Since the start of 2020 we have seen so many aspects of our lives change. From how we live day to day, our ability to see friends and family, and our working lives. Inevitably how we shop has also changed. I can’t even remember the last time that I set foot in a shop, not even a supermarket. And of course lockdown has changed fashion from how we see it to how we buy it.
How has lockdown changed fashion
I have always been a big lover of jeans. Whatever the weather, no matter how hot, I would always be in a pair. I’ve always found them really comfortable. I’ve never really understood it when people have said that the second they get home they have to change out of jeans to relax. Having said that I have probably worn jeans once in the past six months. I barely leave my house and when I do it is to go for a walk or a run, something that I’m not going to do wearing jeans. So, when I get up in the morning I may as well put leggings on so that I’m ready to go out on my lunch break,
The point I’m making is that I never thought anything would get me out of jeans, but apparently the only thing to do it is a global pandemic. Not only is what we are wearing changing but so are our shopping habits which of course has a greater knock on effect.
I touched on this before, but I don’t know anyone that didn’t buy some form of loungewear as soon as the first lockdown hit. John Lewis reported in their annual look at consumer habits that loungewear and leggings sales increased by 1,303 per cent in 2020. Of course it is understandable that while we are essentially confined to our own homes we want to be comfortable. We have been moving towards more casual wardrobes over the past 30 or so years but lockdown is essentially accelerating these fashion trends.
Supporting local independents has become a lot more important to people. The big name brands are more likely to survive, although the high street has taken a big hit. Goodbye Debenhams and Topshop, it’s the end of an era. When it came to shopping in general, not just for clothing, some of the larger stores ran out of items, but it was the local independents that came through for many of us. I think that lockdown has encouraged many people to think about where they spend their money and where their clothing comes from. For many of us, knowing we are supporting a local business owner is a much nicer feeling than lining the pockets of a company that probably avoids paying tax.
Online shopping is definitely on the rise and has been for a while now. The high street has been slowly dying as many people choose the convenience of shopping in their own homes. I am guilty of this. While I would hate to see the high street empty I am not really a huge fan of wandering around town for hours trying to find what I want.
Obviously at the moment (March 2021) all non-essential shops are closed so if you need something that isn’t from a supermarket or pharmacy you have no choice but to look online. For me, even if shops were open I am not comfortable leaving my house and encountering a lot of people so I would still be shopping online.
I think even when we come out of lockdown online shopping will continue to dominate. This will have a knock on effect on the online shopping process and the pieces we choose to buy. The downside to ordering clothes is the risk that you need to return something, not just the inconvenience of that but also the environmental impact. I think this will shape the style of clothing we shop for with a move towards looser fitting clothing that is less likely to need to be returned due to poor fit.
I have been reading reports that lockdown has made us more aware of the environmental impact of fashion.
Almost two-thirds of adults in the UK say that lockdown has brought home the importance of their clothing lasting longer
According to research conducted by WRAP in November 2020 50% of people in the UK go out of their way to avoid creating clothing waste. This number has risen by 20% in the past two years. Two-thirds of people actively try to ensure that their unwanted clothes don’t go to waste with the most popular option being donating to charity.
I’m really glad to hear this and I hope that more people continue to consider the effect that their purchasing decisions have on the environment. Rather than just donating we need to think about the amount of fashion we consume and where those items are coming from.
I think pretty much everyone knows someone who took a plain jogger set and attempted to tie-dye it. There was a real trend in getting creative when lockdown hit. Some chose to learn to knit or take up cross-stitch. I hope that sharing the hobbies that our parents or grandparents enjoyed continues.
Digital fashion weeks
London Fashion Week moved online with womenswear and menswear being combined. There has even been digital showrooms. In the past it was all about celebrities and bloggers sitting front row and while I’m sure luxury brands want to maintain the exclusivity, there is the opportunity to reach more people. Like with many industries now, I think we will see a move towards a more digital fashion industry.