The COVID-19 pandemic affects the global fashion industry as governments close down manufacturing plants, and through store closures, and event cancellations to slow the spread of the virus. The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on fashion brands worldwide.

Manufacturing issues include lack of fabric availability and order cancellations, but brands that prepared originally by importing fabrics and have them stored at a safehouse will benefit from the pandemic. The unfolding situation of the pandemic has affected the people who make our clothes, the most vulnerable and lowest paid people in the fashion supply chain. “The global trade union which works to give workers around the world a voice, says that millions of garment makers have already lost their jobs as a result of the virus and have no access to social or financial safety.”

This has affected many fashion brands directly, as they face challenges by no longer having their manufacturers to rely on. Brands typically pay their suppliers weeks or even months after delivery, rather than upon order. Suppliers, though, need to pay upfront the cost of materials and fibers used to make the products they have been asked to produced from brands. The issue is that with the unfolding situation of the pandemic, fashion brands and retailers are cancelling orders, due to low demands of clothing, and cancelling payments for orders that have already been placed with their manufacturers. Hence, fashion brands take no responsibility for the impact this has on the people working under their supply chains.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still undertaking, consumers are anxious about health and finances. The pandemic propelled an already existing surge for secondhand fashion. The resale, or sale of “pre-loved”, clothing has become more of a trend globally, and is seen across several social media channels. Trying to overcome the financial distress, consumers started to rethink about ways to gain something out of the unused clothing sitting in their closets. While some do decide to donate their apparel, others view their wardrobe as a tradable, valuable asset and decide to sell.

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably change the fashion industry forever. The necessity to purchase clothing on a frequent basis no longer exists, and numerous brands and historic department stores have closed for good. That said, face masks have been trending as a fashion statement during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been suggested that possibly “no other piece of clothing has had a trajectory like face masks — something that began as purely protective transforming into a fashion statement in no time at all.” The Trikini in Italy, for example, consists of two piece beachwear and a matching mask. More broadly they have appeared on the catwalk as a part of the haute couture‘s industry turn towards a utilitarian flair, and furthermore with the global rollout of effective vaccines thought is now being given to “the post-COVID look.”