Superimpose season-less style with repeat value and you’ve pretty much nailed the post Covid-19 style forecast. Classic, utilitarian and value for money – will be the three key attributes influencing buying behaviour once the lockdown ends. Season-neutral essentials that can be worn year-round — and have a long shelf life will be the mantra in the post pandemic retail world. Fashion observers also opine that the transition to more pared-down, trend-less pieces will ultimately give way to exuberance and excess — just as wartime fabric rationing paved the way for Dior’s New Look in 1947, and the 2008 financial crisis which ushered in Alessandro Michele’s Gucci debut in 2015.
Sunil Sethi, Chairman, FDCI observes that offerings may be season-less but not necessarily timeless. “After being home-bound for two months when people will come out, they will channel their inner peacocks and would want to stand out. Instead of timeless, I see season-less pieces working well. Timelessness as a movement has been around in the west for years, but it’s still to find a momentum in India. We may be the leader in many fields, but we are not the leaders in fashion and will wait for some direction from the West. Also, a lot of countries will kick-start their nightlife before us and hence they are likely to set the trend first. In India, revenge buying may not take place the way it happened in China recently where Hermès and Chanel did phenomenal sales. I personally feel we’ll be lucky if someone buys a new collection when it comes out.”
Designers across the board opine that once the lockdown ends, people will express their emotions through the transformative power of clothing. Designer Shane Peacock observes that classics become classic over a period of time like an LBD and people who understand fashion will always invest in those, however, the new money customer will go for fads. “With Instagram influencer culture mushrooming, everyone seeks clothing where uniqueness is the key factor. Personalised offerings will be the new luxury like that one touch of something on a jacket. I see individualistic, personality driven pieces doing well post Covid-19 when people would want to savour a whiff of escapism,” says Shane.
Designer Rimple Narula sees heirloom pieces which can be passed on from one generation to another becoming the focus.”Once the vaccine comes out, weddings will be back with vengeance. How much can you confine people to their houses? Fashionistas who are fond of dressing up will go all out expressing exuberance through their clothing.”
Designer Shruti Sancheti notes that even before Covid-19, people seemed inclined towards season neutral merchandise. ”I see classic pieces which help one make a day to night transition and something which can be worn across continents and for many occasions becoming popular. Once the vaccination is in place, people will go all out and I see a new look emerging, something to cheer oneself up.”
Designer Dhruv Kapoor is going to be pushing a big chunk of his business in the athleisure department. “Normally we release one or two sweatshirts/lounging looks, however from next season we plan to have a larger curation of lounge wear. Other than that, we would be removing our focus from absolute basics and pay more attention to statement pieces which would be season less no doubt. Our big focus is going to be on versatility and to ensure that each piece can be paired up or paired down depending on the occasion to promote repetition.“