5 Indian Designers On How COVID-19 Has Affected The Business Of Fashion

Nelly Wadia , 09 Apr 2020
Designers, Ritu Kumar & Punit Balana
Designers, Ritu Kumar & Punit Balana

Since the beginning of 2020, things have been rife with struggles. From the bushfires to the alarming NRC announcement to now COVID-19. It’s been a non-stop roller coaster affecting every single person globally. Not to mention how the global economy is struggling right now. People are being laid off, brands and designers have had to shut their stores to flatten the curve. Of course, these are essential measures that have had to be enforced. But can you imagine the kind of fear everyone is living with at the moment?

And while I’d never want to spread this fear I do want to shed light on how designers and their brands are being affected by the lockdown. It is a privilege to be able to stay home and have access to the internet, food, groceries and many more things that we forget to be grateful for. Stay home, stay strong and continue to practise social distancing. This is the time to help flatten the curve.

Here’s a look at how designers have been affected by COVID-19:

1. Designer Priyanka Modi of AM:PM

Due to the mandatory national lockdown, production and day-to-day activities have obviously been suspended. All our physical stores across the country were closed down even before the official directive came from the government, in the interest of the safety of our customers and staff. The online store, even though it’s open, has seen a dramatic drop in traffic and orders, as deliveries have been put on hold until the lockdown is lifted.

This leaves us with not much to do except judiciously re-assess, re-strategize and re-organize for when the market opens up again. We are re-looking at our priorities and resource allocation to navigate the upcoming recession, detailing initiatives to help rebuild revenues in the post-Corona phase. These are being created to deflect the pressure of deep discounts. Amidst this, we are also re-planning the launch of our new capsule collection as timing will be everything. Our teams, which are otherwise not used to working from home, have very quickly adapted to this improvised culture and have remained very productive.

However, more crucial than these measures, our top-most priority at this time of unrest is our people. Employees, kaarigars and customers alike, we are trying to be responsive to the changing social climate through conscious and relevant internal and external communication. It is our endeavour to help our people look at the brighter side and remain hopeful about our collective futures.

This is not the time when anyone wants to be inundated with marketing ads, and like always we completely understand and respect our audience’s state of mind. For now, we have dedicated our communication platforms to become more conversational and are committed to only communicate responsibly during this time. We want to build conscious awareness on how to tackle this pandemic and repeat the responsibility of every individual as many times as possible. 
Designer Priyanka Modi of AM:PM
Designer Priyanka Modi of AM:PM

2. Ritu Kumar

I don’t think after this pandemic the Indian fashion world is going to be the same. The way it is going to change one really cannot tell. But change will happen not only for itself but also from the global perspective. All the brands under Ritu Kumar are very much connected with Indian textiles. And we are trying to convey that the indigenous quality of ours should and will remain the same; hoping to survive this but may be not exactly in this new way as we did earlier. It will all depend on the pandemic and how long it lasts.

Veteran Designer Ritu Kumar
Veteran Designer Ritu Kumar

3. Designer Punit Balana

Both our stores, as well as the manufacturing units have been closed to ensure safety of all our staff and others. The marketing & design team is working from home. The lockdown due to the pandemic will affect the business massively, but it’s important to adhere to regulations. Online sales is the only means of sustainability during these difficult times. We have communicated to our customers about the delay in deliveries. We are hoping that this lockdown would help stabilise the situation and we can all get back to our normal lives soon.

Designer Punit Balana
Designer Punit Balana

4. Shriya Som

Let me start by saying that we are in this together and as a creative brand we are also a fashion brand that has to fuel itself ahead with proper economic planning. The results of which will help the stability of the brand in the stormy weather by taking the right actions that benefit all. Some of the measures are ensuring the well being of my employees and their families, finding alternate business strategies and most importantly sustaining newer creative endeavours with zero-waste solutions.

Designer Shriya Som
Designer Shriya Som

5. Lecoanet Hemant

The last fortnight under the looming Coronavirus pandemic has been an extraordinary exercise of growing concern. In the beginning, it was a sudden decline in sales which in our case became a concern of how to maintain production which now is closed. And will now grow into a concern of staying in touch with colleagues by organising video meetings just to be in touch as a tribe.

Didier & Hemant of Lecaoanet Hemant
Didier & Hemant of Lecaoanet Hemant

This is a hard time for all businesses and yes luxury businesses will be most affected by this lockdown. The universe is pushing us to a hard re-set a time to reflect and count our blessings. Let’s take this time to put our life and goals into perspective. We’re all in this together and patience and perseverance will be key in restoring structure.

Be sure to follow @missmalinifashion on Instagram for more updates.s

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