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A new report talks about the key changes that will define fashion’s new normal

The current pandemic has pushed global fashion businesses to rethink their strategies. One thing is clear: Old-school brick-and-mortar store shopping experiences need an upgrade, and consumers are becoming more thoughtful about their choices, keeping cost and sustainability in mind.

As some of the world’s biggest labels adjust to the new normal, Liva, the nature-based, eco-friendly fabric brand from the Aditya Birla Group, has unveiled a survey on how fashion consumerism will evolve in the current scenario. Based on the key findings of Liva’s Brave New World market report, this is what fashion’s new direction might look like.

The dependency on social media

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Spearheaded by Rishi Sharma, AVP Marketing & Head Digital, Liva, Grasim Industries Ltd, the survey took into account reponses from 440 people in cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and more, and found that 49 per cent have taken to social media as a mode of entertainment. Besides short cooking videos and attending online fitness tutorials, 29 per cent of the people are consuming quarantine fashion and styling content as well.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that social media has become one of the prime resources of consuming fashion during the back-to-back lockdowns, and brands have also adapted to the changing scene. From creating engaging online content with videos and Instagram lives, to rolling out sales and gift cards, Indian fashion is adapting to the new normal.

Impact on retail

Even though the lockdown has impacted a number of people, resulting in job losses and furloughs, there are still people who want to engage in the retail experience. Only 1 in 4 out of 440 people surveyed, i.e 26 per cent of the people, are likely to curtail their retail experiences online and in-store.

Shoppers will step back on splurging

Our lifestyle guide during Covid-19
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The report highlights that 35 per cent of the shoppers will go for discount shopping, whereas 14 per cent will go back to shopping at their will, and engage even if there are no discounts. People are still interested in shopping for different occasions e.g weddings, and 14 per cent said that they will not shop since they have enough at the moment.

One of the key factors to be observed is that shoppers are giving thoughtful purchases more value than ever before. Since the idea of sustainability is catching up, people are ready to make a thoughtful investment in retail. The idea of less is more seems to be a driving factor.

Seasonal collections are unlikely to capture the attention

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The survey revealed that 36 per cent of the people were never interested in new seasonal collections. It goes to show that brands will have to rewire their strategies of doing new collections with the change of seasons; seasonless fashion that keeps buyers fixated is the key.

With brands such as Gucci, which recently announced that they will only be rolling out two collections in a year, the global fashion cycle stands at the brink of a major change. The brand announced that it will be veering away from its multi-seasonal cycle towards a twice-yearly seasonless showcasing in a series of Instagram posts. Gucci’s announcement came days after Yves Saint Laurent announced its departure from Paris Fashion Week’s busy seasonal cycles. Besides this Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the British Fashion Council (BFC) have urged the fashion industry to take it slow and create products that are timeless and of great quality.

Sustainability will be rewired

Image: Courtesy Birla Cellulose sustainability report.
Image: Courtesy Birla Cellulose sustainability report

The pandemic and lockdowns that followed allowed consumers to re-think their personal choices and investing in clothes was surely a part of it. The post-COVID-19 fashionscape is all about understanding and living by varied aspects of sustainability. Be it advocating slow fashion, big conglomerates investing in organic fabrics with lesser environmental impact, or sustaining local, homegrown brands that cater to the domestic market, it is being predicted that people will inch towards making more responsible fashion choices.

One of the key findings of Liva’s fashion market report indicates the sensitisation of consumers. In the survey, it was found that 60 per cent of the people now want to move towards making more sustainable choices and 40 per cent will invest in sustainable brands as their first step when they shop. It was also found out that a whopping 72 per cent now want to opt for natural fabrics, 48 per cent want to opt for biodegradable fabrics, and 37 per cent for recycled fabrics.

With Indian couturiers such as Gaurav Gupta opting for recyclable plastic for their garment covers and Rahul Mishra advocating lesser wastage and upcycling, Indian fashion designers have already embraced the idea. Besides this, there are agencies like Fashion Revolution advocating for a more transparent fashion system, so as to keep all the stakeholders involved. From fabric production to the final distribution of the product, transparency has become the buzzword.

Technology is the new way of immersing in fashion

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Post-COVID-19, fashion will be consumed and showcased largely via digital platforms and Liva’s fashion market report indicates the same. Augmented reality apps will catch up with 50 per cent of the people saying they will rely on them to try clothes, and 48 per cent will be searching for online styling tips and guides.

With London, Paris, Milan, and even India announcing full-fledged online fashion weeks, one can see the shift to digital already. Recently Chanel opted for an online presentation instead of a physical Cruise show that was scheduled to be held in Capri. Following the lead is Zegna — the brand announced that it will showcase its Spring 2021 collection via a digital presentation.

In India designer, Payal Singhal has upgraded her website with a host of new initiatives like limited exclusive access to new collections, sales, multi-currency checkout, and multi-variable product filters. Payal Khandwala is another designer who decided to upgrade the online shopping experience for her clients by creating a specialised virtual shopping experience for those who would like to shop the brand’s products from the comfort of their homes. On Instagram, designer Masaba Gupta has created a special filter where users can try her face masks.

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