The future of fashion post COVID-19

By: Grace Coughlan, Associate Editor

These past few months have come with juggling the ins and outs of dealing with COVID-19. The transition of interacting with people on a daily basis to now collaborating with people through the cameras of our computers and phones. 

There have been a lot of conversations about how pajamas and sweatpants are becoming the new work attire, about how spending long periods of time in lounge clothes have left feelings of laziness and discouragement, and about how putting on a pair of jeans and some makeup can help brighten a day. 

As we continue living in a world filled with social distancing and COVID-19, we have to think about how our lives are going to be shaped. Almost all colleges and universities are utilizing some form of online classes, while most companies are switching to work-from-home instead of in person. 

We’re all slowly learning to change the ways we interact with one another while growing in the ways that we work from the space we have available. So that leaves us with how the industries we participate in are going to be affected. 

So the question is, what will the future of the fashion industry look like? 

The biggest factor in the fashion industry in a COVID-19 world is the fact that a large amount of people are going to be working from home. 

Multiple people in my family are working from home until the months of fall or winter. My cousin, a commuter to New York City, won’t be going back to her office until possibly January, but even that date is still unknown. 

As a student, all five of my classes for the fall semester are online. My roommates are also mostly taking online classes with a few exceptions for hybrid courses. 

What is everyone ACTUALLY going to be wearing while they are at home? From personal experience, with getting ready to head back to campus and packing clothes away, I’m packing a lot of clothes for more comfort. I don’t think I’m going to want to wear jeans everyday if I’m just sitting around my apartment. Of course, I’m still going to be packing jeans, but am I really going to be wearing them often? 

According to Andrea Byrne, a writer for FashionUnited, there are six different aspects of the fashion industry that are going to become more relevant during these times. 

Six key markets and opportunities to recapture the workwear market include: special sizes, desk to dinner outfits, the capsule closet, commuter styles, working from home (WFH) uniform and employee features, several retailers have featured their own staff sharing advice for style tips,” said Byrne. 

While some people might be more familiar with some of these markets than others, some of these terms might be unknown. 

These markets are going to be the main aspects of workwear. Special sizes are to provide a variety of sizes to different body types. Desk to dinner outfits are outfits that are flexible for a work area and for a more formal occasion. The purpose of these outfits is to save time and to save an outfit change. 

The capsule wardrobe concept was created by Caroline Rector of Un-Fancy. According to WhoWhatWear, Rector describes a capsule wardrobe as ‘“a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.”’ A capsule closet is supposed to help save time and money, leaving you room to focus on other important things in your life. 

Working from home uniforms and commuter styles both promote the idea of comfort over style. The solitude of working from home downplays the formal dress code of an office, offering more comfortable yet stylish options. Spending long periods in a car, or on public transportation can be uncomfortable and awkward. Commuter styles consist of versatile items, wearing comfortable shoes, bike shorts under skirts, rain coats, purses that you can actually fit items into. 

The world of fashion is shifting to a style of versatility and comfort to match the current times of taking precaution and protecting ourselves. Formal office wear and fancy dinner dresses aren’t on the top of everyone’s priority list. 

Sure, I miss getting ready for a more formal occasion, but it’s not completely gone. On a more day-to-day basis, I think outfits will be worn more for comfort than for it’s formal appearance. Convenience is the game that people are going to want to play when it comes to clothes.

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