New Reports: Time for Change & State of Fashion 2020 (Coronavirus update)


The study was conducted based on a survey of 116 sourcing executives from fashion retailers and brands predominantly in North America and Western Europe between April 14 and April 22, 2020.

Key findings:

First, the fashion industry’s sourcing operations have been hit hard by COVID-19

  • Sales revenues are expected to contract by 27 to 30 percent in 2020 year over year.
  • Jointed affected by store closures and supply disruptions, two-thirds of fashion sourcing executives expect a cut in sourcing volumes by at least 20 percent in 2020, while only 18 percent expect a smaller decline of between 5 and 20 percent.

Second, regarding fashion companies’ immediate response to COVID-19:

  • Most sourcing executives are adopting a mixed approach to managing existing orders through a combination of reducing the number of orders, reducing the quantities per order, and canceling finished-goods orders. Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) have canceled less than a quarter of their existing orders of finished goods, while 22 percent have not canceled any orders at all. In general, European fashion players are using cancellations less often than those from North America.
  • Most fashion retailers and brands (90 percent of respondents) are accepting shipping delays for at least some of their orders. Around two-fifths of respondents are accepting delays for more than half of their orders.

Third, fashion brands and retailers are taking measures to support critical supplier base:

  • Measures commonly taken by fashion companies include collaboration with factories in cost reduction, providing payment of raw material and fabrics, forward looking collaboration in research and development, or product design.
  • However, still, only 19 percent of respondents say they are providing pre-payment for sourcing orders.
  • Meanwhile, 45 percent of sourcing executives expecting more than half of their suppliers to be in the next six months.

Fourth, fashion companies are thinking about the “next normal” for apparel sourcing:

  • 76 percent of respondents believe that COVID-19 will accelerate flexibility and speed for apparel sourcing. This includes a high acceleration of more flexible product development with shorter lead times and smaller batch sizes in sourcing orders.
  • Achieving social and environmental sustainability in sourcing is becoming mainstream in the next normal. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on companies’ commitments to the safety of their customers, staff, and those working in the global value chain.
  • 74 percent of respondents anticipate that digitization of product development and sourcing processes will accelerate and 60 percent agree that on-demand production through (semi)-automation will be a key driver in enabling new business models.

Fifth, regarding fashion companies’ adjustment of sourcing destinations:

  • The report suggests “the trend to move volume out of China has been slowed slightly by COVID-19”, particularly because “the strong value chain integration in China that makes raw material access less disruption prone than the globally interconnected value chains that fashion production countries depend upon.”
  • South-East Asian sourcing markets have been less disrupted and are expected to gain share compared to the pre-COVID-19 five-year trend.
  • COVID-19 has led to a reversal of the medium-term trends in Bangladesh with about a third of sourcing executives expecting volume decreases.
  • 46 percent of sourcing executives indicated they expect the trend of “near-sourcing” to increase next year


Key findings:

  • The fashion industry is just at the beginning of its struggle with COVID-19: 1) duration and ultimate severity of the pandemic remains unknown; 2) Stores and factory closures have significantly disrupted the supply chain; 3) consumers’ demand plummets.
  • The developing world, where most clothing is currently sourced from, will face the most hardship caused by COVID-19, namely Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Honduras, and Ethiopia. While developed nations could recover from COVID-19 relatively fast, these developing counties, especially the least developed ones (LDCs), may suffer from a more extended period of high unemployment, which means widespread hunger and disease.
  • COVID-19 will result in significant shifts in consumers’ preferences: 1) The pandemic will bring values around sustainability into sharp focus, intensifying discussions around materialism, over-consumption, and irresponsible business practices. 2) A significant drop in consumer spending on apparel will result in massive inventory build-ups. 3) Social distancing has highlighted the importance of digital channels more than ever and the lockdown has elevated digital as an urgent priority across the entire value chain.
  • The fashion industry will look very different in the post-Covid19 world. 1) The ensuing financial distress will spur industry consolidation to an extent significantly greater than that caused by the 2008 global financial crisis. 2) COVID-19 will turn fashion into an even more “winner-takes-all” industry. 3) Innovation will scaled-up along the entire fashion value chain. Regarding sourcing, it means “near sourcing” and “vendor integration.”

