PHILIPPINES. Manila: Fashion has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, but slow fashion could save it. Countries around the world imposed quarantines that forced malls and shops to close, prohibiting the purchase of new clothes.
The Philippine government is slowly relaxing restrictions in order to reopen the economy. Although malls and shops have already opened, few people can afford to shop for nonessentials. Instead of buying new garments, people are wearing what they already have.
Slow fashion versus fast fashion
Slow fashion is a style created by people that implies hand-made garments designed and crafted by tailors to last longer. This has also been interpreted as buying second-hand clothes, wearing clothes until they do not fit, or until they break, and creating new clothes from recycled or upcycled materials.
On the other hand, fast fashion has become increasingly popular. This is the acquisition of new clothes to follow the latest trend, which is in constant change. Fashion brands enforce this change because of their continuous production. These clothes are not made to last long and are often produced very quickly in large factories.
Current status of the fashion industry
Quarantine restrictions loosen, allowing some industries to reopen again. However, the fashion industry struggles with few people willing to shop.
The pandemic has isolated people at home with little or no income at all. Therefore, people wear clothes they already have rather than restyle themselves often.
Fashion designer Ditta Sandico shared her thoughts in an interview with Transcontinental Times on the current situation of the industry. Even though she produces clothes and accessories that fit with the model of slow fashion, she said, “Things are gloomy, and the pandemic brought a lot of chaos to the fashion industry. I experience it with no sale for three to four months in the lockdown.”
She added, “I am starting again from where we left off since the lockdown. I sell more online now. I am getting back to normal, hopefully.”
Fashion artist Joseph Aloysius Montelibano collaborated with organizations promoting slow fashion. When asked by Transcontinental Times about fashion in the pandemic, he said, “We experience a global catastrophe, and the fashion industry worldwide is in limbo. Yet, it is the most flexible and adaptable field. Currently, many entities experiment on how fashion can significantly move forward.”
Slow fashion and sustainability
People will still wear clothes, and that will not go away. However, consumers are saving money and thus rethinking their style. This is both promoting slow fashion and sustainability.
The Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship Fashion Arts Design (ICE-FAD) told Transcontinental Times that they encourage their students to create and promote slow fashion through the conventional methods of designing through upcycling.
Founder and CEO Monina Tan-Santiago shared her views as well, ”We must redefine our goals and direction, recreate our brands and reinvent ourselves to adapt to the situation on hand. Thus, designers and fashion entrepreneurs must learn and adapt to change.”
After this bold statement, she added, “The fashion industry is resilient. Let us make use of this time to add knowledge, learn new competencies, and hone our current expertise. These are keys to success to transcend complexities.
Many in the fashion industry agree that change is necessary
Wardrobe and personal stylist KC Leyco Mempin (Miss Kayce) said in an interview with Transcontinental Times, “Designers and retailers are coming up with innovative products and combining them with more personalized services to keep up with the times.”
Mempin continued, “People are becoming more intentional and conscious of anything they consume, fashion included. We learned to take things slow. Slowing down fashion consumption by rotating and repeating clothes. Be more grateful for the things around us by appreciating their purpose, giving them proper care, and making them last.”
Some believe this change will be permanent
Si’Lo Co-founder and CEO Sheila Mae Naghisa Amorsolo-Fuentes shared her thoughts with Transcontinental Times as well, “Sustainable fashion and slow fashion will continue to rise after the pandemic. Therefore, big fashion brands are now more considerate and prepared for the change. Hence, I am optimistic about the future of the fashion industry.”
Fashion Revolution Philippines Country Coordinator Sophia Dianne Calugay-Morita said to Transcontintal Times, “People now prioritize to buy what is valuable and spend less. The pandemic pushes the consumption of the fashion industry to slow fashion and sustainability. Therefore, we need more awareness and collaboration to push the fashion industry to a wholistic sustainable future.”