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How the pandemic will shape the fashion world


May 31 2020 - A total of 61 percent Indians reported less time shopping online in the wake of the current crisis, while 43 percent of Indians have delayed purchasing clothes in the outbreak, says a report.

The research report titled "A Brave New World", was conducted by Liva, an ingredient fabric brand from the house of Aditya Birla Group, in association with MRM, the digital arm of Mccann World Group, to understand the mindset of consumers and to help its partner brands and other industry stakeholders.

The study has a sample size of 440 Indians of which 80 percent are female between the age 18 - 55 years. The findings are around how the world has changed given the pandemic scenario and how the fashion industry as a whole is going to evolve. Divided into three broad categories, it also talks about how the lockdown has changed our lives and how brands have reacted to it, what the consumer sentiments will be post lockdown and how brands will move forward.

Given the looming financial crisis, 35 percent consumers stated they would buy clothes at discounted rates, giving a bigger push to the growing discount culture. While the consumers have moved towards self-reliance, work out videos online and personal hygiene measures related queries have been on the rise. The data also indicated that people are eagerly looking forward to things going back to "normal".

Contrary to the popular belief that online shopping is on the rise, the data clearly indicated that 30 percent of the customers said they are actually not shopping online. In addition to that, 40 percent of the consumers also said they will be delaying clothing purchases as well as vacations. Given the low sentiments, purchases will now be need- driven and not want-driven.

Seasonal collections are unlikely to capture consumer's attention. Brands may have to look at planning a new collection every two months 1 in 3 consumers say seasonal collections never mattered to them. Only 1 in 4 consumers likely to buy the current Spring Summer collection. Three out of four of consumers are likely to wait for a new collection, have already bought what they need or not going to buy clothes for a while.

Voices from the industry also feel the industry is moving towards fewer, smaller and more season-less collections. Along with this shift, another major shift is Fashion will move towards a greener and fairer future, with a more conscious consumer driving this change. Three out of five consumers will switch to a more sustainable way of life in general. Two out of five consumers will choose brands which are sustainable and support sustainable practices.

Half the consumers say their attitude towards clothes has changed post the lockdown experience, hinting at changing consumer attitudes towards fashion. 26 per cent say their attitude has changed and they will buy clothes as the need arises - for occasions. 18 percent say their attitude has changed and they have discovered that comfort wins over style. 12 percent say their attitude has changed and they feel they can live with less clothes and declutter their wardrobe. 22 percent say their attitude is the same - they love styling and trying a new look everyday. 22 percent say their attitude has not changed greatly.

The fashion industry as a whole came together to support the cause of staying indoors and saluting the front line workers in order to not lose touch with their end consumers on social media. Social Media consumption has been higher than ever with 49 percent of the people stating it as their go-to solution for boredom.

"The idea behind this consumer study was to understand how to tackle this unforeseen pandemic and get a pulse of what our audience is feeling. Liva has always been an enabler and leader in assisting the industry to understand where the future of fashion is headed and what the consumers need. Keeping this thought in mind, the study was our way to gauge the consumer sentiments during the pandemic, something that brands and companies have never experienced before. Businesses are going to have to re-strategize and alter their services and messaging basis the new 'normal'. It's great to see that the future of fashion is going to be more responsible," said Srishti Sawhney, President and Global Brand Head, Grasim Industries, Pulp & Fibre Business.

The future of fashion will be around natural, durable and bio-degradable, basis the insights. The customer has had time to reflect during the lockdown and is now more inclined towards sustainability and eco-friendly fashion. Virtual fashion shows and department shows will comprise the new normal.

"Virtual reality is going to be the new reality moving forward. A great online experience is what's going to attract customers, so brands and companies will have to innovate and focus more on the digital and virtual experiences. Offline shopping will become a secondary medium, we can expect to see rise in virtual shopping stores, models to try to on clothes through the screen etc. We're going to witness a renewed revolution of the digital era with newer technologies and applications," said Rishi Sharma, Assistant Vice President Marketing, Birla Cellulose and Head Digital of Brand Liva.


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