Summarized by Meera Kripalu (Honors student, Marketing and Fashion Merchandising double majors).

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

34 thoughts on “New Reports: Time for Change & State of Fashion 2020 (Coronavirus update)”

  1. When the article stated that the fashion industry is just at the beginning of its struggle, it surely startled me. The idea that this is only the start is very alarming and makes me wonder what more will occur in these trying times. With nearly half of fashion companies canceling some orders and 22% of companies not canceling at all, it is very clear that overall there is not much clarity within fashion companies on what may be considered the best moves to make. The statement regarding that fashion will turn into an even more “winner-takes-all” industry due to COVID-19 could be very possible. I personally have seen many retailers providing bigger discounts than Black Friday sales and I wonder how much profit companies are bringing in. If this pandemic continues for longer than we expect, will some companies not be able to survive?

    1. I agree that this is all very startling. It is interesting seeing how many brands have starting offering insane discounts. These lower prices are nice for consumers, but they also show how panicked companies are becoming since it is more difficult to get shipments out and people are no longer ordering as much clothing. Not only are people staying at home more, which means they don’t need as many ‘going-out’ outfits or work clothes, many people are also struggling financially at this time as they have been laid off work due to the virus and its repercussions.

    2. Sadly but not too surprisingly, J crew filed bankruptcy last week, followed by Neiman…and JCPenney is expected to file soon.–neimans-jcrew-pier-1-more—are-about-to-start-flowing/#51a822444571

      You can track retailers’ merchandising strategy during Covid-19 from this wonderful source:

      On the other hand, as I know fashion companies are doing their best to improve cash flows and move their merchandise. For example, a program called “duty-drawback” may help companies claim some paid import duties back from the customs.

  2. The study shows dramatic results that COVID-19 is changing the way fashion brands and retailers are sourcing from other countries. These results and create new issues for fashion brands and retailers to learn how to navigate and come up with creative solutions. This means that they need to look at their product development and sourcing plan with new eyes, what worked in the past to keep their business profitable will not work in the current circumstance or the future. COVID-19 has turned the fashion industry inside-out, brands are learning how to be more flexible than ever before. I think this change in sourcing and order purchasing will be long lasting. Reducing the number of orders, reducing quantities per order, and canceling finished goods orders is only part of the combination of things that must be done to save businesses from failing during this time. These practices are not only beneficial during a time such as a global pandemic and financial downfall but also are very socially and environmentally charged practices. They create less overstock of inventory and less product made that could possibly not sell and be apart of an overproduction order. It is a very scary time we are all going through, this will definitely leave a lasting impression on the future of the fashion industry.

    1. COVID-19 is going to forever leave an imprint on the fashion industry. It’s crazy that businesses strategies that have been used for decades and are proven to be successful are now going to have to change due to these unprecedented times. I definitely think it’s going to impact all aspects of fashion businesses and allow them to be prepared if another future event occurs like this. In addition, how companies act with their consumers during this time is going to leave a lasting affect on consumers well after this is over.

    2. great comments! Just to add that the problem facing the fashion apparel industry is also on the supply side–it is not rare to see small and medium sized apparel and apparel accessory factories in leading supplying countries (eg: China, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh) permanently closed during Covid-19. This is why fashion brands and retailers have to strike a balance between sustaining their own companies and saving the supply chain. Truly not easy!

    3. You made a great point that the COVID-19 could be an opportunity to promote sustainability further in the fashion apparel industry—why we have to consume so many products, with a reduced sourcing volume, can retailers push factories less hard for the delivery time and production cost? Will garment factories be able to provide their workers with a safer working environment—considering all the required “physical distancing” measures…Or will social responsibility be even more vulnerable as companies are less financially resourceful to invest in this area… will wait and see

    4. COVID-19 is going to change not only the Fashion industry but all industries forever! Brands are definitely changing and I also agree that the supply chain is going to change. Reducing the number of orders could be something we see to continue as companies may be learning how to survive with less overstock and having fewer clothes that they aren’t selling. Hopefully, companies learn from this and can use this in becoming more sustainable! It will also be interesting to see how consumers change as well. The article mentions that there will be a consumer drop in spending, which I totally think will happen. I am very curious to see if it will lead to some more sustainable changes.

