly.
Designers, too, are providing to remain involved with prospects till the return of bodily purchasing. One such initiative is ‘Restore Love’ by Ujjawal Dubey of Antar Agni that refurbishes and reconstructs garments based on the event. The model’s initiative is backed by the thought of slowing down and consuming mindfully.
Similarly, designer Kunal Rawal, too, presents limitless customization. He does this by “repurposing wedding outfits to make them wearable for other occasions”. “This is because we believe in versatility,” he stated.
Recycling outfits is certainly the necessity of the hour not simply due to the decline in buying energy, however to be extra sustainable. Rawal added: “People are looking for intricately-detailed pieces that one could make more looks out of — basically get value for your money.”
More than couture, the main focus now could be on producing a product that one “needs”. Rawal stated, “Functionality and comfort are of prime importance for consumers these days; they only want to buy what they need now”.
Cutting down on extra for a greater tomorrow
Manufacturing got here to a halt within the preliminary months of 2020. This affected mass manufacturing and led to reducing down of waste — of which the trade was one of many main contributors. Nirmooha’s Prreeti Jaiin who has applied a sustainable coverage to make sure the excess doesn’t go uncontrolled, agreed. “Recently, we started following the policy of MTO (Made To Order), where we produce only one size per style. This lessens excess production and allows us to produce designs which are solely based on orders.”
While this resolution has affected Nirmooha as a model, Jaiin stated it has not stopped her from doing what’s for the higher good. “By following the policy, we not only offer customization when the orders are placed but also make it a point to help consumers style a single outfit in different ways. We make sure we help clients select the most accurate styles for themselves while convincing them to not place fresh orders but to pick from the already-stitched styles,” Jaiin defined.
Designer Payal Khandwala, in an earlier interview with indianexpress.com, had raised an necessary query: Do we actually want and wish this a lot stuff; and the way can we consolidate the 2?
She added: “We need to rethink and edit a lot of the noise, which will be key to the industry that is facing its most difficult time. We need to filter this industry to make space for good, honest, sincere labels with integrity that have a purpose, versus just making more of the same stuff.”
Adios, style calendar
With lack of sources, lay-offs, and manufacturing coming to halt, many designers ditched their style calendars. From Michael Kors to Georgio Armani, and Alexander Wang to Marc Jacobs, everybody has let go of their autumn/ winter collections.
The identical dialog did the rounds when Saaksha & Kinni burdened on the significance of going fluid. In an interview with this outlet, that they had talked about: “We feel it is really important as designers, as well as consumers that we just don’t shop for autumn/winter or spring/summer. It is important from a designer’s perspective to design ensembles that can be mixed and matched throughout all seasons.”
Agreeing, Kunal Rawal stated that not following a calendar allowed him the “luxury of time”. “We only did two shows this year which were thought about carefully. While I am excited about spring 2021, with business and pandemic being uncertain, it has become important to be mindful and keep our expenditure in mind.”