New normal in fashion industry

Well-known designers shed light on the way forward
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

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Like most industries, the fashion industry has been hit badly because of the pandemic. But designers are staying positive and chalking out new strategies to keep their businesses afloat.

From wardrobe changes, handling their inventory to online fashion shows, things have changed the way the fashion industry is looked at now.

Virtual stores will be the new normal

Designer Payal Khandwala feels that there’s been a psychological impact across the fashion industry. She says, “No one is sure when things will start functioning again. Designers will have to start looking at how they can continue working by understanding what people need the most. The thought of customers choosing other priorities over buying new clothes is a scary proposition for the industry.”

She feels virtual stores will be the new normal. “We’ll have to work towards figuring out a 360-degree view to give the customer a complete feel of what it’s like to shop online as the physical touch is not going to be there anymore. It’s still in progress but it’s bound to happen.”

Getting workforce a challenge

Designer Anavila Misra, known for her organic use of materials, feels her approach to things so far, has worked in her favour. She says, “The materials we have been using are eco-friendly so there wouldn’t be any problem. But getting an ample workforce to execute it is a challenge.”

She wants her current employees to work from their hometown instead of travelling to the warehouse. “Working remotely is the way forward for a while,” she points out. As part of the new designs, Anavila and team are also including masks. She says, “We are giving a mask for every purchase, both as a statement piece and to remind everyone to stay safe.”

A challenge to handle the inventory

Paresh Lamba, chief designer and managing director of Paresh Lamba Signatures, says the pandemic has changed the way all businesses function and profits will be a distant dream for fashion and retail businesses for a while.

Paresh points out that designing has taken a different character at the moment, especially since big fat Indian weddings are now on hold.

“Small intimate affairs with limited guests and social distancing norms is what we see now. This has led to the ornate dressy wear being dumped in favour of clothes that have a more reusable status,” Paresh tells Metrolife.

However, he says that preserving the inventory has been a challenge. “In our case, we had to shut down right in the middle of the busiest wedding season. Most of the clothes that were created for the grooms and for people attending these weddings are stuck with us. Ready-to-wear is all up on sale. Before Winter 2020 clothes come on the racks, people are getting rid of their inventory by giving huge discounts on sales,” explains Paresh.

People shopping for comfort clothes

Designer Runa Ray says the pandemic has got designers and customers to rethink their strategy.

“Custom-made clothes will be a problem because of fitting and proximity issues. But online sales and marketing will boom. We are currently only liquidating inventory as manufacturing has also been withheld from other countries. Even tailoring in the domestic settings are put on hold,” explains Runa.

She sees a surge in people shopping for comfort clothing and medical protective clothing. “We cannot invest in too many social outfits and prefer to concentrate on athleisure wear. The demand for masks is now over-stepping the sales of shoes,” says Runa.

Party outfits still in demand

Designer Manoviraj Khosla says, like most other businesses, his business has hit a pause button.

“We were all set to participate in the India Fashion Week in Delhi with our new collection when the pandemic hit. Some designers are offering huge discounts on their inventory. I am not because most of our stuff is made by order,” Manoviraj.

He also feels every fashion business house is finding its own way to monetise its stocks. He still gets orders from small parties that happen periodically.

“Earlier, there were 100 people at a party, but now you have only 20. You have to wear different outfits because you will be meeting a different set of people each time,” he says.

Published 27 June 2020, 09:31 IST

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