Pandemic Panache: How COVID-19 is Changing the Fashion Industry

Pandemic Panache: How COVID-19 is Changing the Fashion Industry

Quarantine, but make it fashion.

Although that might have been a phrase uttered in ironic social media posts, the reality is that the fashion industry has experienced major disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, fashion is ever-evolving — and often as a result of social and global change — so it makes sense that some brands are able to roll with the punches and address emerging consumer demands. Let’s take a look at some of the ways the fashion industry has been impacted by the novel coronavirus.

Pandemic Panache: How COVID-19 is Changing the Fashion Industry

Fashion Industry Outlook

Around 50% of small businesses survive for five years or more — and independent designers and even small-but-well-known brands are having a tough time due to COVID-19. While brands owned by luxury conglomerates are weathering the storm just fine (and some have even seen revenue increases since the onset of the pandemic), even high-end independent brands like Tiffany and Co., Mulberry, and Salvatore Ferragamo have endured massive layoffs and multi-million dollar losses. Not surprisingly, most consumers aren’t in a position to drop a ton of cash on a brand name bag or an expensive necklace right now.

It’s also important to note that the global supply chain for brands has seen major upsets, especially when it comes to fast fashion. Brands aren’t able to deliver low-cost products quickly, as their suppliers have often been cut off due to the virus. As a result, many stores (like Zara) have shut location doors permanently and others (like H and M) have offered massive mid-season sales to make up for the loss in revenue. Even Anna Wintour of Vogue has hinted that the pandemic could spell the end of the road for fast fashion.

Fashionable Face Masks

Still, creativity continues to thrive — and necessity is the mother of invention, as is evidenced by the many designers who have switched gears from couture dresses to face coverings. From Eva Franco and Alice + Olivia to independent Etsy shops, brands have been making — and selling out — face masks for months. Even major corporations like Disney and sports organizations have gotten into the game. Now that the CDC agrees that mask-wearing is essential for all persons over the age of two, consumers are eager to get their hands on reusable fabric masks that can protect them in public spaces. Despite the fact that 93% of kids have seen a doctor within the last year, both children and adults want to do what they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means there’s a major market for face coverings. And while no one is making a substantial income from these masks (as the unwritten rule is to cover only the cost of materials and minimal labor), it’s a way for brands to stay in the public eye, keep employees busy, and provide a much-needed product to the masses.

Work-From-Home Style

In-person fashion shows, like so many events, have gone digital. The combination of travel restrictions and social distancing requirements makes strutting down the catwalk or sitting in the front row next to impossible. And while some people are looking for a bit of escapism, many others just want to be comfortable.

Around 60% of millennials say that improved technology will make the need for face-to-face conversations obsolete — and we’ve seen that put to the test throughout the pandemic. Although it may have been surprising to some, the fact is that business meetings and social get-togethers can take place to great effect via video chat.

As a result, much of the workforce is being productive from their living rooms. While they might be inclined to wear a nice shirt or blouse on top, many of these employees are wearing sweatpants or loungewear on the bottom. And those who have been laid off and have nowhere to go are also opting for ultimate comfort. Sales of pajamas increased by 143% in April, while purchases of pants, bras, and jackets dropped by percentage points in the double digits. And although Crocs saw some major sales thanks to the pandemic and many athletic footwear companies have seen some successes, overall shoe sales were down in Q1 of 2020.

That said, these trends might reverse as states start to reopen. When China finally reopened, one Hermes store had its biggest sales day in history because consumers were so eager to get back to other shopping habits. Still, some are saying that transitioning from comfy clothes to restrictive workwear might not be easy, particularly because weight gain has proven common during the quarantine. Online secondhand clothing sales, especially those on platforms like Poshmark and Mercari, have been fruitful throughout the pandemic — but once retailers and thrift stores start to reopen, it’s possible that those sales might start to dip.

But what might happen over the next couple of months is still a bit of an unknown, especially as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise in areas that have already reopened. We might well have to brace for a second wave, which could cause us to revert to our pandemic habits — but brands might be better prepared for that possibility now that they can more accurately predict consumer behavior.

Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

Put Your Money Where the Movement Is: Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

In response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, people across the United States have started speaking out against police brutality in Black communities. The past few weeks have seen protests in every state in America and in at least 40 countries around the world, countless petitions to get justice for Black Americans who have been killed by the police, and crowdsourced lists of organizations to donate to. As the initial wave of protests subsides, many people have been wondering how they can continue to fight against racial disparities in this country.

Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

In addition to keeping this necessary conversation going even as the media cycle focuses less on the protests, a great way to help ensure that Black communities receive the reparations they deserve is to support Black-owned and Black-operated businesses. Whether you physically go to businesses in your community or you support businesses across the country by shopping online, you can fight inequality in the long-term by putting your money where your mouth is and giving Black businesses your hard-earned cash. There are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S. and all it takes is a simple Google search to discover which of these are owned and run by Black entrepreneurs. To get you started, here is just a small list of some of our favorite Black-owned and Black-operated brands.

Castamira Swimwear

Castamira Swimwear - Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

Chantel Davis, a Jamaican-born model, founded this luxury swimwear brand in 2017 and hasn’t stopped her entrepreneurial efforts since. Davis wants Castamira to be a swimwear company for all women, regardless of their size, shape, or skin color. Before she founded the brand, Davis went to university and then signed with Wilhelmina Miami to work as a model for three years.

After seeing the same thin body type over and over again in the modeling industry, Davis was inspired to launch a swimwear brand that aimed to make all women feel comfortable, sexy, and confident in their own skin. Davis designs Castamira swimsuits so that they highlight the small of the back, support the bust, embrace curves, and elongate legs. Every inch of these swimsuits is catered to the female form so that any woman can have fun in the sun while feeling undeniably beautiful.

The Doux

The Doux Haircare

The Doux is a professional approach to curly hair that delivers real results without all of the hype. Maya Smith, a licensed cosmetologist, developed The Doux in a textured hair salon with extensive research and development and thousands of transitioned clients. Smith developed The Doux to treat any style of hair, whether it has natural curl definition or it’s been thermally straightened. With Smith’s innovative product, she’s squashed the battle between straight and curly and proved that any kind of natural is beautiful.

Black Girl Sunscreen

Shontay Lundy's Black Girl Sunscreen

Shontay Lundy created Black Girl Sunscreen in 2016 to help Black people protect their skin against harmful UV rays. Lundy formulated this sunscreen specifically for darker skin tones so that it doesn’t leave a white residue or cast after you apply it. Whether you love laying out on the beach or you’re among the 162 million people who make up the U.S. civilian labor force and spend your working hours out in the sun, you can use this sunscreen to protect your skin. It is also reef-friendly, as it is made with an all-natural formula free of harmful parabens and fragrances.

JustFab

Black-Operated Brands You Can Support Today

JustFab is a fashion-subscription e-commerce site that provides members with a personal shopping experience and is part of TechStyle Fashion Group’s portfolio of brands, which also includes Savage X Fenty, Fabletics, and ShoeDazzle. Daria Burke helps ensure JustFab’s success as their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this position, Burke oversees all marketing functions and pilots JustFab’s global brand awareness and positioning.

Prior to joining JustFab in 2019, Burke led various fashion and retail advertising partnerships at Facebook and Instagram; was a founding team member of Rent the Runway, and served as Head of Beauty Strategy, Innovation, and Experience at CVS. Although Burke is early in her career at JustFab, she is sure to give the fashion brand a boost with her extensive expertise. Bet you didn’t know, JustFab was a Black-operated brand.

Mielle Haircare

Mielle Haircare

With a focus on health from the inside out, Mielle products have shaken up the hair care market since the company’s 2014 launch. Monique Rodriguez is the company’s founder and CEO and used her nine years of experience as a registered nurse to create a line of natural beauty products for all hair types. At an affordable price, you won’t need to pawn precious stones to get the cash you need to purchase Mielle products. You can easily find these natural products at major stores like Walmart or purchase them online to support Rodriguez and her business directly.

Glam Body

Danika Berry's Glam Body

Danika Berry created Glam Body in 2017 with the goal of making skin look and feel better with natural ingredients. Glam Body’s coffee scrubs are vegan and cruelty-free, containing jojoba oil, coconut oil, and coffee. This combination of ingredients helps fight stretch marks, cellulite, hyperpigmentation, eczema, dull skin, and aging effects.

French Deal

French Deal Mens Fashion

Steeven Kodjia started in a competition-winning dance crew at the O’Tentick dance company, a Parisian-based dance studio. While he performed at concerts and in music videos, he developed a strong interest in men’s fashion. After frequent trips to New York City to search for streetwear styles he couldn’t find elsewhere, he decided to start his own fashion label, French Deal.

French Deal is based on Parisian hip-hop looks and VOLUME 4, Steeven’s latest collection, aims to shine a positive light on Africa. With this collection, Steeven wants to challenge stereotypical beliefs to prove that Africa has an amazing fashion scene with a rich history and culture.

