- Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour shared her thoughts on how the pandemic will impact the fashion industry in the long term in an interview with CNBC this week.
- Wintour said that the entire industry is rethinking what fashion stands for and what it should be. This includes focusing less on newness and speed in fashion – a concept championed by fast-fashion retailers.
Experts say that coming out of the pandemic, we could see substantial shifts in how consumers shop and an end to “extreme consumerism” as people become more considered in their purchases.
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When Anna Wintour speaks, the fashion world listens, so ears were pricked this week when the Vogue editor-in-chief – and one of the most influential voices in the industry – shared her thoughts on how she thinks the coronavirus pandemic will impact the fashion industry longterm.
“I think it is really giving the industry a pause, and I think everybody is rethinking what fashion stands for, what it means, what it should be,” Wintour said in a video interview with CNBC this week.
“I think it is an opportunity for everyone to slow down, produce less, and make the world fall over in love with the creativity and passion of fashion, and maybe have less of an emphasis on things moving so quickly and emphasis always on what’s new.
“Fashion should last, it should be emotional, it should have memories, it should be meaningful, and think that we need to reevaluate – all of us that work in this industry – how we can best present that,” she said.
Wintour said coming out of the pandemic, she expects consumers to focus more on shopping at brands and designers that they feel reflect their own values and those that are more sustainability-minded.
“I think they are going to care deeply about sustainability,” she said, and “about the value of what they are buying.”
Leading up to the pandemic, there had been a shift toward shopping more consciously. Consumers, especially younger ones, were prioritizing sustainability in fashion. Experts say the pandemic is only going to intensify this.
In Business of Fashion’s recent deep-dive into the impact of the pandemic on the fashion industry, the publication zeroed in on sustainability, concluding that ultimately we can expect consumers to make more considered purchases in the future, which could lead to the end of “extreme consumerism,” it said.
“The pandemic will bring values around sustainability into sharp focus, intensifying discussions, and further polarising views around materialism, over-consumption and irresponsible business practices,” the report, which was created in partnership with management consultancy firm McKinsey, said.
“This may signal the end of “extreme consumerism” for some consumers who reject the idea of buying goods in large volumes.
“Brands that are able to reorient their missions and business models in more sustainable ways will be able to cater to a more captive audience than ever before,” it added.
Those that don’t, could stand to miss out. Fast-fashion stores immediately spring to mind here. While many of these retailers, such as H&M or Zara, have made significant strides in becoming more sustainable, the very nature of their business model – to churn out cheap and trendy clothing quickly– is at odds with the notion of being truly sustainable.