  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our world and many industries – fashion is no exception. It will be interesting to see exactly what happens as a direct result but the predictions are interesting. One thing that stuck out to me was the trend of near-sourcing. What does this mean for consumers? Higher prices, longer wait times, less assortment? In a world where sourcing comes mainly from China, the fate of countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, etc. is unknown. The shift in consumer preferences is also something to look forward to. Will consumers lose interest in brick and mortar stores due to online shopping during this pandemic? Brick and mortar stores were slowly fading but could this be their final breaking point? So many brands have already suffered financial loss and will most likely have to remodel in order to remain relevant in a post pandemic world. Consumers tastes will definitely shift and they will become more price sensitive due to financial struggles. Already brands like Neiman Marcus and J.Crew have filed for bankruptcy and Yves Saint Laurent ditched the traditional fashion calendar – whats next? I do believe that fashion is only at the beginning of its struggles with COVID-19 and I am eager to see how the industry adapt to its situation.

    1. I totally agree with your comment. Along with all of the other impacts of this virus, the fashion industry is going to completely transform. It is going to accelerate the process of moving completely online and involvement in e-commerce operations. I have heard that Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have been negatively impacted by the virus and have filed for bankruptcy. I think that brick-and-mortar companies are facing negative impacts right now because they are not as technologically advanced as e-commerce platforms. For the most parts, e-commerce brands can still operate in the midst of a pandemic. This is going to allow consumers to focus more on convenience when shopping rather than experience. I think this is going to completely ruin the legacy of brick-and-mortar stores forever.

    2. Excellent comments, Taylor! I don’t have the answer to many of your questions yet, but I agree totally that COVID-19 may provide us an opportunity to ask bold questions—what if consumers stop buying clothing…what will happen if we nearly stop sourcing from China? What is the maximum flexibility of the supply chain? What old practices in the fashion industry (from merchandising to sourcing) must go away… Would be interesting and meaningful to keep watching these issues…

  4. This article helped to give me a real idea of the effects of COVID-19 on the fashion industry. It showed much how this virus effects all parts of the fashion industry, especially sourcing. It helped me to notice that developing countries like Bangladesh are going to have a harder time bouncing back from the coronavirus because they do not have the resources to help them do so like the United States. While sourcing is making its way out of China, which has been accelerated by the virus, it is going to be hard for sourcing operations to occur in developing countries (LDCs). It’s going to take them for those countries to rebuild their economies and recover from unemployment. I also really enjoyed reading about the new-normal, which may occur after this virus is over. This includes more focus on environmental and social sustainability, near-shoring, scaled up innovation, and become an even more “winner-takes-all” industry. I found it interesting that environmental and social sustainability will be improved after the virus. I hadn’t thought about how the virus will influence sustainability in sourcing at all and didn’t think the two were interrelated. This virus has increased companies commitment to their relationships with their consumers. Many companies will now start to incorporate humanizing aspects and that includes sustainability efforts.

  5. The article talks about the many changes that the fashion industry is undergoing in the midst of this pandemic and how companies are working towards having shorter lead times while producing a smaller volume of product. This causes me to wonder what the future holds for fast fashion. This practice is already quite taxing on manufacturers as they are forced to push out product at a very fast pace already, and now they are expected to shorten that process even further. While the article states that companies are looking to decrease the volume they produce, I am wondering if this is just because people are staying home a lot more now and thus aren’t searching for as much clothing that they would normally buy for work or to go out in. If this is the case, will these companies have to increase the volume of product available once everything settles after the pandemic and people start going out more again? This increase coupled with shorter lead times would likely put even more weight on garment workers’ shoulders and may lead to greater issues in terms of poor working conditions for garment factory workers.

