Updated: Jun 15
As we are beginning to tentatively return to some of our normal activities, it is beginning to become apparent that life will be different and right now it's hard to predict how different! The changes that have happened in a very short time do show how versatile we all are. Working from home has become the new normal and looks likely to stay this way for many. This has seen many completely changing the way they dress on a daily basis. Zoom Style and a more casual approach to work wear may come as a nasty surprise to big brands who have already stocked for the summer collections. This could also reduce the choice available to us on the high street.
When I pulled my ideas together for my Crowdfunder bid, I saw one avenue where I could add value to what is currently on offer to women needing an update in their wardrobe. This was based on the generosity that is being shown by those who are receiving income to others less fortunate. In less than 3 weeks it is becoming clear that we are unlikely to be rushing out for a clothes shopping spree in quite the same way. The mainstream press has been debating how safe it will be visiting our favourite shops. Trying on garments will create challenges for retailers with some choosing to steam clean every item returned to the shop floor and others storing items coming back from changing rooms for 24-48 hours. It certainly seems likely that it will take time for shoppers to feel confident about returning to the high street.
It is possible that we may have to make appointments to visit some stores safely. In this instance there is an element of stress involved as no one wants to feel pressured to buy but will we all have the time to do the research necessary to make a trip worthwhile? In many ways this will make the process of choosing an outfit more thoughtful and is likely to require the support of either shop staff or stylists.
A less pressured way of shopping would benefit those in our community who are most at risk of infection. I have already been approached by a disability rights campaigners fearing that clothes shopping will be an even bigger nightmare than before. As I develop the Pay it Forward part of my business I most certainly will be including this under-represented community.
Clients have had time during the pandemic to consider the impact of their purchases. This may have begun with shocking stories of garment workers going unpaid for work they did prior to lockdown but has turned its focus to those retailers taking a responsible approach. As I work on the requests of clients with very particular needs it is heartening to see that they really care about the well-being of the people involved in the manufacture of the pieces I am seeking on their behalf. Many of us have enjoyed the cleaner air resulting from reduced road and air traffic. With time on our hands a deeper connection with our immediate environment is a definite benefit of this lockdown period. This looks likely to lead shoppers into more sustainable choices but many lack the confidence and don't know where to start. This time will see stylists with a real understanding of sustainability (not green washing!) in demand.
* there are no affiliate links in this post. Simply some articles I found along the way and information gleaned from Insta posts.