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Home / Brunch / Fashion’s third coming: 11 predictions for post-pandemic style

Fashion’s third coming: 11 predictions for post-pandemic style

Major global events have always affected the way we dress and groom ourselves

brunch Updated: Apr 19, 2020 03:18 IST
Yatan Ahluwalia
Yatan Ahluwalia
Hindustan Times
The next major fashion show will be a live online event, without the usual celebrities, front row regulars and industry wannabes
The next major fashion show will be a live online event, without the usual celebrities, front row regulars and industry wannabes(Photo Imaging by Parth Garg)

The last two times there was a shift in fashion and the way we shopped and dressed was after the first and then the second world war. The current health pandemic will be the world’s third major influence on fashion. This is what you should expect.

1.Fashion influencers will change

The pandemic is already forcing fashion influencers to adjust their content. Soon, there will be more real people as influencers, not celebrities, socialites or overly photoshopped and made up self-proclaimed fashionistas. Online photos often look good because professionals make them look that way. That’s not possible with social distancing. Fashion related posts therefore will be more real, simple and down to earth. The curated aesthetic people have rallied against might slowly disappear and change for the better.

2.New shopping patterns will emerge

As stores and malls have been shut, many brands will find operational costs soaring and profits hitting rock bottom. It will be a while before people will feel comfortable shopping in closed places, using common areas, elevators and escalators. Therefore, more brands will need to go online or expand their online ranges to ensure their merchandise moves off the warehouse shelves. The ecommerce wave and live streaming will need to finally merge, making both online shopping and social connections interactive, experiential and in real time. Online fashion shopping and content will therefore become more engaging, immersive and social.

3.AI and tech will change shopping

Poorly trained and disinterested in-store stylists and shopping assistants will ultimately be replaced by computers and apps that will help you put together a look or complete a purchase. There are also whispers of stores going ‘smart’ with voice commands, as well as larger retailers using maps to navigate their floors and displays. This means the shopping experience will have much less human interface and personal interactions.

4.Local will rule, not global

Imports have been hit and this may just be a good thing. The more local designers, brands and tailors you buy, endorse or use, the better, because the country’s economy will revive faster. This may give a much-needed boost to homespun, small, medium, new or even large and established Indian brands. With localisation, we are likely to see fewer mass-produced clothes and accessories. Indian fabrics will be sought after and used extensively in the coming months and years.

5.Luxury brands will collapse

The bubble was going to burst anyway, and the pandemic will make sure it does. Expect luxury brands to go slow on new launches, start scaling down operations and shutting stores. I forecast a drastic reduction in prices, which means high street brands may just become more affordable to the masses. For starters, spending will be on necessity and not luxury. People will choose quantity over quality and go back to wearing clothes that are fuss free (easy to wash), germ free (anti-bacterial fabrics will become mainline), durable (which last longer) and more practical (or low maintenance).

6.Recycling is now fashionable

To begin with, don’t expect new collections to change as frequently or be as extensive as they were. Factories are shut, so production deadlines will be missed. If you are obsessed with changing your looks, learn to mix, match and re use. During the lockdown or on the next long weekend, make the effort to lay all your clothes and accessories out and see what can be put together aesthetically. It’s perfectly fine to repeat your clothes, not just because it reduces your carbon footprint but also because it makes you spend less. Designs themselves are likely to become more basic and minimalistic. Expect to see less bling and more simple clothing.

7.Ready to wear will beat custom made

Both brands and designers will need to adopt faster processes to sell and produce garments and accessories quickly and profitably. Off the rack designs, perhaps made to measure for an assortment of body types, will be the strongest trend for the next few years. Designers and brands will need to ensure they make clothes that fit well for almost all builds and sizes, without wasting their clients’ and their own time and money.

8.Fashion professionals are in for a reality check

Big budgets on a single shoot or show will no longer be feasible or possible, affecting photographers, models, hair, makeup, styling and production personnel. Those who freelance are already dealing with postponed and cancelled work, and upcoming projects on indefinite hold. Location, destination and outdoor shoots will be replaced by simple studio shoots, so prepare for fashion spreads to look like catalogue pictures.

9.Trade fairs and runway shows will be irrelevant

Almost all the major trade shows and fashion weeks have been cancelled or postponed. This translates into a major change in the annual fashion calendar. Soon fashion shows will become irrelevant and have limited or no sponsors. Runway glamour as we know it will be dead. The next major fashion show will be a live online event, without the usual celebrities, front row regulars and industry wannabes. No more pre- and post- show parties or long fashion weeks. Some fashion weeks will just not happen or be scaled down to become more trade and industry specific shows.

10.There will be sales, discounts and special offers

To survive, brands and designers are likely to adopt aggressive discount policies which, at least in the medium term, could hurt the luxury positioning of brands that didn’t have a concession model. Clothes and accessories, even branded ones, will all become more accessible and affordable.

11.Healthcare will beat cosmetics

Major perfume, makeup and grooming brands have already started manufacturing hand sanitisers and other personal care products. So expect new product launches to come with sanitising and anti-bacterial properties. This will include new formulations for deodorants, talcum powders, soaps, shampoos, makeup, hair care, skin care and face and body washes. Personal hygiene products are likely to dominate store shelves and your dressers for a while. Products that are natural and organic will be preferred over those that aren’t. The consumer is going to start looking at the health and hygiene benefits of the products they buy.

12.Wellness will be the new buzzword

The desire to remain safe will be stronger than ever. Expect a surge in personal training for fitness. The feel-good and wellness factor from dancing means more people will turn to private or small group dance classes to feel positive as well as refresh and recharge both the mind and body. Similarly, alternatives like yoga, meditation and therapies will be more sought after. There will also be a huge demand for home massages and therapies as well as private appointments for even the most basic grooming needs – facials, eyebrows, waxing, haircuts and shaving. Public and shared spaces like salons, swimming pools and saunas will be avoidable at least for the short and medium term.

The trend forecast

Fashion and grooming trends are determined from factors and data including social and economic conditions, news, the environment and overall awareness. The pandemic has thrown up the following predictions:

1.A subtle colour palette: Expect the return of pastels for daywear. For women, pale peach, pink, lemon and mint green for the day and jewel tones for the night. White, sky blue and grey for men, with navy blue and beige for formal and business wear.

2.Minimalism: Embroidery will become a luxury and clothes will be simpler. People will shift to solids over prints and patterns. Prints will go digital with geometric patterns replacing florals altogether.

3.Fitted shape and form: Expect a structured silhouette for both menswear and womenswear, with an emphasis on a snug or tight wrap-around fit. Buttons or zips on work, casual and leisurewear. Full sleeve over short sleeves for shirts and tops.

4.Back to the basics: Accessories will become a luxury, so expect to wear less jewellery, affordable watches and footwear that is durable. The outcome: wear one prominent accessory. Bridal and festive wear will go back to a more classic and vintage look and feel.

5.Clinical look: Makeup will become as natural as possible. A colour stained mouth and eyeliner for women; neutral or skin coloured nail polish on short nails with absolutely no nail art. Hairstyles will be neat – with hair either tied up or put up and away. Natural or no hair colour; instead an emphasise on hair and skin care. For men, the clean shaven look is back. Overall the look will be less dramatic or glamorous.

Author bio: The author is an image, style and grooming consultant and trainer and a trend forecaster

From HT Brunch, April 19, 2020

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