Authored By:

Soumya Goyal, Researcher

"Think about it, women control 70% of global consumer spending. When women do better, nations do better"

-Christine Lagarde

Indeed, women and fashion are two things as inseparable as life and breath, but often this relation is underestimated, we do joke about the spending of women on fashion, but forget to realize that a woman's spendings are leading to a man's income too. Corona Virus, a global pandemic, which hit almost every possible sector in the economy very hard, caused the fashion sector to put on a mask.

Where the world was busy saving the economy through all the financial policies and investments in the health infrastructure, the fashion industry, more specifically the clothing and cosmetic industry, was struggling hard to keep itself upright in the market. The textile industry is a labor and wage intensive industry, and hence a shutdown led to large-scale unemployment of the laborers and a reduction in their existing salaries. The massive no. of brands that are rising in the market has indeed raised the competition in the clothing and cosmetic industry and has made it difficult for them to survive in this cut-throat race. Moreover, the competition from external markets like those of China, Vietnam, Turkey in areas such as cosmetics, carpets, cotton fabric has severed the conditions for survival.

The outburst of the virus had led to many clothing and textile industries closing down their production due to the nationwide lockdown that was imposed. The closure of retail shops and on-field markets promoted sellers to shift their business to e-commerce platforms. The social media platforms also played a great role in promoting newly build clothing and fashion start-ups by providing them a stage to sell and market their goods. This stimulated customers to continue their shopping even during the tough times of pandemics.

The popular ethnic wear fashion brand, FabIndia took the pandemic to its advantage and started their sales in hygiene and food products in the lockdown. The company collaborated with the Uttar Pradesh government to scale up its production under the organic India food brand. This helped them in increasing about 15 to 20% of their business. India's largest fashion marketplace Myntra had onboarded 200 plus brands and 1200 stores to help them connect with the customers during the pandemic and develop their business. It started to boost its sales by bringing in partner brands that produce protective headgears and masks. It also brought up a collection of lounge and athleisure wear to keep themselves relevant to the work-from-home culture.

One more such industry related to fashion is the cosmetic industry. The global beauty industry comprising haircare, skincare, personal care, fragrances, etc. were impacted by the virus in a manner that their sales, brand value, and market were buildable by the industry in a short time. The companies started manufacturing masks, sanitizers, and disinfectant sprays to complement their sales. The beauty industry always had a strong foundation in e-commerce markets. The shut-down of physically accessible stores affected less in terms of sales to the industry. However, there were certain people associated with the beauty industry like actors, models, a laborer working in the manufacturing sector, etc. who were certainly affected by the lockdown. Moreover, the advent of the 'do it yourself methods and activities adopted by people to engage in skin and hair care by themselves decreased their dependency on beauty salons and massively expensive cosmetics.

Nykaa, the beauty and lifestyle brand selling Haircare, skincare, and make-up products, was affected by the virus due to the shutdown of their on-store services. However, their e-commerce market helped the brand in advancing its sale in the pandemic by introducing Covid-19 protection equipment and eye-catching offers to its consumers. The company is soon acquiring its pre-covid sales back with the upliftment of the lockdown and the advancement of its e-commerce platform.

So finally it would not be wrong to say that fashion is not just the heart of women, rather it is the backbone of the economy also. And our backbone is surely having respiratory problems due to corona, but yet it won't be wrong to say that fashion can turn every problem into an outdated item and turn the solution into trending.