Without getting into the factors and causes involved, one can, with a good amount of certainty, say that India is seeing an economic slowdown. The slowdown has been speculated and analysed for the better part of 2019, and this year’s biggest news – the Covid-19 pandemic – is only stoking the fire.
This slowdown has and will have many effects on various sectors, the fashion industry being one of them. History has shown time and again how political and economic fluctuations have had steep effects on what we wear. The Great Depression brought about the motto of reuse and rehash in an attempt to curb waste. Minimalism was the hallmark of clothing brought about due to the recession in 2007. And designers agree that there will be significant changes in the way the industry functions.
Monica Shah of JADE feels that people are going to be more mindful of their fashion choices from now on
K Radharaman of The House of Angadi says the new designs coming to the marketplace will emerge from a place of “introspection and a new sensitivity towards our resources, crafts, local weather and seasonal patterns”. He says, “This is all good, and will pave the path for unique style statements to emerge from various parts of the world, rather than the cloning of certain styles that were on the rise due to social media and unchecked consumerism.”
Simplicity: the best policy
Designer Anjul Bhandari says reuse is the name of the game “for the next year or so”
Much like in 2007, after the recession, classic silhouettes and functional designs will be on-demand. Designer Shruti Sancheti points that in 2007, white T-shirts and blue jeans were wardrobe staples. “We are likely to witness a similar phenomenon during this pandemic, where practical, austere and cost-effective fashion trends will emerge as the consumer is emotionally and economically exhausted,” says Shruti. Designer Nikita Mhaisalkar agrees, she says, “The customer is asking for multi-functional pieces. Classic, long-living, smart separates, which a buyer would look to as an investment, will be the new fashion language.”
Anjul Bhandari feels that “reuse is the name of the game for the next year or so”. “People will want to continue to invest in things they can hold on to forever, that they can pull out of their closets and wear over and over,” adds Anjul.
“While business remains adversely affected, the pandemic has come with an opportunity to pause, think and re-evaluate,” says Hemant Sagar of Lecoanet Hemant. Monica Shah of JADE reiterates the thought, “From the kind of fabrics used to processes, people are going to be more mindful about their choices.”
One of the most important weapons in our arsenals during these trying times is the surgical mask, and designer Falguni of Falguni Shane Peacock feels that of the many trends that are foreseen, “one of the most crucial ones is the utility and incorporation of masks, as a predominant, new part of our clothing”. Payal Singhal, agrees, saying, “I see athleisure, loungewear and masks being the biggest trends. Designers all over the world are going to go crazy inventing and innovating the humble surgical mask!”
Payal Singhal cannot wait to see what fashion trends do to the “humble surgical mask”