It would be an understatement to say that the last year or so has been challenging for people worldwide. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc around the globe, leaving people unable to work, go to school, or see their friends and family during extended restrictions. During this time, though, many people have found solace in engaging in the things that they enjoy, and this means that there has been a wave of developments in the world of fashion.
Pakistan has long been known across the world for a country with a love of fashion, and it’s interesting and heartwarming to see how people have used this part of their lives to make Covid easier to endure. But how exactly has Covid-19 affected the fashion scene in Pakistan?
Compassion & Care In The Industry
The Golbal fashion industry is often regarded as being bad for consumers and workers while only being suitable for Fashion Houses. During a time like a pandemic, workers rely on their employers to support and look after them more than ever, and it’s good to see that many companies around Pakistan have been working hard to make sure that they can keep their teams intact.
This support has come in a few different forms. In some cases, companies are lobbying the Government for support to ensure that they can continue to pay their employees for their work. In others, fashion moguls are coming out and offering support to front-line workers and other essential members of society at this challenging time. Figures like Shamoon Sultan, Founder and CEO of Khaadi, have been promising to make donations to support people in these positions. (Source)
It’s hard to say how this will impact the fashion industry overall and in the future. It would be good if other designers, manufacturers, and other fashion companies were to follow this lead, giving their employees better lives on the other side of Covid-19.
An Online Explosion
Retail fashion has long dominated the fashion market in Pakistan, with many customers choosing to visit physical stores to buy their garments. With lockdowns across the country, though, anonymous retailers in Pakistan have reported that their brick and mortar sales are down as much as 75% in 2020 thanks to Covid-19. (Source)
While stores have struggled to sell their products, many customers have still been spending their money, only this is now shifting to the online space. In response to the pandemic, many retailers that had an online presence were able to generate sales through large discounts. Other stores worked to build new websites for this and some moved onto marketplace platforms to make their money.
This is a change that will no-doubt last into the future for many shoppers. As more retailers begin to operate online, the methods they use will quickly become standardised, making it much easier for shoppers to enjoy their shopping experience. Alongside this, many stores will have seen the value in avoiding the costs of physical stores during this transition.
With travel restrictions limiting overseas Pakistani’s in the USA and UK have turned to online market places to buy what they might bough during a visit to Pakistan.
The Social Revolution
Social media has long played a heavy role in influencing the fashion scene. Many of the world’s most popular models work almost exclusively from sites like Instagram, and there has never been a better time for these websites than the Covid-19 Pandemic. A lot of people have been looking for new ways to spend their time, sending them flocking to social media websites so that they can interact with other users.
The long-term implications of this are only positive, with people from other countries getting an insight into Pakistani style, and the people of Pakistan getting to enjoy fashions from other cultures. Social media has been a major tool for retailers as they transition into selling online, with many companies relying heavily on platforms like this to sell their goods.
Facing New Challenges
Pandemics have always presented challenges to humans, but the modern world is far better equipped to adapt and change than those of the past. Many Pakistani clothing manufacturers have been working hard to adapt their factories to produce PPE, with a wave of companies taking this approach at the beginning of the pandemic. Lulusar is a great example of this, having retooled many of their facilities to produce Covid-19 protective suits. (Source)
Alongside this sort of challenge, the fashion industry has also faced supply shortages and delivery delays throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This has made it difficult to make new clothing and ship sales out, prompting The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) and the Pakistan Readymade Garments Exporters & Manufacturers Association (PRGMEA) to call for government action.
Thankfully, the Pakistani Government released a Texture Policy for 2020 to 2025 in May that should address the concerns of leaders in this industry, but this will have to be closely monitored to make sure that companies both small and large are protected. (Source)
The Shape Of Pakistan Fashion in 2021
Many industries have gone through change and faced challenges throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This issue isn’t over yet, but this doesn’t mean that the positive side of it can’t be celebrated.
Despite the bad side of Covid, it’s good that people from around the world are getting the chance to enjoy Pakistan’s rich styles and trends. It’s also positive that businesses have been able to forge new positions online, as this gives small companies a chance to succeed in a space that enables them to compete. For the consumer, these changes mean that clothing might get a little more expensive down the line, but it also means that you have access to more options than ever before.
In conclusion, it’s easy to see that the fashion industry in Pakistan has been hit hard by Covid-19. Many of those working in this market have dedicated themselves to improving the situation, though, and the impact of this will be felt long after the restrictions have lifted. It’s hard to say how other aspects of society will change, but fashion will hopefully be a little bit better for the world once all is said and done.