When the going gets tough, the tough get going. These aren’t just lyrics of a famous song but life mantra for those who believe in fighting adversity.
While fashion and luxury markets across the world are suffering unexpected loss because of the COVID19 lockdown, the hope to revive them post quarantine is keeping designers busy. While some hope to touch the break-even point with newer ideas, others are praying for “revenge shopping” to pick up as a trend after this long halt.
Priyanka Modi, creative director at AM:PM, the clothing store, speaks to us about her quarantine strategy.
“Remember that only those who are flexible and permeable to change can come out on the other side feeling a little less scathed,” she opines. “Working from home was not foreign to my co-founder Ankur or me, and I’m elated to see how quickly everyone has adapted to this new work culture. Together, we are not only working towards designing the festive collection that launches later this year, but also building new processes, marketing plans and financial models to be better prepared for whatever is to come.”
The next launch of the designer house will be their AW ’20 collection, a line that draws inspiration from Morocco.
“Morocco is a land of elaborate mosaics and marvellous ceramics, and as we strive to adapt to this new reality, our customers remain on top of our mind,” assures Priyanka who claims to have remained gently engaged with their online community since the lockdown through their social media platforms.
Although the sudden attack of the global pandemic has stunned the design industry, many designers have been using this time to reflect and introspect. Designer Nidhi Yasha is particularly concerned about the shows being cancelled, previous orders being stalled mid-process and lack of sales. Even so, she anticipates good times ahead.
“According to some very reliable sources, when all this is over, we may be able to expect a surge in demand for sustainable luxury and slow fashion,” says an optimistic Nidhi. “When all this is over, the consumer might even engage in some revenge shopping.”
However, Nidhi also emphasises that she is hoping for a more responsible buying behaviour in terms of the products consumers buy. “As a brand, we will reassess and reprocess the collections that will roll out post this tragedy. I am looking at recycling and realigning concepts to ensure no wastage,” says Nidhi, adding that post this catastrophe, she expects to see a demand for protective gear to be on the top of the list.
While the stress to sustain is indeed a big factor, designers are re-evaluating assets as they wait to get through this phase.
For instance, designer Ranna Gill also has the future of her company, retail within the company, etc. on her mind.
“But it’s important to stay calm and chant ‘this too shall pass’ and to follow the guidelines laid out for all of us and be proactive to take care of our employees. I’d like to view this time positively and consider it a time to reset and recharge,” says Ranna, who also tells us that as of now, her team is not sketching but is focusing on ‘building themselves’ by spending time on hobbies such as cooking and writing books and poetry.
Some others in the industry also understand that while finances are important, it is essential to acknowledge the human side of the business.
“We are made by the people who work with us, and it ultimately boils down to ensuring that everyone is coping well, resting and not bogged down by negativity,” points out designer Hemant Sagar of the label ‘Lecoanet Hemant’.
So while Hemant agrees that COVID19 has put his business at a crossroad, he thinks the next step is going to be monumental in terms of how he and his team choose to function as a design house.
For the moment, he tells us, there is more focus on the general well-being of the team and creating a positive ambience encouraging everyone to rest, recover and create.
“We are collectively working on future collections and are privileged that we have the technology at our disposal, which enables us to look after each other, share our experiences, exchange ideas, etc.,” shares Hemant.