Musings On The Future Of The Fashion Industry (2 min read)
Could 2020 go down as the year we cracked the fashion industry?
What is undoubtable is that this year has seen a seismic shift in life as we know it. As early 2020 stretched out before us, many faced days on end cocooned inside. Our professional lives moved (some more seamlessly than others) into the virtual world. Weekly meetings moved ‘online’. Microsoft Teams skyrocketed from 20 million users to 115 million in just 12 months. We struggled through zoom hen do’s and virtual quizzes, and weddings and parties were postponed. Physical events drifted to a distant memory. With this unexpected shift came a much needed adjustment in the way we consume fashion.
With the help of Marie Kondo and The Home Edit, great swathes of the population inadvertently developed a fascination with watching celebrities tidy their homes, while aspiring to do the very same to our own. While some tried their hands at the optimal sourdough, others perfected the art of decluttering. With no physical events to attend, clothes were top of the ‘declutter’ list. It was out with the old and in with the...well, not quite new.
With charity shops closed and jobs at risk, we took to resale platforms to earn cash from our clothes. The resale industry surged. Depop, Poshmark, and Vinted now have a combined user community of over 100 million. ThredUp is preparing for an IPO in early 2021 and it is projected that the second hand clothes industry will triple in value over the next decade.
Rather than replacing the clothes we cull, we are now instead pausing for thought, no longer happy to spend our money with fast fashion brands on outfits that we will wear once. And despite being separated physically from our community, we have come together to support local businesses, with ‘shop small’ and ‘support your local’ flooding our newsfeeds. Etsy’s share price hit an all time high.
At the same time, fashion rental businesses are picking up the pace. Exciting collaborations between major retailers and fashion rental platforms such as David Jones and Glamcorner in Australia, and Selfridges and Hurr in the UK demonstrate the shifting consumer demand. Luxury fashion retailers have woken up to the reality that they must diversify in order to survive, and renting out their inventory is an avenue they can no longer ignore.
As we near the end of 2020, life may again be resembling some form of normality, and the fashion industry has turned a crucial corner. There can be no doubt that this year has been the catalyst for that change. We still have a way to go, but we’re seeing an energised push towards a closed loop system and with that, a more sustainable future. People have begun to appreciate the meaning behind Barry Shwartz ‘Paradox of Choice’, that less is more. We no longer want to be force fed fast fashion.
Will 2021 be the year of the repair and refurbish service?