How COVID-19 Is Affecting The Fashion And Beauty Industry

Jobs are on the line.
PHOTO: Getty Images

As of this writing, China and Italy have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. Both countries hold the fort of the fashion and beauty industry: Italy is the style capital of most designer brands, and China is the leading supplier and the biggest market of the luxury retail sector. Their paralysis resulted in major disruptions in the industry. Check out our report below:

Fashion weeks have been suspended.

At the beginning of 2020, the virus has deterred people from attending shows at the tail-end of Milan Fashion Week. Some runway shows were even canceled. Shanghai and Beijing fashion weeks were postponed, while Tokyo Fashion Week was completely called off. Chinese designer brands also pulled out their shows from Paris Fashion Week.

Beauty and fashion jobs are on the line

Because of social distancing, everyone is forced to stay at home and do their jobs remotely. But not everyone is privileged to do so. Freelance makeup artists and hairstylists who cater to runway shows and shoots are now jobless. Models, photographers, and stylists are unemployed, too.

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Salons and clinics have shut down their operations. The services of aestheticians, hairstylists, and nail artists are on halt. Thankfully, some organizations like the Belo Medical Group announced that their employees will still receive their salaries despite their clinics' temporary closure.

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Sales numbers are expected to drop.

With no one prioritizing fashion goods (buying alcohol and soap over everything else is the trend now), brands like Kate Spade, Coach, Stuart Weitzman, and Under Armour are anticipating sales dips.

China's paralysis has affected the industry's supply and demand chain.

It's no secret that China is the biggest supplier in the fashion and beauty industry. In an interview with TIMEGary A. Wassner, the CEO of Hildun Corporation and the chairman of Interluxe, said, "We became very dependent, and we allowed it to happen because it was cost-efficient, but that’s not the only thing to consider." With the China-based factories shut down, luxury brands have to look for alternatives to keep up with production in the future.

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Interestingly, China also dominates luxury fashion sales. Pauline Brown, the former chairman of North America Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), also explained to TIME how the Chinese consumer's priorities have affected the industry. "The Chinese have been the single biggest driver in luxury and fashion in the last 10 years. They comprise about one-third of all purchases of luxury, but they are more than 70 percent of the annual growth in luxury consumption. So there has been a disproportionate reliance for quite a few years in that consumer," she detailed. Without the big-ticket purchases of Chinese customers, the overall sales of luxury retail will decline.

Brands have reached out to help.

Dolce and Gabbana and Bulgari allocated funds to be given to hospitals and medical facilities in Italy. LMVH, Kering, and Richemont donated to the Chinese Red Cross. Italian fashion influencer Chiarra Ferragni also helped raise money for medical care for COVID-19 victims.

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E-commerce is booming.

In Italy, everyone is forced to stay at home, so consumers turn to online shopping to get their beauty fix. Here in the Philippines, though, the shipping of non-essential goods has been put to a halt in compliance with the government's Enhanced Community Quarantine rules.

H/t: Fashion and Beauty Monitor, TIME, Allure

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