Pandemic in Fashion: Walking down the ramp of a new world

Fashion is the art of integration of multifarious interests and expectations into textile expressions based on aesthetics, utility and economy. In recent times, the fashion industry has proved to be an effective instrument for global development, with consistent growth and boom of online shopping, boasting of generating 2.5 trillion dollars in global annual reserves. India’s textiles industry contributed 7% of the industry output (in value terms), 2% to the GDP, 15% to India’s export earnings and employed more than 4.5 crore people including 35.22 lakh handloom workers in FY19. The domestic textiles and apparel market stood at an estimated US$ 100 billion in FY19.

Until the start of the pandemic, the sales forecast for 2020 looked promising. Unfortunately, the year 2020 has become synonymous with the Covid-19 pandemic that has had disastrous repercussions on all sectors of the worldwide economy. However, the fashion industry owing to its ‘non-essential’, luxurious and discretionary nature, is more vulnerable and is likely to bear a more grave and severe brunt. The average market capitalisation of apparel and fashion dropped almost 40% between the start of January and 24 March 2020. It is estimated that revenues for the global fashion industry will contract by 27% to 30% in 2020, and a large number of fashion companies will face the likely possibility of bankruptcy in the coming 12 to 18 months.


But stakeholders of the sector are staying positive and brainstorming to find new tools and new strategies across the value chain to future-proof their commercial models in order to cope with new restrictions, mitigate the damaging impacts and adapt to economic and consumer shifts to keep their businesses afloat. From wardrobe changes, handling their inventory to online fashion, the industry is ready to take on the challenges hurled by the pandemic.

CII-IWN is organising a Session on Walking down the Ramp: Fashion for a New World in August to focus on engaging and deliberating upon the related concerns of Luxury Fashion: The challenges of a New World; Sustainable Fashion: Recalibrating livelihood in the fashion value chain and Is online shopping the New Normal.


The pandemic will reshape the global fashion scene to a more digitized and sustainable industry. The ethical and sustainable fashion will eventually become a norm to be practiced by everyone from production to retail stores in the fashion business. The session is designed to examine the different elements of the two sections of the fashion industry and equate a holistic overview to prioritize and address issues within the purview of the fashion industry to chart out a roadmap ahead of the pandemic.


Sustainable Fashion: Recalibrating livelihood in the fashion value chain

The fashion industry is deemed to be a “buyer driven” value chain. It consists of all the elements between the prospective customers’ known and unknown needs for textile related products and the capability of the business concept creators to fulfil this need in the most cost-effective way. The session proposes to lend focus on the level-specific roles played by the producers, designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, vendors, retailers and the media in the merchandise’s progression to the end consumer. These levels of the value chain are symbiotic in nature and consist of many separate but interdependent sectors, all of which are devoted to the goal of realizing customer demand for fashion under conditions that enable the key players in the industry to operate at a profit. The session will also attempt to analyse the impact of the pandemic on the fashion industry specific value chain and its main participants. The session will look into the issue of the artisans in the backdrop of the pandemic, work losses and slump in demand and chart a roadmap for a sustainable future for the already sensitive world of slow fashion.


Moderator: Roopa Mehta, CEO & Co-Founder, SASHA

·         Boutique owners – Ms Malavika Banerjee,BYLOOM/Ms Sujata Biswas, SUTA/ Kajal,THE CHALK BOUTIQUE/ BUNKARI

·         Retailers – PANTALOONS/ WESTSIDE/ MAX

·         Artisans/ artisan handlers – BISWA BANGLA/FABINDIA


Is online fashion apps/stores the new normal?

Browsing through various fashion apps was one of the trends globally. The freedom of browsing through products, choosing and keeping on wishlists, frequent online sales and reduced prices were the attractions even in pre COVID times. With the lockdown and the subsequent unlock people are mostly choosing to commute to the office and coming back home. Shopping and mall-hopping is still to get back in gear. The session will deliberate if online stores and app stores are the new normal in fashion. Panelists will discuss how technology can be applied to make online stores and online browsing more user friendly and become more competitive.


·         MYNTRA

·         AJIO

·         FABINDIA

·         TATA CLiQ/ TANEIRA


Haute Couture: the challenges of a new world

COVID-19 has irrevocably exposed the challenges of the current business structure of the high-end fashion industry. The session intends to brainstorm as to how this sector must introduce new tools and strategies across the value chain to future-proof their commercial models in order to cope with new restrictions, mitigate the damaging impacts and adapt to economic and consumer shifts. It is predicted that the themes of digital acceleration, discount mind-set, industry consolidation, corporate innovation, advanced hygiene and sanitation, change in product lines and exchange of data, strategies and insights will be prioritised. Haute Couture must embrace environmental, social and technological sustainability as a means to establish a competitive advantage in a recovering economy with refreshed consumer needs.

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