COVID-19 could herald more conscious fashion sector, says GlobalData

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The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global fashion industry but could herald a renewed focus on sustainability in the longer term, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Beth Wright, apparel correspondent for GlobalData, comments: “The COVID-19 outbreak has caused chaos for the sector, disrupting supply chains from end to end, with brands and retailers cancelling and postponing orders as nationwide lockdowns forced store closures.

“With lockdown restrictions finally easing, industry players are beginning to take their first tentative steps toward business as usual. However, it is vital that they take a considered approach to restarting operations, which could potentially lead to a greener industry – something stakeholders and consumers alike have long called for. Resuming the same break-neck speed will only act to foster the growth of fast fashion and further exacerbate the sector’s environmental footprint.”

A joint call from the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) urges the global fashion industry to slow down and rethink the way in which it operates. Gucci has since become the first luxury brand to pledge to reduce the number of catwalk shows from five to two each year.

Elsewhere, H&M and Inditex are among more than 150 companies supporting a UN statement urging governments to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science, while non-profit leadership forum Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) is encouraging fashion executives to embed sustainability at the core of their business to help build a more resilient industry post-COVID.

Wright concludes: “The dark days of COVID-19 could give way to a new era for the fashion sector if industry players opt to act responsibly and heed the wakeup call it has presented. Let’s hope this is the beginning of more things to come and, ultimately, a more sustainable industry.”