Retail giants are pausing inventory, and consumers are saving their money during the pandemic. Governments are allowing essential commodities to continue and planning to open retail stores in the future. Entrepreneur reported essential products to compose a small percentage in India’s online retail industry, which is around $60 billion. Logistics and production have halted, and companies are scrambling to solve this issue.
In a first-hand look, Forbes interviewed London-based fashion designer Steven Tai and stranded at the garment factory in Macau. In his lockdown, he has 2 out of 12 sewists in the factory to generate his designs for Paris Fashion Week. As he presented his collection, he noticed that there was half the number of buyers as usual. Like Steven, other designers have adapted to the new supply chain method and match the demand with their current resources.
Steven created a creative approach to the lockdown. To reach 50% of the buyers in lockdown, he used a lazy susan turntable to create gifs of the looks, essentially creating a virtual look book. Thus, the virtual look book produced half of the orders. Traditional supply chain methods have faulted, but newer digital approaches can help designers to sell to their consumers stuck inside their homes
While brands adjust their production strategies, the garment workers face economic hardship. Fashion Revolution highlight the workers’ livelihood when factories cannot provide them with their job anymore. As companies are canceling their orders and halting payments, factories destroyed their products and laying off workers for the lack of demand. While companies strategize new ways to sell, factory workers are left wondering if they will return to a job.
Helping factory workers is a top priority for fashion brands because they produce labor and materials. A non-profit, Garment Worker Center, in Los Angeles, helps thousands of low paid workers, such as the immigrant, women of color, and their families. The center created a COVID-19 fund for workers affected by the disease. As non-profits assist the garment workers, fashion brands need to match this effort by providing economic support and creating a program to replace their job.
Although brands adjust to the economic crisis, The Guardian reported that UK retailer Primark announced it would create a fund to pay its supply chain workers. However, some question whether the brand received or paid for orders in production from its factories. Unclear, it is beautiful to see some attention for garment workers, and brands will hopefully create funds and support their workers with any needs. Solving supply chain methods in the pandemic is essential, but brands need to put the lives of their workers first.