Glow by Daye

Glow by Daye Hair Tools

Glow by Daye is a brand that sells high-quality hair maintenance tools and products to help you meet your hair goals. Ranay Orton, a self-proclaimed lazy natural, wanted simple solutions to care for her hair and didn’t find them on the market. So, she created her own. Whether your hair goals are focused on length, moisture retention, or prolonging hairstyles, Orton’s products are designed to help you.

Rucker Roots

Rucker Roots Haircare

Sisters Ellen Rucker Sellers and Ione Rucker-Jamison launched Rucker Roots, a line of healthy products to help all hair types. Their products are derived from vegetable roots, such as ginger root, carrot root, and turnip root. You can shop the Rucker Roots collection for individual shampoos and conditioners or for multi-step systems to boost your hair’s health.

Whether you want to treat yourself to a piece of luxury fashion or you’re looking for affordable products to use in your daily life, you can support Black businesses. Use these companies as a starting point and remember to share your favorite brands with your friends and family. By creating a network of financial support for Black-operated businesses and recognizing the achievements of Black entrepreneurs, we can help Black communities thrive.

Hanifa Pink Label Congo Collecton

Hanifa Debuts New Collection on Instagram Live With 3D Models

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine have forced many people and organizations to adapt to a world based on virtual communication in order to survive. Workers now doing their jobs from home have adjusted to using video chats for all meetings. Those who no longer have jobs have to rely on online forms and portals to receive unemployment and Temporary Disability benefits. Businesses have had to make their goods and services available online or else face bankruptcy. Out of these obstacles, however, many individuals and organizations have found ways to thrive.

Hanifa Pink Label Congo Collecton Hanifa Pink Label Congo Collecton

One fashion brand has made a virtual splash that could change the future of fashion, but the designer behind it had planned her unique launch before the coronavirus pandemic made it essential. Designer Anifa Mvuemba debuted the newest collection from her brand, Hanifa, with 3D digital models on Instagram Live on May 22. The runway show, which featured her Pink Label Congo collection, pulled in over 500 viewers and changed preconceived notions about how you could put on a fashion show.

Mvuemba first had the idea for a virtual runway show five years ago, but she had limited technical knowledge to pull off the ambitious plan. To learn more about 3D modeling, she turned to Google and YouTube. Using the same determination she had when learning how to sew from the same search engines, Mvuemba studied 3D design software while she designed the physical collection.

“I’m just the type of person that when I want to learn how to do something, I’m going to learn it even if that means I have to be up 24 hours for a week straight,” said Mvuemba.

She finished the collection’s looks in November 2019 and in January 2020 she decided that she would make her vision of a virtual fashion show come true. She started with testing out curvy 3D models on Hanifa’s Instagram, replacing the brand’s real-life models to preview the upcoming looks.

Soon after, the spread of the coronavirus created another obstacle for Mvuemba and her brand. As she admits in an interview with Teen Vogue, the designer was initially hesitant to move forward with her virtual runway show.

“The news came out about how serious things were and I started to feel a bit anxious about everything going on. I started feeling like maybe it would be insensitive to create and share a new collection online while people were facing very difficult realities,” Mvuemba told Teen Vogue.

However, Mvuemba began to see the unique opportunity she had to launch a runway show that could transform the fashion world. Traditional runway shows tend to happen at major events like New York Fashion Week, making them inaccessible to much of the world. Not only are invitations to these events exclusive, but many people cannot afford or are not physically able to travel to the events to even have a chance at seeing the shows. This can exclude people in lower economic classes, people with disabilities, and people who are older — the global population of which is expected to reach 22% by 2050 — from the events where major fashion moments happen. By debuting a runway show on Instagram rather than in an inaccessible NYC venue, Hanifa opened up its show to anyone of any age and ability in the world.

Making the show accessible to anyone who wanted to watch it was also important because of the show’s content. The Pink Label Congo live stream started with a mini-documentary on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Viewers saw clips of news articles on the illegal child labor and abuse of power that occurs in the Congo in the name of mining Coltan, which is used to produce cell phones. Mvuemba wanted to contrast this abusive part of the Congo’s history with its beautiful scenery and citizens, represented by the stunning collection.

