The Fate of the Fashion Industry in the Time of Coronavirus and What We Can do to Help

The Fate of the Fashion Industry in the Time of Coronavirus and What We Can do to Help

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread worldwide, and we are definitely seeing the impacts. COVID-19 has steadily spread across the world since it originated in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China, with roughly 244,100 cases and 10,184 deaths globally as of March 20, according to the New York Times. Many European nations including France, Spain, Germany and Italy — which is experiencing the second highest number of cases globally with over 40,000 cases — are on partial or total lockdown in an effort to contain the virus.

The global economy is feeling the negative impacts of this pandemic, including the fashion industry. With major events being cancelled and now flagship store closures, the industry is held hostage to uncertainty. Milan, being the epicenter of the virus in Europe, barely had time to brace for the impact. As Milan Fashion Week went on, some shows like Giorgio Armani, held events behind closed doors, to an empty room, and others, like Prada, announced Raf Simmons joining the iconic brand as co-creative director, even during such an uncertain time.

“Well, yes, [the contrast] is there for everyone, but the fact is that we must work in a world that is increasingly more complex and difficult, where events of this kind will happen more often because the globalization will lead to problems of this kind — one hopes not too many, and in fact the problem is to manage work and personal life at the same time,” the designer responded during the press conference at Prada Headquarters. “Life is not a [walk in the park] and so we must work also if ugly, difficult things happen, we must react.”


Giorgio Armani show in an empty fashion theater.


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Brands and design houses have decided to shutter their doors and postpone upcoming runway shows. Major events, including the Met Gala and the CFDA Awards, have also been postponed indefinitely. Department stores across the globe, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Selfridges and Saks Fifth Avenue, have closed their doors. If major fashion houses are feeling this impact, what does this mean for small businesses, rising designers, event planning and the beauty industry? A great deal, we’re afraid. After the White House strongly suggested us all to avoid any gatherings of more than 10 people, State and City wide ordinances have followed suit with the closure of all non-essential businesses, including restaurants, retailers and even 24 hour “shelter in place” in some cases like San Francisco, the fashion, beauty, wellness, wedding/events and hospitality industries are hurting. Major events in Texas have been cancelled like South by Southwest in Austin, the Houston Livestock Rodeo and now with the announcement of postponement for San Antonio’s beloved Fiesta, Texas is definitely fallen victim to the pandemic’s effects.

“I’ve issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said, referencing an emergency order put in place over the coronavirus. The decision will almost certainly be a harsh blow to the city’s economy, as SXSW brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism, ticket sales, and other revenue streams every year. Last year, the festival made $355.9 million for the city of Austin, SXSW said last November. For San Antonians, the impact of postponing Fiesta is still unknown, but the 10 day cultural event has not been cancelled or postponed since WWII, and brings together more than one hundred organizations and nearly 3.5 million people to celebrate the city’s history with food, music, and parades. Businesses that counted on festival season revenues will be deeply affected and are looking for the best way to economically survive this hit.


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Fashion stylists, designers and retailers immediately started feeling the lull as soon as the non-essential business closures rolled through their cities and the realization of essential priorities began to set in. “My styling business was booming as far as doing personal styling, personal shopping and closet detox for clients and now nothing.” says Jules Aldaz Guerra, stylist and owner of Trend Boutique in San Antonio, Texas. “I mean it’s hard to sell or ask people to buy things right now. I’m going to just try on clothes and post them and say they will be here when ready.”, stated Aldaz Guerra.


Photo via Trend Boutique

There is, however, some unexpected opportunity occurring during this time. Other fashion industry professionals like Calley Rivera of Sew Studio TX might be finding opportunity where there is a huge need. “We are looking to pivot our manufacturing efforts to face masks.”, says Rivera, currently a leading manufacturing professional in apparel and small goods. “We will be offering face masks to the general public to serve as baseline protective barriers and seeing how this may benefit the general public in the short term.” Full on production begins on Monday and currently, the company is seeking hospitals, nursing homes or any facility who may be in need of face masks immediately so that they can deliver some supply to those in need.  For more information, contact Sew Studio TX.


Face Masks by Sew Studio TX,
manufactured in San Antonio, TX


Face Masks by Sew Studio TX,
manufactured in San Antonio, TX

Open Neck, Pull Over Face Masks by Sew Studio TX,
manufactured in San Antonio, TX

 

What can we do to minimize the financial impact to our Local Economy?

Shop Online

Many of our beloved local boutiques are offering online shopping, either via their website or via Direct Message. They’re posting products and you can contact them directly for pricing and shipping. Some are even offering free shipping during this time. In yet other ways to encourage social distancing, some local retailers allow purchase online and quick car pick up, much like curbside services at your local grocery store. Sales are severely impacted these days, but before shopping online with the big box stores, let’s take the time to browse and support our local retailers. “At a time when we are staying away from each other to protect each other, we need each other more than ever. The decisions we make right now will have a huge impact on our economy. Buying local is soooo incredibly important right now.”, expressed local boutique owner, Lynsey Farrell of Lynsey Louise Boutique.


Photo via Lynsey Louise

Do a Virtual Consultation

When it comes to personal styling, coaching and even fitness, wellness and nutrition, virtual consulting is becoming the norm. Fitness studios like inBalance Studios, (Leon Springs and Alamo Ranch)are now hosting virtual classes for their current members and are offering free passes for the virtual try outs, plus new and revised pricing for classes and nutrition coaching for those who will need the virtual classes after the pandemic has passed. Amber Ybarra runs a coaching business, The Positive Platform and is offering tools, resources and information on supporting a growth lifestyle and business. “I’ve sent emails out with links for places hiring temporarily, to ways to embrace your creativity during this time of isolation and quarantine, to tools on creating a side hustle, as people begin to realize the importance of creating multiple revenue streams.”, expressed Ybarra. “All this in support of our creative community and keeping a healthy, positive and growth mindset, when most want to turn to fear or panic.” Her new podcast, The Positive Platform, launches May 25th, 2020.


Photo via inBalance Studios

Buy Gift Cards

Buy a gift card now, for future purchases. This could help these retailers keep their sales for the upcoming months of expected lull and you can use them for yourself later, or gift them if a special occasion comes up for a loved one. This can apply to other services like restaurants, gift shops, beauty & fashion retailers, esthetic, massage therapy and other wellness businesses like Massage Móvil and Crème de la Crème Wellness who have recently close their doors temporarily as the city ordinance in San Antonio went into effect this week.


Photo via Chic’tique


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The fact of the matter is that all industries are feeling unsure and we are all in this together. We at Style Lush TV have taken the appropriate measures to protect our staff and ensure that we remain healthy and safe. We will continue to support this industry in any way we can. Together we will will come out of this stronger. We just have to be wise, follow all safety precautions and practice physical distance with social support. We urge everybody to do the same and continue to share ways we can help each other in this time of uncertainty.


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Jeanelly Concepcion
[email protected]

Originally from New York City, Jeanelly is of Dominican roots. Having lived in Puerto Rico for over 22 years, she now enjoys a highly successful fashion blogging career at TheFashionLotus.com. She is a Texas influencer and has been a freelance fashion contributor for Style Lush TV for several years. She believes in empowering women through fashion and helping them feel beautiful no matter what their financial situation, body shape, age or where they live or work.