5 ways designers should approach their collections in times of crisis

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We are now in the fourth month of a global battle against Covid-19, and what has officially been termed a pandemic of unprecedented scale. What does that mean for fashion designers who must create next season’s collections? How can they interpret the zeitgeist, bringing sensitivity to consumer’s needs but still deliver newness and meet the goals and targets set by sales managers and boardrooms. It is, by all measures, no easy task.

Relfect

As the world focuses on matters such as health and wellbeing, the zeitgeist is calling for a “quarantine of consumption,” Li Edelkoort explained to design platform Dezeen. “It seems we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own.” With many countries in lockdown, designers will be isolated from their studios and teams, with time to reflect on how to make fashion meaningful, rather than producing transitory and disposable excesses that have defined the last two decades.

Durability

Clothing that lasts should be a starting point. Let there be intrinsic value to garments, extending shelf life, focusing on trans-seasonal, multi-purpose items. Think simpler, stripping away the excesses of over-design, which don’t have value. Market with compassion.

The WFH wardrobe

Working from home is the new norm. Zoom and skype have replaced meetings, while laptops and technology become the office. We no longer “need” to dress for work. As Next chief executive Lord Wolfson aptly stated, “people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home.” As our lifestyles are changing, so too will the way we dress. Think easy separates, deconstructed tailoring and less high octane glamour. Uniqlo suitably coined the term Comfort Smartwear.

Sophisticated loungewear

As consumers turn to comfortable clothes, loungewear is a category opportunity. Sophisticated loungewear goes beyond the hoody and sweat pants duo, think luxurious and innovative fabrics, like washable silk, wool and pima cotton collections. High end sleepwear should be visually appealing and not look out of place when worn outside, like taking the dog out just before bed, or nipping to the shops for a night cap ingredient.

Health and wellness

Consider new technology driven fabrics that have anti-microbial properties or can aid recovery and absorb excess heat. Outerwear that covers the nose and mouth and shields the wearer. Comfort and protection elements are key, not just for extreme weather, but for extreme circumstances.

Photo by Ray Piedra from Pexels

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