The runway portion of the live stream showed curvy, body-less models strutting down a virtual runway. Although there were no bodies making the clothes move, the Congolese-inspired pieces draped on the 3D models, showing every curve and bend. The runway was set to upbeat electronic music that accentuated the show’s celebration of culture and joy. Even viewers who were among the 15% of adults who have a form of hearing impairment, however, still saw that joy through the beautiful runway pieces. From pieces like the Kinshasa dress, a red, blue, and yellow pleated mini-dress that celebrated the colors of the Congolese flag, to the show’s finale look, the Mai Maxi that features the Congo river, the runway was a proud display of Congolese culture.

After the show finished on Instagram, the Internet sang the brand’s praises. Hanifa became a trending topic on Twitter, the first time the brand has ever done so, and the show became the subject of headlines across media outlets. Fans across platforms marveled at Mvuemba’s creativity and innovation and went wild with pride from seeing a black woman taking this monumental step in fashion history.

Whether you want to celebrate black women — yet again — changing the world for the better or you’re inspired by the gorgeous clothing, you can shop the full Hanifa Pink Label Congo Collection on its website. If you’d like to help people directly in the Congo, check out the collection’s Colette T-shirt. Hanifa is donating 20% of sales of the shirt to support Congolese families who have been affected by the illegal Colton mining. And of course, keep an eye on what else is to come from Hanifa. We certainly will be and we can’t wait to see what world Mvuemba will invite us into next.

Effleure Launches First-Ever Luxury Scented Lingerie Collection

Effleure Launches First-Ever Luxury Scented Lingerie Collection

For the moment, most of us are quarantine with our loved ones, many of which are your significant others. While absence makes the heart grow fonder, we’re not so sure if 24hr access keeps the relationship all that exciting. Let’s be honest; most of us are living in sweatpants or leggings. So that had us wondering, how are you keeping your love lives exciting? We know that boredom can lead to many things; with a reduction in libidos, how do you make being intimate become exciting again? Luckily for you ladies, Effleure has a way to add a bit of excitement back in the bedroom with the launch of the first-ever luxury scented lingerie collection.

Effleure Luxury Scented Lingerie Collection

Founded by Virginia Marcolin, a veteran of the lingerie market, the memorable sensory collection shows that you can be your own or your partner’s aphrodisiac. Effleure is the perfect marriage of scent and luxury ladies underwear in three iconic designs. Available styles include the Bikini ($20.00), the G-String (2-pack/$25.00), and Boyshort ($25.00, aka the culotte in the UK). These underwear styles are gently and safely infused with ingredients that are free of heavy metals and known carcinogens.

 

The therapeutic-grade essential oils allow the scent to last through multiple washes of the top drawer staple. Effleure scent-infused undergarments are as safe for the skin as taking a bubble bath, thanks to their tried and tested proprietary formula. The black lace and microfiber underwear are infused with lavender, black coconut, dark chocolate, or French vanilla essential oils. They are designed to embolden the wearer and are available in sizes small through XXL.

Effleure Luxury Scents

“Our lingerie is about embracing womanhood, and frankly, seduction is the bonus. We want women to wear lavish lingerie that inspires confidence to succeed in everything they do. This kind of luxury is a state of mind.” Virginia Marcolin, the founder and CEO of Effleure Inc.

Effleure Launches First-Ever Luxury Scented Lingerie Collection

By introducing a third sense to the mix, Effleure lingerie not only stimulates in the moment on a higher level, but it also employs the brain’s ability to recall enticing memories.

Marcolin adds, “The science behind this is simple. After you’ve worn our infused lingerie with your lover, when they’re away and happen to smell a similar smell, the brain’s olfactory function springs into motion and they immediately think of you.  It’s an instinctual win/win.”

Furthermore, Effleure is committed to donating $1.00 of every sale to one of four partnering charities.

Jardin by Macris: Look Good While You're Working From Home

Jardin by Macris: Look Good While You’re Working From Home

Admit it, for the past few weeks, your work attire has been 90% pajamas and sweats. Ours has certainly been that. But as we see winter turn to spring, we found ourselves asking a question. Are you still wearing your winter wardrobe for those Zoom meetings? We certainly hope not. For those times you need to look good for your video conference or chat, check out the affordable and fashionable offerings from Jardin by Macris.

Jardin by Macris: Look Good While You're Working From Home

Just because you’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to some must-have spring fashion. With these bestselling and must-have items from Jardin by Macris, your quarantine work style remains on point! It’s slowly getting warm outside but you most likely still have your heat on, so styles like the California Breeze Sweater are perfect to throw on. The light and slouchy yet breathable sweater is a perfect transition piece. It layers perfectly over a bralette or tank top. For those who are too comfortable in their tank tops to change, top it off with the Embroidered Tassel Kimono to take you from couch potato to classic chic.

