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Can Fashion Learn to Live With COVID?

Can Fashion Learn to Live With COVID?

17 August 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters

The moment we have dreamed of for so long finally seems to be on the horizon – “normality”. Or at least, some post-pandemic form of it looks to be increasingly likely. Both businesses and live events are beginning to ask the question of how to return to the life we miss, and how fashion can thrive like the fun-filled peacock it once was. What measures are globally being put in place, and can we afford to replicate what we’ve missed for so long?

Is live-event fashion bouncing back?

Across the next few months, some of the biggest names in fashion events are set to make their physical comeback. New York Fashion Week in September will require its attendees to show proof of full vaccination, while the Dior couture show in Paris were required to present a negative PCR test on entry. These kinds of measures will be expected to become commonplace over the foreseeable future, while the hesitancy of new variants and regional outbreaks remain a strong concern. In the midst of the uncertainty, accessible consumer markets like high street fashion are looking to return to regular opening hours. Many facets of the industry have looked to China to see how best to handle the longevity of COVID-19, being months ahead of what was to come for the rest of the world. The country is now seeing a renewed wave of concern, with domestic travel now less likely to be recommended. Across Europe, many countries are looking to introduce proof of vaccination as standard procedure for public spaces, while corporate-owned spaces may expect the same from their employees.

Are we prepared? 

Is there now a middle ground to avoid completely shut down? Possibly, but it may come at a personal price for some. ‘Normal life’ now looks to come paired with a lot of caveats. The biggest notch on the fashion calendar is the return of New York Fashion Week, its first in-person even since the beginning of 2020. Other international councils look to follow suit, adding in precautions such as mask mandates or showing proof of a negative test within a 48hr window. Understandably, there’s hesitancy. There’s potential added social pressure for those who don’t feel comfortable with being vaccinated, with the added uncertainty of plans needing to change last minute – arguably the most important lesson from the last 18 months we need to learn.

On the whole, shoppers are looking to jump back onto the ‘in real life’ consumption wagon. Physical stores are holding onto attention too, despite the circumstances still seeming volatile. Supply chains and future plans may still be under certain stressors, but the promising outlook may be worth the extra strategic planning.

Photo source: REUTERS/Mike Segar

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