We recap 2020, a tumultuous year of marketing for the fashion industry, through the lens of Alexis Rose’ positivity and determination to succeed.
Almost a year has passed since COVID-19 began impacting our lives in a significant way in India. The fashion industry has since met with several waves of changes, evolving for survival along the way. With stores shut, digital became a key point of sale. With real-life events being impossible, virtual reality stepped in to save the day for fashion marketing in 2020.
Masks were perhaps the most intriguing addition to fashion with artists and designers stepping up to usher the essential item into the zone of mix & match, collectibles, and exclusive merchandises. It helped them stay afloat and relevant through the crisis when regular monies couldn’t keep coming.
As things started to get better and cities began to unlock around Diwali, fashion became a focal point for malls to concentrate on for people who hadn’t shopped in months and were bound to go shop for new clothes to feel that old sense of excitement and awe.
Fashion, along with electronics, was a key category for e-commerce platforms to announce discounts during sales. Almost all e-commerce platforms, ranging from Amazon and Myntra to Nykaa and Faballey, now have dedicated sections on their portals to display masks.
Through these waves in the worlds of fashion and beyond, people were left wondering, much like Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis Rose: “Oh My God! What happened?”
Also, just like her, from creators to consumers, everyone involved in the industry found their own unique ways to adapt and stay determined to cross over to the other side.
“I told myself I would enjoy my own company tonight.”
Stuck at home, one of the primary needs people (consumers) had was to be comforted. As they put on face masks and attempted to enjoy their own company, they often scrolled through endlessly. These were the moments where brands could continue talking to them, stay a part of their lives.
These conversations weren’t about products — at least directly. They constituted comforting imagery and relatable content hooks, accompanied by soothing images, facilitating urges to keep hoping.
Safety was another key aspect of marketing for the fashion industry in 2020. Here, masks were displayed and people were told about how they can have access to the trendy pieces in a safe way.
In the flurry of events that impacted marketing strategies in 2020, the #VocalForLocal wave was one of the most significant ones for fashion brands. It led brands to highlight their roots and create narratives around their products, with a focus on the source, people, and processes.
Efforts were also made to help people find new ways to wear and accessorize the clothes in their wardrobe and the ones they were eyeing to add to their collection. This included content pieces by brand persons as well as influencers associated with them.
Masks became an essential item, reminding people about the numerous rules they were supposed to follow because of the dreadful virus. This is where fashion brands found their chance to add value to the experience with a variety of designs, making it all a little less tiresome.
It wasn’t all about selling: Brands took the time to spin narratives that went beyond. They used the time to build brand recall and present stories that could help consumers feel their relationship deepen beyond commerce.
“It’s called an immersive experience, David.”
A big part of fashion is about the experience. May it be the feel of the fabric or the grandeur of an event — it all counts. However, COVID-19 shifted the scales to the favour of all things digital in the beginning and phygital as things began to fall in place.
As Alexis would say: “It’s called an immersive experience!”
Several webinars and virtual events were held by brands and publishers that report about the fashion industry. Here, discussions ranged from creatives processes to industry advocacy with ideas being bounced around for how to make the most without bowing down to the impact of COVID-19.
These also proved to be avenues where new collections were displayed. Like all other industries, masterclasses and DIY sessions were a big part of the marketing efforts in 2020 for fashion brands too.
Such events also came to the rescue to fashion students, preparing to enter the field with a display of all things they are capable of. These events were mostly held as restrictions began to be lifted and phygital events became a possibility. People could consume it online as the students got a taste of a real fashion show experience in a safe environment.
“Love that for you!”
With cities undergoing unlock, malls and stores started to open up. This was good news for all, consumers as well as sellers. This also opened up a new set of communication possibilities for retailers. They had to convince people to visit, facilitate a safe experience, and ensure everyone was having a good time on the premises. Yes, Alexis, we love that for them too!
Influencers were key to the communication being put forth at this stage. They were invited for visits, where they could create content and nudge their followers to follow suit. Aspects of safety were the most important part of the narrative in such content.
Customer testimonials were also leveraged by brands to express how they were trying to create safe spaces for people to come and shop.
The fashion industry has been through a tumultuous 2020 this year, evolving and adapting as per the situations at hand. People found their way despite odds stacked against them and kept communicating, in sync with the needs of 2020. They were resilient through and through, deserving an affectionate (and mostly virtual) ‘Boop!’ from Alexis.