The pandemic forced most non-essential businesses, including the fashion industry, to shut down for a period. Due to the switch to “work from home,” many people transitioned to wearing casual, basic and essential apparel. Fashion and apparel are not just basic needs, but also tools for self-expression and identity. As people could not shop for or wear new styles—because of general (prohibited access to shopping venues) and personal (low or no disposable income)—restrictions, they suffered emotional distress. Research in consumer behaviour suggests more women than men use “retail therapy” to resolve such distress. As the world emerges from pandemic-induced bans, businesses are reopening, and consumers are preparing to shop to alleviate their emotional troubles.
One good thing brought about by the pandemic was the downtime—allowing professionals, including those in the fashion industry, the space to think and explore. Without the pressure of deadlines and commitments, many creative professionals, such as product developers, designers and artists could work on innovative and creative ideas, helping their creativity to blossom, resulting in inventive new products. As the world leaves the pandemic behind, fashion is experiencing a similar revival. Simplicity, elegance and minimalism have gained traction, as has the increased importance of casual wear and athleisure. In fact, “casualisation” is expected to be a big trend in the near future. Fashion firms and brands focusing on casual wear and products will see a rise. Luxury brands will also excel, as their target customers have higher disposable incomes and are not price sensitive. This is the beauty of India’s diverse consumer market, which gives players an opportunity to succeed by appealing to different segments.