Fashion Business: Staying Afloat In The Pandemic

Much like the world, the fashion world changed overnight. As real-life stores quickly switched to be online, the industry, too, has to switch their business plans and start finding ways to thrive online. As people find themselves clinging online for some resemblance to normalcy, it isn’t rare to find people scrolling their phones in the middle of the night to look for new trends and styles to fit what they call the ‘new normal’.

Whether it is to provide the outfits styled for working from home or masks to complete styled outfits from clothes at home, we have compiled a list of five fashion trends in the pandemic (as usual, complete with their Instagram handles) for you to check out.

5 FASHION TRENDS & HOW THE PANDEMIC ARE AFFECTING BRANDS

  1. Tie Dye
pictured left to right (@monomolly.id, @butterflyeffect.id, @bumibia from Instagram)

The trend originated in Japan, but ever since the lockdown started, a lot of people started to find themselves doing something creative to do like using fabric paint to dye clothes in a tie-dye pattern.

2. Facemasks

pictured left to right (@cottonink, @by_sassh from Instagram)

To encourage people to wear masks and as a fashion statement, companies are enthusiastic to provide facemasks to complement the clothes they are selling.

3. All Lilac Trend

pictured left to right (@by_sassh, @alys.studio, @oudre_id from Instagram)

As in, if you have been scrolling online, the colour has been popping off in a tie-dye formation, the colour of the promoted t-shirt, or even just the purple hue on fabric.

4. Thrift and Vintage

pictured left to right (@foryouthelabel, @cheesyramyun from Instagram)

This style has been making a comeback recently, with the rise of the sustainable fashion trend with the 80s and 90s fashion that is all the rage online.

5. Checks and Prints

pictured from left to right (@youpoppin, @eesome,id, @alys.studio from Instagram)

They are being reworked to be very comfortable and cute to be worn as loungewear at home and professional for your zoom meetings.

According to an article by IDN Media, small fashion businesses are the driving force to keep the export economy stable, valuing almost US$13 million. However, as we take a closer look, not only do the brands realize the pandemic changed the course of their business, but it creates opportunities to grow their brand to create small changes in the community.

Let’s take a look at some of the brands, shall we?

  1. @cheesyramyun stated that the pandemic had impacted them and made it much harder to find thrifted clothes for them to keep on doing their business. They only had limited options from trusted online suppliers, and that can’t fulfill the demand of some clothing styles. To keep up with demand, they researched Pinterest and Tumblr for inspiration to help them rework their found thrifted pieces and keep their customers interested, which started their line of painted jeans and reworked pieces.
  2. @alys.studio tells that the pandemic taught them to take actions very quickly. As soon as the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (APD in Indonesian) is high, they produced it at the right time. They believe that keeping up with the trends is very important. They saw a trend for comfortable pyjamas, they made the trend happen. When people are coming back to work, they produce their new collection Office Hours for their website.
  3. @by_sassh believes that fashion brands are forcing people to adapt to the pandemic to solve the problem of consumerism. Inspired by the pandemic and people being home most of the time, the brand started out to make pyjama-like products from the founder’s hobby of painting to pass the time in the pandemic. They believe that trends do come and go, so they focused more on the quality than the trends. The brand didn’t have many expectations when starting out in the pandemic due to uncertainty, focusing the brand on supporting people affected in the pandemic. By the months, they felt the impact from their vendors and partners as they supported them in making their small business.
  4. @foryouthelabel has a steady income of consumers to their business during the large scale social restriction (PSBB) period. By providing value and experience instead of profit, the brand has been curating trends from the internet with creators styling their clothes. Although fashion is a non-essential item, people still have an interest in purchasing their products.

HOW DO THESE BRANDS STAY IN THE MARKET?

According to an article by IDN Media, small fashion businesses should:

  1. Follow the current trends to suit the customer’s needs.

For example, in the pandemic when going out, people need to use a mask in order to protect themselves and others from the virus. The solution is for businesses to make face masks to suit the styles and outfits they do have in their stores.

2. Utilize their online platforms to boost their sales and showcase their newer designs

Instagram has been a driving force to new small fashion businesses to show their new designs for consumers to see. It helps them find their own personal platforms for their designs, benefiting from e-commerce, as well as how they merge the offline experience into the digital age. It works in the pandemic when people want the offline experience to be online. As a result, Instagram accounts for 80% of Alys.Studio’s online sales from the platform itself. It also helps new fashion brands, such as by_sassh to promote their brand through Instagram to make the online experience as offline as possible. TikTok, as another growing social media platform, has a higher engagement rate because it’s not just about pictures, but videos showcasing real people wearing new types of trendy fashion, as Foryouthelabel has exhibited by collaborating with known influencers in the platform. By doing so it creates a conversation with the brand and the products.

3. Using local sources for their fabric and materials instead of imported sources

This is to highlight the #BanggaBuatanIndonesia movement from President Joko Widodo, as well as maximizing the use of local materials from local sources.

4. Using local facilities that the government has provided

As an example, the Indonesian government has facilitated a program for small fashion businesses, providing no interest in KUR for six months by buying textile machines.

TIPS ON BUILDING A FASHION BRAND IN THE PANDEMIC

As the effects of the pandemic are still felt in the new normal, here are a few tips from these brands to build your brand in the pandemic, and what makes them successful in this age of digital retail:

  1. Understand Fashion

Ask yourself if you want to go into fashion because it’s a fast-paced environment, and do your research before getting into fashion, so you won’t end up quitting in the middle.

2. Be consistent and keep improving

Learn how to improve what you want to sell by being consistent in posting what you are selling, and in improving your products.

3. Learn how to promote your creations

Present your products as attractive and intriguing as possible because it’s a selling point by using a good photo, learn angles with a nice background and learn how to make a good selling promotion from photos or videos or just the brand in general.

4. Provide value and experience with customers

Customers will come back if they had a good experience with the brand, and it will add value to the community that you are making with your brand.

5. Be honest with your customers

Don’t overwhelm them with saying yes to everything. Sometimes hurdles happen, and stock might not be ready, and customers will come back if you are honest with them at the start.

We support those who are planning to start a business, hence we launched a Business Starter Pack, consisting of company establishment service, branding & marketing service, and routine business coaching. For more information: bit.ly/ApiaryBusinessStarterPack or visit our Instagram profile.

Written by: Kenisha Widya (Social Media Team of Apiary Coworking Space)

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