It's lockdown again!
In many parts of Europe - harder in some countries, in others in a weaker form - shops, schools, universities are closed. Restaurants are only allowed to deliver but not to receive guests, and online trade is flourishing.
But somehow the situation feels more familiar. We already know this from the first lockdown in spring. That went by too. And even then we were wondering what would happen next. What will be after the crisis? Will something change? As early as spring, I was already looking into one of my blogs to find out what social changes this crisis will bring about and what effects we will feel in the international clothing industry. Now we are already one step further - we already know a bit more.
The impact of COVID on the garment industry
For the time being, the figures speak for themselves: the clothing industry is - if you want to put it that way - one of the biggest losers of the COVID crisis. Industry observers report a drop in sales of 20% to 80% in the first half of the year. Where there are no parties, no balls, no gala events, there is no longer any need for festive clothing. At home in front of the TV and in the home office the man does not need a new dinner jacket and the woman does not need a new evening dress. If at Christmas - which is still being discussed - ski resorts in Europe remain closed - then this will also hit skiwear manufacturers hard. The pre-order was already bad anyway - and now there is hardly any chance of a healthy sale of the goods. This situation has an impact on all stages of the supply chain in all countries of the world. For the sake of order, it should be mentioned here that in this particular situation there are winners in our industry as well. Wherever clothing is used for disaster control and companies have built up a strong position in recent years, the order books are full - and sales are in some cases much higher than in recent years.
But what will happen next?
Opinions differ on this question. I have had countless conversations with industry colleagues over the past weeks and months. And I have also spoken to many experts from other industries. Some of them have identified a change in consumer behaviour towards sustainability. According to this group, consumers will in future think much more carefully about where products come from, how they were produced, how long they can be used for, and possibly also whether they can be reused or recycled in the sense of the circular economy. The crisis would thus have led to a strengthening of awareness of the value and sustainability of products. Individuals also have more time to deal with the product of their choice and make a targeted selection.
More of the same?
Others, however, believe that once the crisis is over, consumption will continue as before. And consumers and industry will be equally interested in making up for everything and making up for the "missed opportunities". Respect for the environment, the value of products and compliance with social standards will play no role in this. In this "more of the same" scenario, the practices of industries will brutally overshadow everything that has gone before. The challenge is to push the market value of shares - at any cost.
So once again it is up to each individual
But what happens after the crisis will ultimately be determined by how each individual consumer behaves. This is precisely the contribution that each of us can and must make. Whether our focus should be on social and societal developments and the healthy use of resources, or exclusively on the development of the stock markets - that is up to us. And if this crisis is supposed to have had any meaning, then I very much hope that many more people than before will commit themselves to the ideas of sustainability.