IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section


What are the immediate effects of the lockdown? How do you plan to revive your trade going forward?

One thing is certain, online sales will go up
Sales at walk-in stores started plummeting and people started to deliberately put their wedding events and celebrations on hold, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fibre2Fashion spoke to few of the high fashion designers to understand the fallout of the pandemic.

At the moment the factory is shut. We are also nervous because the government has come out with a notification that should there be even one case at a factory that tests positive, they will shut everything down in a half kilometer radius. It is very expensive to start and stop, and it is not tenable that if people in the neighbouring streets do not maintain the protocol that we get shut down.

We take orders on a delivery time schedule for people’s special events; so, I think that is going to be a problem.

We do not know what the new norms are for ateliers and factories. We have to function at 25 per cent of manpower because of social distancing that might well be okay, but we also need to see the demand holds up for it. One thing is certain, online sales will go up but again that will go up in proportion for more casualwear, which people want to use again, and is not going to be for giant weddings.

Most of our sales are done in India and at very high-end exhibitions abroad, but going abroad is out of the question for six months.

Our factory is shut. Most workers are migrants and have returned home. Once things are back to normal, we will resume production with our workforce still in Mumbai, and wait for others to return as and when they feel it safe.

Once the pandemic is under control, we will see the Monsoon season which is a slack period anyway. The consumer mood will be watched once daily life reaches some level of normalcy

Just before the lockdown, I had a show planned for March 12 for my new collection. We cancelled it a week before as a precaution. So, I have a collection ready once we resume operations.

It’s been two months of no business and I have no idea when we will start work again. My studio is shut, but rents and salaries even if discounted marginally are unavoidable expenses. Not immediately, but I plan to make one collection for Fall 2020 which will revolve around sustainability, and ways to cater to a more conscious and aware customer. Manufacturing will also be limited as quantities will be only as much as the demand is.

Everything is different now. I am only focusing on doing online sales to pay our workers.

Everything I planned in the first week of the lockdown has flown out of the window. We will have to see how things will be once the lockdown is lifted. Shopping patterns will change completely as life as we knew it has changed. Our products need to change accordingly too. My only focus is to collect funds to pay salaries. Once we open, we will have to see how we can move forward. Work will be less. I will not be investing in a lot of new stock; may be work on reduced salaries for a few months.

Published on: 22/05/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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