Pukaar Magazine’s Laura Jane Bateman explores the fashion industry and how our shopping habits have changed over the past 12 months.
Over the past 12 months, our lives have changed in more ways than we could have ever imagined. As the hospitality industry ground to a halt and shopping centres closed their doors, many people found themselves unexpectedly working from home. Covid-19 has had a phenomenal impact on our livelihoods and caused a significant shift in our spending habits. We witnessed, and possibly even joined in, panic buying and stockpiling of essentials such as toilet paper and soap. But when it comes to fashion, our buying habits also changed.
Many of us have become more aware of our disposable income as we were unable to socialise or travel and our money could only be spent online from the comfort of our own home. Some changes were inevitable, while others were brought on by choice as our perspectives changed. For instance, those who have become more money conscious may have subsequently become more reluctant to spend their money. Expenses such as rent or mortgage payments and bills have remained essential but without an occasion to dress up for, the incentive to purchase clothes and accessories has lessened – swapping carefully curated outfits for the same two sets of tracksuits we found buried at the back of our wardrobes last March.
E-commerce has been our saving grace thanks to its convenient nature. With just a few clicks, we can make a new purchase and have it delivered to our door the very next day. We have great expectations for the speed of delivery – what once took two weeks we now expect to receive within three to five working days at most. But with social events still not allowed, where do we go in our new finery? The sale of “going out” clothing has plummeted since the height of our social lives consists of meeting a friend in the park for a socially-distanced walk, an occasion that I would often celebrate by treating myself to a freshly-laundered tracksuit.
We have had the opportunity to reassess our relationships with time, money, and subsequently fashion. For some, these unprecedented times have allowed us to recognise the simplicity of our basic needs. Perhaps we have gained a fresh perspective, appreciating the small pleasures of freshly baked bread from the bakery across the street or
takeaway coffee in a reusable cup from our local café. As we approach the lifting of restrictions in the UK, how can we maintain some of the positive changes that we’ve made to our shopping habits?
Consider your budget
Budgeting is important, for some more than others, and we all subconsciously or consciously factor this into our financial means. Are you likely to change or revert to your old bad fashion habits? Be prepared. If possible, set aside some of your income for clothes and accessories. Some items are deemed more essential than others – such as underwear or work uniforms for those who prepare to return to the office environment. But don’t forget to set aside something for fun too!
The notion of fast fashion is driven by the name it
holds, fashion in a hurry. There’s a thrill when we ‘treat’ ourselves, but let’s try not to revert to panic buying. Conscious spending is simply a reminder to ask yourself, ‘do I really need this and why?’. You deserve to feel empowered in your first post-lockdown look. Whether you want to continue embracing comfort over style or you’re ready to shake things up, consider renting your outfit. There are rental apps that offer a moment of luxury for a fraction of the price; By Rotation app, HURR collective and Rotaro to name a few. Alternatively, you could put together two different pieces from your wardrobe to create a new outfit or style one of your classic choices with a different accessory to create a new look, or you could even organise a clothes swap with friends. Whatever you wear, it’ll be complementary to the reunion with family and friends because let’s face it, that’s what’s really important.
Give to charity by donating or shopping
Charities need our help more than ever before as their income has dropped during the lockdown. If you can, find some time to declutter your wardrobe and drop a bag or two at your local charity shop. While you’re there, why not take some time to browse – your spare change could buy your next go-to outfit. Different charity shops might accept clothing, accessories or even homeware as long as they are in a good enough condition to sell on. LOROS accept drop-offs at their Wigston superstore or warehouse in Glenfield, British Heart Foundation offer a free home collection service, or you can order a donation bag from Save the Children or British Red Cross to be delivered straight to your door. Look up your local store in advance to check the specifics.
Shop small, support local
Independent stores have particularly suffered as a result of Covid-19. Unable to adapt like other industries, local fashion boutiques and stores are perfect for dropping into on your daily walk as they reopen. Another plus to shopping locally is that it directly reduces the product journey – minimising your style’s carbon footprint while you support a local business. Why not drop by the Royal Arcade’s Wardrobe or Pilot on the High Street to find your out-of-lockdown look?