Pandemic and Fashion: Will the pandemic shape the future of fashion?
By Ama H. Vanniarachchy
As the pandemic redefined many aspects of our lives, it redefined fashion too. The pandemic made us rethink fashion and created many new fashion trends. When the first lockdown happened, our homes and rooms were converted into our office rooms, lecture halls, and school classrooms or our business rooms. We adopted rather comfortable and easy fashion styles during work from home; ditched the posh smart shoes and started wearing soft slippers or socks or used to be barefoot.
Our blazers, blouses, and jackets were long gone as we used to wear loose comfortable t-shirts or tops with comfortable pajama pants, shorts, loose pants, or sarongs. No more heavy makeup, hairdos as we opted for no makeup or minimal makeup, and loose or loosely tied hair which makes us comfortable. Even if we had to go to work, fashion is not as it used to be. Masks and face shields cover our makeup.
As many would wear protective clothes that cover the body, fashion is merely something about being safe, comfortable, and cosy. Fashion experts wonder and discuss the future of post-pandemic fashion. Many experts say that since the pandemic is here to stay with us for a longer period, fashion will also need to be adjusted accordingly. The most important and notable fashion trend set by the pandemic is to be comfortable and economic, rather than focusing on merely being stylish. Will these reasons shape the future of fashion? As many are facing financial difficulties, fashion is no longer a priority.
Hence, recycling clothes, shoes, accessories, and bags are happening now. In times when food and health are the priority, many cannot spend on fashion. But as clothes are essential, recycling old clothes can be seen by many. Instead of tight-fitting clothes, people have adopted to loose comfortable clothes and now have started loving them. The latest fashion trends will also be based on these traits. Many find it comfortable to wear flats and slippers instead of elegant shoes or high heels. Those who report to work during these days and those who work from home, both have adopted these fashions. However, this does not mean that they are unprofessional.
Prioritising comfort, safety, and budget when choosing fashion is and will be the future of fashion, especially work attire as experts would say. This will naturally and eventually push the fashion world towards sustainable fashion which is best for the environment too. According to fashion psychologist Shakaila Forbes-Bell, people’s perspective on fashion has been altered by the pandemic. “With lockdowns forcing us to stay indoors, the lack of social feedback put the focus on how clothes made us feel rather than their aesthetic value.” Hence many focus on comfort.
“They need to not only be physically comfortable but psychologically comfortable in what we wear will likely remain as people have come to realise that clothing can be used as a tool to aid cognitive processing and general wellbeing”, the expert says. Even makeup trends have shifted from being dramatic to minimal and neutral. This has indirectly yet effectively affected the environment as the use of chemical products, plastic containers, and animal testing reduces while the harmful impact on our physical health by reducing the use of chemical products. Also, there is no doubt about the benefit this has on the budget of many. The pandemic has also made people focus more on healthier, sustainable, and organic fashion, by adding more meaning and mindfulness into what they wear.