  6. I think it is very interesting what is going on with production and sourcing right now. I understand why retailers are cancelling orders as well as reducing the size of orders because they are trying to make up for their losses with the 27- 30% decrease in sales due to COVID-19. This leads to a snowball effect as suppliers now struggle with excess inventory that is unpaid for or a lack of new purchase orders from retailers. The suppliers are definitely facing the greatest struggle during the pandemic. I believe that suppliers will now turn to off-price retailers in order to sell cancelled order goods. I think there will be massive discounting and retail sales once the quarantine is lifted later in the summer in order to get rid of all the spring and summer merchandise. I feel bad for retailers and suppliers because this matter is out of their control and consumers are restricting their spending due to the chaos of COVID-19. However, I feel bad the most for suppliers, who are clearly struggling with health precautions in their own country, usually with underdeveloped health systems, while also dealing with the major losses of canceled or reduces orders, and a lack of new orders flowing in. It is scary to see how much this will affect the future of the fashion company for years to come. Furthrmore, I can see how there might be shorter lead times after the pandemic is over. Production will be increasing significantly after the virus because there is very little going on right now.

  7. Most of the information we see in the news focuses on the pandemic’s effects on retailers (which are generally resilient), and on consumers (who tend to have short memory spans). I think the most profound changes will be distant and behind the scenes, especially with supplier countries. The discussion about the anticipated hardships in LDCs like Bangladesh is interesting because I have not seen it brought up in the media. This could be because it seems irrelevant to the American public, but many of these countries are so integral to our supply chain. Part of me wonders if complications will cause companies to relocate their sourcing to more stable countries like China, only to exacerbate the coronavirus-related hardships in LDCs.

  8. This article is indeed scary but also has some interesting positive highlights. First of all, this article could’ve been written about any business on any continent in the world post COVID-19. It could be an airline, a college, or a daycare center. The post covid-19 will look different for a long time, possibly forever. I think the fashion industry is being proactive in preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Having 49% of companies canceling less than 25% of their orders while 22% canceling no orders shows that the industry is still undecided in how to move forward. The differences also vary between European retailers canceling orders less than US retailers. The varying degrees of how the companies are proceeding may even be influenced by their political beliefs. Just as we are seeing on TV people are on both sides of the argument whether to stay conservative and open slowly or open everything and take our chances. The positives coming out of this are 76% of company executive surveyed think covid-19 will make companies leaner by being more flexible in their product development and smaller quicker order batches. Also, they will be more sensitive to social and economic sustainability and workplace safety. These new business models will also rely on digital product development and semi automation making the surviving companies leaner, more productive and socially conscious.

  9. I found this article to be enlightening on the new direction of the fashion industry post COVID-19. I was encouraged to see how COVID-19 could push the industry to be more efficient and move forward with digitizing and automation. COVID-19 has highlighted weak points in the fashion industry and I think they lessons learned can be beneficial. For example, this article speaks to social responsibility and sustainability being enforced even more. In terms of social responsibility safety measures will be increased like with workers wearing masks and gloves as a result of COVID-19. These practices can not only keep workers from contracting the virus, but also from coming in contact with harmful chemicals. This could also be the push consumers need to stop over consumption. The fashion industry has been working hard to keep up with the demand. Now because of COVID-19 there are inventory surpluses. This pandemic may help decrease materialism and over consumption which will help consumers psychologically and help the environment. The supply chain could also be more localized with the help of automation. While this plan was more in the future, COVID-19 could make this plan a reality.

  10. I feel that the COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat of learning experience for not only as individuals , but for businesses especially those in the fashion industry. As mentioned in the article, the fashion industry’s sourcing operations have been hit hard by COVID-19. And, American retailers have been hit the hardest due their supply chains predominantly consisting of Asian countries where COVID-19 has caused serious economic implications. In terms of sourcing, maybe if the U.S. companies had not put all of their eggs in one basket (Asia, specifically China), we would be experiencing less complications with order fulfillments. Hopefully, going forward apparel companies will be able to bounce back from this down-turn and hopefully consumers like myself will be able to shop with the brands that once offered trendy clothing again. I have yet to see any new spring/summer collections be released , and I’m hoping that this is not the new normal.

