Fashion + The Global Crisis

Unprecedented: global crisis, fear and fashion

After catching glimpses of the news back in January, it never crossed my mind that coronavirus could have even the slightest impact on my life. I presumed it would be perceived as an anomaly that we would soon forget in about a month. Admittedly, I was totally naïve and ignorant to the extent of the situation. Now I tune into the live conferences filmed at Downing Street each day waiting for the next series of bad news.

Trust and distrust

A global crisis such as this has the capacity to recreate and reshape the ways in which we personally live our lives, the way certain industries work, and also the ways in which we perceive our own government. ‘Unprecedented’ appears to be an appropriate word that is defining the situation, meaning we are depending on our government to make prompt, sensible decisions.

However, in a time of such uncertainty, how are we as citizens expected to put our entire faith and possibly our lives in the hands of the government who have never handled anything of this calibre before? If we do not like how the government handles the situation, this crisis will forever determine our trust in them. 

With the gap consistently increasing between government officials and general citizens, it becomes hard for real people to relate to those in authority. This deficit of trust enables our suspicion of the words and advice politicians deliver to us, meaning people may struggle with wanting to follow their instruction.

As previously stated, these are unprecedented circumstances, so there is no path to follow to handle this. The government urge you to follow their procedures and advice to aid with the slowing down of the virus, but oftentimes their advice is not feasible and does not cater for everyone. The advice has been little and lacking for the self-employed, for people still needing to go to work and they have not been explicit as to what constitutes ‘essential’, whether this be in terms of work or travel. How are we meant to put all our trust into the government if they do not provide solutions and advice that is clear and accommodates everyone?

Public fear and anxiety

Alongside the government, news media also have an overwhelming responsibility to handle this situation the right way. Trust with our news broadcasters is essential, as they are disseminating the information to help keep ourselves, our loved ones and our society safe. However, relaying this information needs to be done with a correct balance of being informative without instilling public fear.

Oftentimes the news headlines reflect that of a disaster film, using sensationalised phrases and terms. Fear and anxiety can be just as dangerous as the pandemic itself, allowing people to speculate and spread false information. Consequently, news broadcasters must work quick to squash any speculation that arises.

Almost everyone, including myself, braces themselves for the notification for how much the death toll has risen each day. Whilst these numbers are relevant and essential to know, maybe it would be nice to occasionally take a more positive outlook? We rely on the media to inform us, so why can we not be informed about the recoveries of people who have experienced the virus and how we can come out better and stronger once normality resumes?

Global crisis and fashion

As we know, countless industries are taking a major hit due to the pandemic, and the fashion industry is not exempt. Footfall to the local high streets significantly reduced up until the point of zero when they were told to close completely by the government.

Additionally, online clothes orders have decreased. What is the point of buying clothes if you have nowhere to go? Despite the strain this puts on the fashion industry, maybe now is the time for both fashion retailers and us as consumers to reshape the ways in which we perceive fashion. As stated, the media need to start producing content that inspires us to become better after this has come to an end, and the fashion industry is one way that society can improve.

A fresh start

Consumerist culture means we have become a society that is driven by a desire for materialistic objects. Scrolling through fast fashion websites and ordering a new outfit to replace the one you have only worn once becomes a mindless hobby that is repeated countless times.

However, with the current situation, buying new clothes becomes pointless, there is nowhere to go to wear them and nobody but yourself to see what you are wearing. It is enough of a task to convince myself to get out of my pyjamas each day and put on an actual outfit, even if the outfit is only comprised of a jumper and some joggers.

Consequently, each time I put these comfortable ‘work-from-home’ outfits on, I see the other clothes that make up my wardrobe that I have no reason to wear currently. It makes me eager to wear those again. I already have an abundance of clothes that are ready for me to wear again once we return to normality, I do not need to scroll through the websites of clothing companies that are still operating. I have developed a newfound appreciation for the clothes I already own. 

Therefore, maybe this crisis could be the beginning of a serious change. Even though several fashion retailers will suffer through this, maybe it could inspire a new production process. Fast fashion runs a quick course, developing from being just a design idea to an actual product that is hung up in a wardrobe never to be worn again in the matter of weeks.

Old is the new, new

If consumers begin to realise that they have the tools to deliver actual societal change, that we do not need all these objects, retailers may recognise the need for a new type of fashion. This pandemic does not have boundaries, it is global, and everyone is experiencing it. We cannot buy clothes, we have nowhere to wear our clothes, fashion shows are cancelled, and production has reached a halt. Without all these things, we may begin to recognise the benefits of replacing our own desires for materialistic objects with a desire to help society.

The fashion industry has been given the opportunity to slow down completely, there is no pressure to release the latest collections and trends, so maybe this is the opportunity to reshape the industry entirely. An opportunity to move towards a more sustainable fashion world.

I disagree with saying that the pandemic can in any way, shape or form be deemed as a good thing, as it can never be viewed that way. However, it provides the opportunity to take a step back and rethink how we live in our world. I now know the importance of appreciating what I already have, my clothes and things, my health, and my loved ones. 

By Daisy Taylor

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