These are scary fucking times. Yet, I somehow manage to think about clothes even during a god damn global pandemic. I remember the way we dressed was altered after the Banks pleaded for a bailout twelve years ago. I do not doubt that things will be different after this virus as well. Here are some hot takes on what style will look like in the post virus world we all live in.
We Won’t Buy As Much
The global economy is projecting to hit an airball at any moment. When the masses are tackling problems like making rent and affording groceries. You can expect a steep decline in the overconsumption of clothing. With less emphasis on quantity, the shift back to quality seems inevitable. Brands are worried. Just look at The Fashion Law’s report (Point # 2) on how high fashion is increasingly worried about our future shopping habits. Some of the most respected menswear retailers are canceling orders which means there will be less to shop from.
I’m typing this on Thursday, Supreme’s infamous 11 am drop date. It’s currently 11.30 and gear is still available. Even the most lucrative pieces (hoodies and sweatshirts that showboat the word SUPREME) that would make the average clot chaser swoon with joy are sitting in the online shop. You know capitalism is fucked when even the Re-sellers ain’t shopping.
When the Great Recession hit in 2008, there was a strong reaction to always look out for quality instead of quantity. Clothes and footwear that were marketed to be worn for any social setting to stretch its value did very well. When the global pandemic simmers and the recession talk heats up, prepare yourself for the Buy Better Buy Less angle.
A Return To Minimalism
We are nearing the end of the wild style era of dressing. The days of mixing and matching, and experimenting with different silhouettes are closing. In an economic downturn, clothing is simply not important. A lot of us will be buying only what we need. During tough financial times, even jawnz enthusiasts become instantly smarter with their cash.
With less disposable income people will be less inclined to spend on the weekly sneaker drops. With tighter pockets, people want clothes that are versatile and can be routinely worn. We will crave clothing that looks flattering but also clothes that can withstand multiple run-ins with a washing machine. There will no longer be an appetite for limited edition statement pieces that can’t be worn daily.
Tailoring Will Be Relevant Again
We tend to assume that fashion design is solely controlled by high-end luxury designers. The Hedi Slimane’s and Raf Simons of our world does possess enormous amounts of clout. But like this Quartz’s article points out the most drastic alterations in how we dress come from disruptions in everyday life and society. The majority re currently locked up at home. We are wearing more sweatpants and comfy sportswear than we have ever before. When we are finally allowed out of our homes and allowed to mingle, what will we want to wear? The answer won’t be more athleisure.
In the post virus world where handshaking has frowned upon we are going to need as many non-physical cultural cues to communicate without physical touch. Tailoring does that. Wearing a suit and tie is a sign of respect. Will we fancy something that signifies to the public that we are finally not in quarantine? Say maybe a blazer or a pair of loafers?Tailoring seems poised to make a comeback in our lives. It signals respect.
The Secondary Market Continues to Grow
When paying retail is no longer an option, there will be more of us doing our shopping on the already growing secondary market. In Hong Kong, one of the Asian cities that has managed the virus crisis reasonably well (no city-wide lockdown, low rise in cases), their local second-hand luxury clothing market is currently booming. It seems people living in Asia who have dealt with the virus much longer than we have are still worried. In turn, many are liquidating their assets offloading expensive handbags for reserve funds in fear of a second virus wave. Are we soon approaching a world where Hypebeasts are selling off their Travis Scott Dunks to make sure they can afford the resale price of two-ply toilet paper?