Got a video conference with the big boss? The Everyday Necklace Blouse will keep you looking effortlessly stylish. This easy-fit, chiffon blouse boasts a removable necklace, keyhole detail at the back and roll-up sleeves with button tab. Shine in a little black dress with a wild side like the Leopard High Low Dress. This “business in the front and party in the back” Jardin by Macris dress is both classic and stylish.

Jardin by Macris: Look Good While You're Working From Home

Looking for something different than the average pull-over cover-up? Try the spaghetti strap, wide leg Malibu Beach Jumpsuit in jersey-knit for your living room and bedside adventures. Or if you really want to keep it all about business, the sleeveless Hi-Low Shirt Dress is a great button-down look. For those who are single want to look amazing for their virtual date nights, the sexy, off-the-shoulder Isabella Maxi Dress is both comfortable and alluring.

So while you’re home wondering what are you going to wear for your next Zoom and Skype meeting or virtual date, check out what this small but stylishly affordable California brand has to offer. We promise you won’t retreat it, especially as you can get 25% OFF when you use the code: SPRINGTIME25.

NYFW: BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

NYFW The Shows: BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

There’s a certain point in our lives when we transition from childhood to adulthood, giving up all our fearlessness, imaginations, and wonder. The world as a whole changes us; we get more cynical, more beat down, and more stoic, losing our innocence. This transition, this loss, is what inspired the BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection.

NYFW: BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection NYFW: BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

The theme of the BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 collection is an abstractive reflection based on the current society and global issues. With the advancement of technology and human culture, more and more people start to lose their faith and naivete. People fall into money and desire, doing whatever it takes to survive, and concealing one’s pure and kind side.

NYFW: BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection NYFW the Shows

“Lost Elf” are the elves born from forgotten memories. Your favorite toy you no longer play with. The memory of your happiest childhood place. These elves live in abandoned toys and dirty trash. They are different from the beautiful and pure fairies from fairy tales. They are from the future. These elves are missed and neglected which reflects on the side of “fine but ignored.”

NYFW: BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

We as humans tend to look at the beautiful side and ignore the bad side. The BLANCORE Fall/Winter 2020 Collection shows us both sides. With design details such as teddy bears and lightweight fabrics to represent some of the good and face masks and lots of layering (re: the weight of the world) representing the bad, we’re left with a collection that forces us to come to terms with our duality. “Lost Elf” represents the forgotten side and another side of beauty just like the trash in our ocean, deforestation, and carbon emission. Yalan Li and her design team find their inspiration for colors, fabrications, and silhouettes based on the image of elves born from these environmental issues. They also found their inspiration through the collisions and contrasts of these things face to face.

If you love the above looks, check them out in motion via video of the models’ finale during their NYFW Show.

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection

Once again, it’s time for fabulous fashion. Of course, we always make time for fashion. You may notice our emphasis on time and fashion; which is exactly what the Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week is all about. Timepieces, much like fashion, is very personal. Boasting 30 years of Swiss luxury watches, Maurice Lacroix presented a collection of classic yet fashion-chic watches you will surely want to make your own.

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Maurice Lacroix SS2020 CollectionAdeline Ziliox SS2020 at PFW

The bold and ultra-feminine collection from Adeline Ziliox was the canvas to perfectly display the Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection. Each Adeline Ziliox SS2020 look featured embroidery with subtly designed emotional landscapes; These landscapes play on transparency to illustrate the rhythm of life. Models graced the catwalk at the Le Marois in Paris private mansion with Maurice Lacroix timepieces gracing their wrists.

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection
In the spotlight of the Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection, is the woman; with the launch of the exceptional Masterpiece Embrace watch. This watch reflects a fusion of artistic expression and technical innovation thanks to its retrograde calendar and an atypical small second display. Two hearts twirl around, representing the ups and downs of each love relationship while remaining united thanks to a perpetual embrace. This watch is available in two versions. One with a blue aventurine dial and the other with a white mother-of-pearl dial, enhanced by the light radiation of the small second indicator.

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Maurice Lacroix SS2020 Collection

The Fiaba line was also in the spotlight with the new Fiaba Moonphase. Combining functionality, glamour, and elegance, it features a moon phase indicator, a dial set with diamonds and an infinite number of details that will delight even the most aesthetic. This model is available in three versions, including a two-tone watch. This duo of novelty watches boasts a myriad of possibilities. With these two models, each woman will find the watch that reflects her personality.