Updated: Oct 4, 2020
New York exemplifies itself as the fashion capital of the world. A significant influencer of international fashion trends, events, research, New York remains forever fashionable, having cemented its name as the Fashion Capital through disciplined, methodical, and creative approaches to the fashion industry. The spark of creative energy that immerses you in New York is hard to find elsewhere in the world.
New York enables fashion ideas to take root and for trends to be defined. The ecosystem nurtures fashion innovation, creativity, and style, enabling the industry to thrive. Studies show that New York City has more than 5,000 fashion industry showrooms - more than any other city in the world. (1) Further, it houses some of the world’s leading fashion designers and fashion, offering a large pool of creative talent and occupying retail space in some of the highly trafficked locations.
Fashion occupies the heart of New York’s city’s cultural identity. Here, fashion is forever, and some of the top fashion manufacturers and retailers, top fashion schools, top fashion brands are based out of New York. The fashion industry is one of the major economic drivers of the city.
Covid-19 pandemic is one of the biggest crisis faced by the fashion industry that has impacted its growth and future direction. Sudden closure of stores, cancellation of high-end fashion shows, and stay at home directives have thrown a spanner in the fashion world and New York City that is reeling from the heavy financial fallout that the pandemic has created. There is a lot at stake.
The industry must think creatively and should be willing to change. The focus will be on sustainability. Consumers will be more conscious than before of what they are wearing with safety, sustainability, and environment-friendly being on top of the agenda. Thus, the industry will need to draw out an agenda that delivers sustainable, economical clothing, with a superior customer connect.
The New York fashion industry was on high alert, even pre-pandemic, with consumer demand dwindling. Global fashion powerhouses were under immense pressure to deliver profits and provide returns on their cost of capital. The struggles have now exasperated. The pandemic has inflicted the perfect storm in the industry that needs a game-changing approach to deal with transformed consumer mindsets. Growing animosity towards waste-producing businesses and increased expectations for purpose-driven, sustainable products need to be addressed.
The recovery will be prolonged compared to other industries. With the recession, inevitably, a nail in the coffers as consumers will prioritize necessary over discretionary goods, thereby leading to significant demand contraction.
Nevertheless, fashion conglomerates need to focus on resilience planning as an innovative business model for future growth. Covid-19 has compelled us to reflect and dream of sustainable societies, collaborative communities, and eventually sustainable and green earth – a dream the fashion industry can help achieve through global and local initiatives backed by learnings from the last decade.
To mitigate the pandemic's damaging effects and adapt to a new consumer mindset, the fashion industry must leverage technology and devise strategies to future proof business models. Fashion conglomerates must harness innovation and creativity to make progressive and steadfast changes that spearhead their organizations and the industry into a more resilient 2021.
1. New York City Economic Development Corporation