Impact of Coronavirus on the Fashion Industry

What will be the full impact of Coronavirus on fashion? Amid the Covid-19 epidemic, I discuss the short and long-term changes this epidemic may bring about.

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MBFWA just made an important announcement regarding this season’s fashion week. In the wake of Coronavirus, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2020 has been canceled. This decision was made because of a mandate by Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), which states that non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people cannot take place in the country.

Social distancing is one of the basic and most important measures that we need to take to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, as it has been proven to be effective in reducing community transmission. And MBFWA fashion week is just one example of the impact of Coronavirus in our lives.

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Also read on our other site The Coronavirus & the Commoner

Other than this, we’re already seeing cancellations or delays of many other events all around the world. For example, the latest James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die,”  has been moved to November, Coachella (which has been moved to October) and many fashion shows for Paris and Milan’s fashion weeks were canceled.

“This decision was made after careful consideration, as the health and safety of everyone involved remains our top priority,” an email from Fashion Week Australia said. They will be refunding all ticket purchases. While this announcement is a welcome change in the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s also marking the beginning of an important change that we’re going to be seeing in the fashion industry.


Fashion week as a whole is an event like many others in our society – built for experiencing at the venue – with other people sitting next to you. If the Coronavirus fear comes down and we see a sharp decline in the Covid-19 cases soon enough, this kind of a change may be temporary. However, current rise in Covid-19 worldwide suggest that at best, we’re looking at many months of disruption, if not longer.

Short-Term Impact of Coronavirus

Many design houses have already postponed their upcoming Cruise fashion shows, like Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Max Mara, which were scheduled to take place in May at many different locations around the globe.


While fashion weeks are the fashion insiders’ privilege, even common folk like us are going to start seeing major changes in fashion itself. Fashion sales could very well be impacted as a whole due to this epidemic. According to a new report by investment management firm Bernstein created in partnership with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), luxury sales could have an impact of estimated euro 30-40 billion due to Coronavirus.

Mid-Term Impact

To begin with, the Chinese form a major customer base of the luxury goods market, whose shopping habits have been impacted due to travel bans and closures of malls. Secondly, shopping malls and stores in major fashion shopping districts like Milan, Paris and New York are closing down temporarily. Even stores like Nike, Nordstorm, Abercrombie & Fitch, Urban Outfitters are following suit.

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And thirdly but most importantly, there is a major factor that is going to impact fashion sales in the coming months – the lack of occasions to buy clothing for. The closures of restaurants, cancellations of event and gatherings is highly limiting people to find any reason to shop new clothing. Furthermore, more and more people are working from home in the Coronavirus-struck regions, which limits their need for buying new garments, daily-use beauty products or accessories.

Long-Term Impact of Coronavirus on the Fashion Industry


To fully predict the impact of Coronavirus on fashion, we need to understand why we really need fashion, and what role it plays in society. Fashion, by definition, ties greatly into the whole concept of socialization, gatherings and a love for things that are non-essential to our physical health. It’s also about standing out in a crowd. To stand out in a crowd, you must first be in a crowd.

This kind of impact will really depend on how long this epidemic lasts, what permanent changes it brings about in human behavior, sociology and whether these kinds of global epidemics become common in future.

Could this mark the beginning of the end of experiencing fashion as we know it? Will we really need clothing for nightclubs, gyms or other places, once we all become germaphobes for good? Will we want to get our nails done at the salon, dipping them into a potential virus soup?

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Will we all want to move our spendings from luxury goods to nutrition and health? Should fashion designers introduce work-from-home collections in the coming years? Are we over-reacting? I hope I am.

Let us know what you think will be the impact of Coronavirus on fashion and fashion industry by tweeting me @shilpa1ahuja.

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