  11. After reading this blog post it seems that the fashion players that will come out the other side are sustainable brands and eCommerce brands. Since people are going to be very shy with spending money after this financial crisis it is more important than ever for companies to listen to what the consumer want. People are going to be very hesitant to go outside and interact in stores, therefore, brands need to create an Omni-channel to give customers more options to purchase goods. Also, automation is going to be huge because it can save retailers money since it is more efficient than cheap labor, and also will allow them to make more products in a short amount of time. Since trends and consumers needs are going to be very different than before COVID-19, retailers will not want to create bulk orders months in advance, but rather small orders when there is high demand. While retailers are forced to make huge adaptations to their normal business models, this article shined light on the hardships of manufacturers and underdeveloped countries. Unemployment coming from lack of orders and more automation will leave people hungry and economies plummeting. Like it stated in this post, the least developed countries such as Bangladesh may have the largest hit. It is very sad that the behind the scenes of the apparel industry are not being addressed as much in the media.

  12. I think the challenge of COVID-19 has really pushed the fashion industry to give out innovative ideas and revolution. The whole merchandising process is affected by COVID-19, factories and retail shops are forced to close by government quarantine policy, customers are not allowed to go out, the entire actual purchasing process is shut down. To overcome the midst, most of the fashion retailers are turning their actual selling to virtual and figure out their way to due with their inventories. For example, the possibilities of local factories and moving their supply chain to Western counties. Fashion retailers also start to rethink their traditional marketing strategies and how to be more flexible to deal with stocks. They may start to think about brand image and social responsibilities as they can see how brand image affects their business, just like Nike and LVHM companies. I hope I can see a brand new and more positive image in the fashion industry after COVID-19.

    1. According to EDITED (, the number of clothing newly launched to the US retail market dropped by roughly 61% this year compared with 2019. We know capacity was a big concern for more sourcing from the western hemisphere. It could be interesting to watch whether the reduced volume will boost more local sourcing.

  13. When I read that developing countries will encounter the most severe hardships post COVID-19, it concerned me a lot because I never really thought of the huge impact it may take. And like the article said, lest developed countries (LCD’s) will suffer the worst since retailers will shift sourcing from these countries, and these countries highly rely on the fashion industry to keep their lives afloat. This means that the individuals in these LCD may suffer mass hunger and deadly disease. I know many countries are highly concerned more about themselves at the moment, but once COVID-19 settles and lives start going back to normal, I think it is very important to keep an eye on LCD’s because they will need other country’s help in improving their lives again, economically and physically.

  14. Prior to reading this article I understood that the Co-Vid 19 would affect the fashion industry greatly and as time has gone on it has become even more relevant how much it will affect the industry. I do think it is essential that these companies are adopting a mixed approach to managing their existing orders however I do think it is important that they start plans beyond that. It will be important for them to have this accelerated flexibility and speed. This acceleration may involve things like (semi)-automation. I think this is interesting because we have discussed how this automation can also lead to some job cuts because of less workers needed in processes. Unemployment is one of the largest issues I’ve seen emphasized during all of this. Many LDC countries will face unemployment because their factories will not be used at the same rate which in these countries means hunger and disease which is a critical issue on a humanitarian level for shoppers and brands. I think that this unemployment can even have even more long term effects extending into the US as consumers preferences move towards digital after this Co-vid19 crisis ends, this can cause even more brick and mortar store closures over time. These brick and mortar closures will lead to job losses of employees due to their lack of roles. To compete at this time it is going to be essential that brands strengthen their online and sustainability at this time to keep from going under.

  15. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed our entire world and it has not spared the fashion industry in the slightest. One part in this blog post that really stuck out to me was the part where it says that the fashion industry is really only at the beginning of its struggle with COVID-19 and the ultimate duration and severity of the impact still remains unknown. It is still pretty frightening that so many of us are in the same position and we don’t know what can happen. This makes it even more difficult to understand what we can do from here. This blog also highlighted some things that I think are really important for us to keep in mind during this time. Developing countries, such as Bangladesh, will face the most hardship caused by the pandemic. This really stuck out to me because of our recent case study on Rana Plaza. Countries like the USA and China are in a much better position to handle the aftermath of an economic crisis, but LCDs will go through many more challenges and for way longer. This can leave people living in those places with an even worse quality of life, with hunger and disease. I think that it is important that the fashion industry in more developed countries, both apparel manufacturers and retailers, take this into account with how they source and run their supply chain operations post COVID-19.

