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Posted 2 months ago

Covid 19, A Powerful Force in the Fashion Industry

Many exclaim that the recovery from Covid-19 will be digital, but what does this exactly mean? Digital is a somewhat ambiguous term and infers something different in every industry. However, naturally at Luxury Recruit we are interested in what this means for luxury brands, in particular, fashion. 

High-end fashion brands have always maintained a strong digital presence (by the we mean online), especially since the groundbreaking introduction of Net-a-Porter in 2000. Prior to this, it was hard to fathom launching a fashion business without a physical store. Notably Natalie Massenet (founder of Net-a-Porter) regularly recalls how investors shunned her bedroom initiative back in 1999, when she proudly stated there would be no Net-a-Porter flagship store. Incestors This is fascinating in its own right, brands are always reluctant to think about change let alone accept it, unless it is forced. Meaningful and large scale change only comes when brands realise they will fall by the wayside unless they adapt, the fear of being irrelevant is a powerful force in the fashion industry.

Enter Covid-19, the Rona, a global pandemic and a vehicle for change. Like 2000, fashion brands have had to re-think their MO entirely as all their physical stores closed seemingly overnight. Suddenly, an online presence became everything to maintain sales. I could write on this topic for days however, two aspects have really stood out to me. Firstly, the rise of the fashion connoisseur and secondly, the return to originality and sentiment. 

The connoisseur, by this I mean the rise of ‘influencers’ once again. We are now entering the age where the average 20 year old grew up with Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. Gone are the days where magazines controlled trends and access to brands. Millennials pick and choose the accounts they follow and increasingly search for content they enjoy browsing, saving images to their ‘I need’ folder on Instagram. Brands can no longer rely on being a household name, they have to ensure their products are advertised by the right people to reach a certain market. Influencers are interesting not only because they boost sales, but also because they bring brands into the real world, they demonstrate how brands fit into the everyday. Below are a few influencers that have grown their following over the quarantine period, and with that, their brand partnerships. Equally, it is of note the aspects of their lifestyle which resonate so much with the public and how brands interlace with these captured moments. 

Emma Louise Connolly 

A British model with a talent for bringing luxury brands into the reality of the everyday. Emma and her fiancee Oliver Proudlock have documented their quarantine lives somewhat aggressively however, people are hooked. The public wants to know how they spend their evenings, where they are shopping and what brands Emma is currently interested in. Part of the fascination is that people can see themselves in their lives, they live a normal life yet are surrounded by luxury fashion. A notable example is their wedding, cancelled due to the pandemic, instead they hosted an intimate evening for just the two of them on the night their wedding should have taken place. Emma still wore her wedding dress, a beautiful blue tulle dress from Pronovias, which saw their Instagram following sky rocket following Emma’s posting of the evening’s pictures.

 

 

As quarantine went on, Emma’s brand partnership seemed to grow with brands immersing themselves into her everyday from skincare and exercise to evening activities.

Iris and Rafferty Law 

Their surname precedes them however, this does not always entail instant success it certainly helps but is by no means the defining factor. Both Iris and Rafferty have again brought luxury brands into the everyday, in particular Iris, know for her striking looks and penchant for bohemian style, used lockdown to demonstrate the normality of her life. From cooking to tie dye, her quarantine seemed idyllic and resonated with many. Brands have always flocked to the Law children but it seems that lockdown has brought a new fascination, that fascination is something brands want to be a part of. Below are a few images from their lockdown life and the brands which are now flocking to be associated with this famous duo.

 

 

Originality and sentiment. Arguably, digital has created a sea of sameness, enter Covid-19 and this has only been amplified. In a way this has been a wonderful time for creativity with brands forced to think differently to capture hearts and headlines, a sentiment which will hopefully stay. It’s important for brands to think about perception in a different way, with new generations becoming increasingly critical of brands which fail to address social and environmental change. 

Notably, brands such as Versace released old ad campaigns piquing the public’s interest in the history of Versace. Equally, this was a highly sustainable way to market the brand, recycling by literal definition (something that won’t go missed by Gen Z).

Versace

   

 

Zara

Zara, known for innovative product styling, sent their sample products to models for them to self style at home.

 

Loewe

Loewe’s ‘show in a box’ stormed Instagram in July. Accounts from Diet Prada to Bryanboy were gifted this inspirational box which brought their fashion show to life in the absence of a catwalk. The box contained a variety of items from cutouts of the Loewe design team, the show’s soundtrack in the form of a cardboard record plater, that can be manually spun in order to work. The team stated ‘the challenge here was to create something that’s as tangible as a fashion show but in a format that’s more in tune with how we’re able to communicate right now. 

 

 

 

Food for thought, this way of thinking is here to stay, not a passing trend.

 

Featured Image: Social distancing on the beach. Artwork by Santi P. Seoane. Via @santi_p.seoane / Instagram.

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