Over the years, we have become used to having an emotional relationship with fashion brands. We shop when we feel happy when we want to feel better (“retail therapy”) and we shop and dress differently to deal with different moods. Our admiration for brands offers a new perspective for our consumerist culture where we find ourselves in an endless cycle of shopping.
Companies and brands appeal to our emotions and dreams and thus have forged a personal relationship with us. Usually, we shop to address the emotions we feel, but Since we aren’t in the midst of an individual or nation crisis that can be solved through shopping, we look to our favorite brands for guidance on how to behave and experience the coronavirus crisis. We as consumers expect and seek stronger personal connections with our favorite brands and products.
This is the exact reason why direct and aggressive marketing is not the way to communicate with customers these days.
Ikea’s ads recall the soft and homey feel of their rugs, precisely when we need a hug, while Nike boosts our optimism when it reminds us that we have always wanted to save the world from the sofa.
An Italian doctor who was disturbed when the hospital ran out of masks contacted the manufacturer and designer of the snorkel mask sold by Decathlon. The designer contacted the company that immediately released the copyright and the complete diagram for the mask’s production; the complete detailed instructions for 3D printing is now available on a designated website for anyone who needs it.
The coronavirus hasn’t changed fashion predictions, it has merely made them more extreme and arrive faster and with greater force, than we expected.
Commercial ads used to address quality of life, comfort, and protecting liberty or the environment; each of these parameters is more important now than ever.
How are fashion forecasts determined? Inspiration for fashion brands
Those who work at companies that predict fashion trends collect data, images, speculations on the social mood in the street, from fashion shows held by the different labels, and from social networks and newspapers. Sometimes they even use eye-catching colorful outfits sported by ordinary people that may indicate the next trend. They use this information to indicate the trends that will dominate the fashion industry for the next year and the major fast-fashion companies use these trend alerts to design their upcoming collections for the fashion chain shops.
Design priorities vary according to how our personal priorities have changed. Now that we have had strict isolation guidelines introduced into our lives, we are witness to many changes that have taken place in relatively little time.
The coronavirus is actually acting as a catalyst for fashion processes that have already begun to condense our economic reality. And it seems that 2020 will redefine the future of the fashion world now undergoing many upheavals.
Entirely new concepts emerged overnight. Suddenly, working from home has become the norm, and even when the current situation is over, it is likely that some businesses and employees will realize they are more efficient at home, without wasting time commuting: working from home will become a realistic option, even if previously it hadn’t been.
Our awareness has become sharper regarding health and hygiene, which only emphasizes the need for thread and fabric technologies that add value to the consumer, whose awareness now prizes and values health.
Tom Moaty, Tooshaaya’s designer, for example, designs handmade knitted garments using traditional techniques, combined with contemporary design and an organic language. She works with unique materials such as bamboo, soy, and recycled cotton, materials that are a healthier way to clothe ourselves: they are antibacterial and hypoallergenic. Bamboo also has a temperature control feature that makes it a material for year-round use (it cools when the weather is warm and is warm when the weather is cold). Soy also insulates and breathes.
Textile innovations create fabrics that are antibacterial, protect from air pollution, and can rejuvenate the body and physically protect it. There is a need for clothing to withstand and protect the wearer from extreme weather changes, along with a design that provides physical protection, like armor.
Accessories become an element that can be used for protection. Whoever thought a face mask would become a coveted item? It’s not that someone had the time to design a mask that is exciting, or even prove that it’s effective for more than 10 minutes.
Our awareness of fabrics that come into direct physical contact has also increased, and their ability to wick away sweat and protect us as needed.
People all over the world right now are required to remain confined to their homes, and even when the coronavirus passes, the understanding of the importance of a comfortable home will remain with us.
Comfort has become a keyword, and our home has become a multi-tasking space in just a few weeks. It provides us with a place to sleep, entertain ourselves, rest and work, all at the same time, and our clothes need to fulfill these same requirements.
Our clothes will need to be both practical and stylish.
We go from a Zoom meeting with the teacher to Zoom with the psychologist to Zoom with the university, and in between, we squeeze in a Zoom exercise class we found on Facebook. In fact, I thought about wearing makeup to bed, in case anyone decided to Zoom with me while I was dreaming. Our clothes must respond to the trend that meets the needs of video conference meetings.
The design of the neckline should be precisely oriented to the angle of the camera and designed to draw attention when seen in a digital format.
As quarantine is forced upon us it moves our focus away from the physical world to the digital world and products that stand out through the screen will become more valuable.
Bold prints, space games, fantasy worlds we dream of escaping to. Aqua is the color for 2021, a color that has digital qualities in a world where technology will be faster.
We knew about extreme climate change in the world, we have seen it in the news, we just didn’t know that what was happening in the world could affect us too. And now the coronavirus is turning the spotlight on an invisible physical challenge, one that crosses oceans and continents (and admit it, there’s nothing like an invisible enemy arriving at an unknown time to make us feel especially at ease).
Our clothing should provide us with protection, or at least a sense of protection, our survival craft is the one that will guide how we do our shopping, the need for durability, multi-purpose and beneficial products.
For anyone wondering why there was a run on toilet paper, the answer lies in the fact that in times of crisis people seek to regain control of their lives, and the way to retain a sense of control is to buy products that have a clear benefit rather than products that solely provide enjoyment.
The never-ending arts and crafts trend with kids at home will spill over into a trend of crafting the products we covet but with a personalized, handmade twist. The focus will be on local products that are unique, rather than a mass-produced item from an international chain that can be found anywhere and makes us all look the same. This mood translates into making a personal statement with an existing garment, designing products that can be turned into something new, and also allowing brands to create significance along with the garment beyond its initial sale.
On Facebook, Dorin Frankfurt urges her customers to bring old clothing for redesign and renewal:
Dorin Frankfurt – Fashion serving the community
Corona-Style: A radical change impacting fashion brands
Repair, reuse, and personalization will lead us toward forgotten traditional craftsmanship. Even the option to draw on our sneakers as a trend introduces the consumer into the design process as an active participant.
Acknowledging the force of a supportive community and the power of co-creation as a family activity, the shared concern for grandparents becomes a yearning for the old and beloved that gives us a sense of security. In the end, even a gourmet restaurant critic misses his grandmother’s cooking.
The radical changes of isolation forced on us by the coronavirus become a social trend with a fashion statement. All these facts will rapidly change the way we dress and bring new opportunities to a new type of smart consumer.
We have already seen the hashtag #stayhome. The time has come for #stayhomeinstyle.
This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)