2020 has been a tough year for the economy, with factories and stores closed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fashion and clothing industry, which is one of the biggest industries in the world with over $2.5 trillion in global annual revenues, has found itself affected – largely negatively – due to the pandemic. According to Adam Edelberg, a fashion designer and financial consultant, some of the changes brought about by the pandemic will be permanent.
Adam, a renowned fashion designer, is an assistant designer to the German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop. He has dressed various celebrities including Lady Gaga and Russian pop stars such as Polina Gagarina in the Eurovision Song Contest. Adam, who grew up in and draws his inspiration from Berlin, is also a financial consultant working in the financial industry in Germany.
With a long career in fashion, Adam has been observing how the industry has been affected by the pandemic. Clothing sales have plummeted since the beginning of the year, as people have had to check their spending habits and prioritize the necessary needs due to reduced income. “Most people have been working from home, and no one wants to spend a lot of money on clothes that they’ll wear in the house only,” he says. “The closure of physical stores has also led to the decrease in sales, as this is an industry with more than 80% of sales happening in physical stores.”
One positive thing that came from this pandemic, according to Adam, is the increase in online sales. H&M’s online sales increased by 36% between March and May, while ASOS Group’s increased by 17% in 2020. This is due to the ease of purchase online, where the consumer just has to order what they need from their home and have it delivered without risking any close contact by visiting physical outlets. While the online figures have been looking good, it may take a while for the industry to recover since it largely relies on the traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.
The COVID-19 pandemic, with its largely adverse effects, has provided the fashion industry with an opportunity to rethink its strategies. As Adam Edelberg says, clothing brands and businesses will have to come up with new ways of sustainability and efficiency.