  16. I believe this article was really eye opening during this crazy time we are all living through. The fashion industry is just one thing that COVID-19 has dramatically impacted, and its only just the beginning. Its been about 9 weeks now that we have been quarantined inside, businesses have closed or started working from home, and some filed for bankruptcy and announced they will be closing, and life as we knew it has been forever changed. Its so sad to see that sales are going to go down in the next few months and many stores are going to close. But when you’re stuck inside for weeks to months, not making money, and not going anywhere…how much clothes do you really need to buy? For the companies that are still open, they are struggling to keep up with their orders. Most companies have shipping delays due to the virus because their workers still need to follow the social distancing safety laws as well. I am both eager and nervous to see how the the fashion industry will work in the future due to all the changes it’s experiencing now. Its been about 9 weeks and its already been drastic, I cant imagine how this will look if the quarantine isn’t lifted anytime soon.

  17. COVID-19 has affected every person and every industry, especially fashion. While it was no surprise to me to see that some markets have been less disrupted, some markets have been extremely disrupted and have a long road to recovery. I found one point particularly interesting regarding the idea of recovering from COVID-19. The article states that developed nations will recover much easier than developed nations and that the fashion industry may need to focus more on innovation and sustainability amid this crisis. With that being said, I feel that COVID-19 is giving the fashion industry a chance to almost start fresh. While yes, companies and consumes want cheap and fast, we now need to concentrate on recovery. If that means sourcing our products from a less developed country over China, so be it. If that means choosing a more sustainable option over a cheaper unsustainable one that may be best. While this is not ideal for any industry, the supply chain abrasion could allow for the industry to take a step further towards doing whats right, not whats easiest, to help developing economies and the world.

  18. After reading this article I can see just how in-depth COVID-19 has affected many businesses both locally and nationwide, including the fashion industry. After reading that the fashion industry is at the beginning of its struggle I can only imagine what direction it will head in the next coming months. Many businesses are struggling and I have seen how many retailers are struggling. Just last week I read that J Crew had filed for bankruptcy. I wonder how many other retailers will be doing in the next coming months. But it’s also interesting to see how this financial stress is also bringing awareness to environmental sustainability. Although it is a very stressful time I am curious to see how positive aspects of the fashion industry can transcend.

  19. This blog post is incredibly eye opening. Much of retail was suffering prior to corona virus, and this blog brings to light many of the issues, however I believe there may be a silver lining within this. I think this will accelerate this transition from brick and mortar stores to ecommerce. This creates an interesting scenario however, with millennials preferring experiential retail, but may only have the opportunity to shop their favorite brands online now. Is there a way for marketers to strategize to combine the two? Will the pandemic completely shift millennials preferences? It will be interesting what comes of this pandemic. On another note, I think it is interesting that the problem the fashion industry is facing is not just on the consumer side, but also on the supply side. It is unfortunate that greater hardship is anticipated in LDC’s such as Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Honduras, and Ethiopia. I haven’t heard the media cover this side of the issue yet, and it is just as, if not more important, than the retailer side of the issue. Although back to the silver lining in it all, this may create more flexible and speedy sourcing operations with shorter lead times, which could benefit consumers.

  20. The COVID-19 virus has had a devastating affect on the global economy. Among the hardest hit are travel, entertainment, restaurants, retail, and more specifically fashion and apparel. While this pandemic has created both challenges and opportunity, what is certain is that the fashion industry will be seeing many changes in the foreseeable future. The primary issues the fashion industry will have to deal with include: consumer preferences, supply chains, inventory management, consumer behavior, bankruptcy, and unemployment. If people aren’t commuting to work or going out to eat, their wardrobes will be different. People are no longer paying for new clothing for these occasions. Supply chains are collapsing, as suppliers are struggling with excess inventory. Giant corporations are going bankrupt, or are nearing bankruptcy. People without jobs can no longer afford to buy the same clothing, and do not need work apparel. However, in order to survive this pandemic, U.S. fashion companies have decided to turn this into an opportunity, and change the way they are selling. For example most companies have gone exclusively virtual. Online shopping is a major source of income during this time, and I am curious how designers and retailers will use their creativity to keep their customers interested.

