How the fashion industry is adapting to life during and after the lockdown

Stephi LaReine, a Liverpool based fashion and lifestyle blogger

Stephi LaReine, a Liverpool based fashion and lifestyle blogger - Credit: Archant

The fashion industry has been hit hard by the lockdown - here some of the region’s key names explain how they are coping and adapting for the future.

This time last year, many of us were updating our summer wardrobe, planning outfits for festivals, summer holidays and evenings spent sipping prosecco in bars but this year, the Covid-19 pandemic means we’ve traded summer dresses for lounge pants as we stay at home.

The pandemic has had a cataclysmic effect on almost all industries and the fashion industry hasn’t escaped unscathed.

In fact, clothing sales plummeted by a huge 34% in March as the fashion industry struggled to deal with their production ceasing, stores closing and public demand plummeting.

With the many facets to the industry, we spoke to a few faces of the local fashion scene to see how they’re dealing with the current situation.


Stephi LaReine

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Liverpool Fashion blogger

‘I love how diverse the fashion industry is; watching fashion shows is like walking through an art gallery, it’s thriving with energy, difference and character. ‘My day to day work has changed and it is incredibly daunting; brands aren’t reaching out as much. However, I am incredibly thankful that I’m currently living with the person who shoots my content so I can still create organically. All my photos and videos have been taken while we’re getting our daily exercise, or from the comfort of being indoors. ‘As my workload has slowed down, it’s allowed me to reignite the spark of some of my passions. I’m an incredibly creative person, so in my moments of twiddling thumbs, I coloured in the walls in front of my house for the NHS.

‘I am looking forward to seeing how the industry will adapt. Through times of hardship; whether it be music, literature, theatre or fashion, some of the best and innovative work is created. I think people will be pushing now more than ever to create striking looks that will be iconic when looking back.’

Blue Wilson

Managing Director at Nadine Merabi

‘The brand focuses on occasionwear and currently there’s not a lot of occasions happening so our sales have been impacted. But we’re also seeing growth internationally which wasn’t something we’ve truly focused on – we’ve got the time to do so now. We focus on championing women so at the moment we’re using social media to connect with our customers and continue to build relationships with our clientele.

‘We launched a young designer colouring competition on Instagram to get younger people inspired and that’s what we’re taking the time to work on. I know when Nadine first started designing, she put herself on a self-imposed isolation, taught herself to sew and created stunning pieces, so I think she’s taking the time on new designs as well as having a new baby. We don’t follow the traditional seasons; Nadine is inspired by the women she meets and in turn our brand becomes part of people’s special moments. We call it #MerabiMoments and we encourage our clients to share their special memories when they wore a Merabi.’

Alexandra McNally

Fashion stylist

‘I’ve gone from my full-time work as a busy personal stylist, to having a lot more time on my hands has changed my days massively. I haven’t worked from home before, so this has been a completely new experience.

‘I think designers, artists and creatives, will find inspiration in the places they took for granted before. From their homes, from their walks, from the most obvious things they never really looked at before and from there, new ideas, designs and sketches will blossom. One thing from this situation is that I have really enjoyed having the time to focus on my work. I usually don’t have a minute to stop so this has given me time to reflect. I have got back to me, what I want to create and how I want to create it. I have also really loved seeing humanity flourish, it brings me to tears watching and experiencing people being genuinely good to one another.’

Claire Robinson

Owner of Chic Happens

‘One thing I’ve realised in this situation is how important it is to have a community around you which is something I’m really focusing on building. I’ve always been an online store, so I’ve never been as busy. It is a bit trickier with the day to day work, but I’ve seen a huge growth in my business; it seems many people are supporting smaller businesses.

‘I run an online Facebook community and each week, I go live and show the members the clothes, tell them how they fit and feel. I’ve seen a huge increase in members. People are becoming more connected, we discuss different things, I host giveaways and Friday night pamper nights and it’s something I love. This has taught me that it’s important to really do something you love.’

Justine Mills

Co-founder of Cricket

‘As Cricket does not have an online presence currently, the business has been severely impacted. We have all had a real opportunity to reflect, analyse and press the reset button. If nothing changes out of this situation it will be real shame and a lost opportunity.

‘The demand on the industry and its designers to be constantly creative and to come up with newness has reached its pinnacle. From taking part in Zoom calls with the likes of Vogue and Business of Fashion, we have seen that the way in which we felt – a little jaded from persistent travel – seems to have had the opposite effect and stifled creativity.

‘I have missed the travel and meeting up with other creatives in the industry – the exchange of ideas and the social element that goes with it is always exciting and refreshing. We are keeping our social media engagement alive as much as possible. We try to stay connected in a positive manner with our clients and followers, engaging and interacting with escapism, fun and beauty.