Like everyone else, I have been frantically putting my thoughts down on what I am experiencing every day. Leading to evaluating how life will be post this crisis of COVID-19 pandemic that has stopped our life all of a sudden.
The last few blogs that I wrote were knee-jerk reaction to the abrupt change that came into our life. Writing happened just as I was experiencing change. But as time passes by, the state of shock is subsiding and logic is returning to the thoughts.
And today, the more I think of it, the more I am convinced that what is most obvious as a setting trend will not last beyond the crisis. These will disappear just as they appeared in the cycle of trends that were taking shape in their normal course.
You may ask why!
Yes, the statement being contradictory to what everyone is talking has its shock value. But if we look at ourselves, the human beings that we are, and the way we think and behave as a species, logic says most of these predictions will not take over as lifestyle trends.How many times have we seen a trend suddenly cropping up and take centre-stage? If we look at the recorded fashion history, maybe twice, no more. But even in those instances, they were accepted because of their nature of functionality and comfort. The New Look of Dior and the Boxy look of Chanel were the only solutions to the minds of consumers who had reached a tipping point of seeking change. Also they were easily adaptable solutions of their times. Adaptable by the masses. Hence they became unpredictable fashion icons that broke the fashion cycle.
Let us look at Face Masks. They were adopted during the Spanish Flu pandemic and became necessary for everyone. They lasted whilst the pandemic lasted. For a product to become a long lasting every day norm, it has to be comfortable for the wearer. And a Face Mask is not. Also it reminds you that you are under the spell of a crisis. And not liberated till you are wearing it.Another good example was witnessing the forecasting being done during the Great Depression of 2009, when SUV Cars’ sales dropped due to economic slowdown. Everyone was anticipating the death of the SUV as it was considered frivolous in the times. And as soon as the economies started rebounding, we got back our groove. And look at the growth an SUV market has seen in the last decade. It has taken over half the car market today.
Luxury clothing seems to be taking the toll of the pandemic today. Many are forecasting the death of the category. I beg to differ here too. While LVMH may be making LV facemasks and other similar brands may have diverted their productions to making of PPE and other such frontline medical products for today’s need. It does not mean they will shift their businesses to these products and that the demand for such products is going to see a rise and replacement of the category of luxury goods.
We humans are creatures of habit with a pack mentality, we will always be influenced by the actions of others. We will quickly get back into the race. Race to be ahead of others. You are only recognised as the winner if you stand out in the herd. And Luxury serves you that niche. If Luxury took backstage during the Economic Slowdown of 2009, it took a rebound and saw further growth in the years that followed. So why not now?
So we are back to the critical question. What is the New Normal in the times to come. Here are some observations:
Trends That We See Coming
- Work From Home & Remote Working
- Health Conscious Living/Hygiene
- Growth in Digital Business. From Telemedicine to Education to Food Delivery
- Strong Digital Intel
- End of Excess: Conscious Consumption. But this should not be mistaken to be Slow Living. That will remain limited to the discerning few as it is now.
- Importance of Local produce
- Yoga & Natural Healing Methods
Trends That Will Be Short-lived
- Face Masks. They may last as long as the pandemic.
- Importance of Essentials. We may feel the importance right now. But it will not be long before we come back to being ourselves – humans.
Sustainable Fashion. We may all be actively making this pitch against the Fast Fashion. But its disappearance is unlikely. It may adopt a more environment-conscious avatar.
While the pandemic lasts, economies are going to take a large hit. The cracks are already visible. A lot of small businesses with ideology that propagates Slow Living & Slow Fashion will perish during these times. It will be result of the scale on which they are operating more than their ideologies, that will shut their shutters. The healthy few that survive would evolve their strategies to a more resilient approach. A few of them may become big brands in the times to come.
Businesses will reach across borders, what with the Death of Distance. People can be hired and they can function from any part of the world, expanding the talent pool availability to the organisations.
It is definitely to be seen how much change gets imbibed into our lives and how much we remain like we were in the last lifetime – the BCE era few months back. But I am sure, it will not be very different.