  21. When I read this post it answered a lot of the questions I have been asking myself about how the retailers and consumers are reacting now, what steps they are taking to try and prevent too much damage in the future and what happens if this goes on for a longer period of time than initially expected. There have been a lot of delays in shipping, which I have noticed specifically when ordering items from Amazon with even simple products like coffee cups. It doesn’t seem like once this pandemic officially ends that retailers will just be able to go back to normal because of the fact that the supply chain has been completely ruined. Something good that will come out of this is that their will be an even stronger stance toward sustainability and hopefully more focus on local production. Although, this is nothing like the Great Depression, in some ways the outcomes will be the same in terms of people spending less on clothing and apparel and more on experiences and living life. This will only result in retailers and businesses hurting even more and it is hard to imagine how they will be able to recover.

  22. I really liked this article. I can see it is from the spring semester and I am in the summer section of FASH 455. I have enjoyed taking this class in such a momental time in history. Everything is changing so fast and it has been interesting to see how the textile and apparel industry must adapt. Even from the time of this article in May, most stores had been shut down because of COVID. In July now we are seeing reopening of some store locations (hopefully this trend continues) but change is clear. I related the finding of executives in this article to my personal experience on a retail floor. I have been in corporate but I truly believe that being on the floor you get a better understanding as you are closer to the customer. The reshaping of the boutique I work at shadows what the executives had predicted. There has been a sharp increase to online demands, the store expanded their online platform, this has been instrumentally the store’s survival. Customer demands are met online, over and ipad or phone where customers can browse the instagram or website and place orders with a real associate, this feels like the new norm. Yet, I have to say that I believe in store business will not go anywhere. It may reduce in size and may look different than you once saw it but there will always be a demand to touch and feel a physical product before buying. I know I am one of those customers who need to try in stores.

    On a different note, I liked the topic of “near sourcing”, this trend has been mentioned a few times over the course. As near sourcing cuts production times I feel this will be more important in the future as well as near sourcing supports the Western regional trade network, meaning goods coming in will benefit from free trade. How will this shift take place, are the countries in NAFTA and USMCA ready to adapt to this change?

  23. The fourth key finding discusses how fashion companies are thinking about the “next normal” for apparel sourcing. One of the bullet points mentions how achieving social and environmental sustainability in sourcing is becoming mainstream in the next normal. We have discussed the impact the Rana Gaza disaster had on socially responsible sourcing— specifically workers rights. Being that I am specifically interested in sustainability in fashions future, I am also aware that this word tends to be tossed around because it sounds good to consumers (basically you can call anything sustainable or “more sustainable” even if it really is not). The article does not directly explain what sustainable actions are predicted in this ”next normal”, and I can only hope that this means real change and putting a legal definition to using the word “sustainable”. A major prediction I have been making includes the decrease in over-consumption and only producing what WILL be consumed. This would help decrease the mass amount of waste the fashion industry creates.

    Here is an article about “How sustainability can save the fashion industry after Covid-19” if sustainability also peaks your interest:

  24. It was interesting to read this blog post after the initial stages of the pandemic are in the past. By now, it is evident that COVID-19 had significant impacts on the fashion industry initially. However, it is interesting to see which hypotheses occurred and which did not. The theory that sustainability would play a substantial role amid and beyond the pandemic holds true. Today, sustainability is important to the everyday consumer because they are educating themselves on the issue rather than just fashion majors understanding the idea of sustainability. On the other hand, while the demand for apparel decreased early on in the pandemic because of social distancing orders, this has not been the case since. If anything, I believe that the demand for apparel has potentially increased more than before the pandemic because of people’s buying habit transitions. Since stay-at-home orders are more scarce, many consumers are back to a relatively similar pre-pandemic lifestyle. While the pandemic continues to affect any and all industries, I believe that the fashion industry responded well to the pandemic because of early-on strategies put in place.

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