Fashion is the largest employer around the world and also one of the heavier hit industries affected by COVID. As brands and retailers pull back orders and furlough staff to stay afloat, many garment workers are feeling the brunt of the fallout. But with many economies closed, and the future uncertain, how do we move forward? We did a little digging to see how life has been for garment workers in this pandemic and some organizations doing their part to help.
The entire world has been turned upside down due to the Covid-19. Industries have been put on pause and the future seems uncertain. Fashion weeks are going digital and the normal flow of the fashion world has stopped. Designers have had to shut down their workshops and their production has totally shifted. However, some think that there is a silver lining to this pause. The CFDA has urged brands to skip the resort season. Some brands have halted their fall season as well and are getting rid of excess stock. This means lower waste and consumption which is positive in a sustainability sense. Designers have been focusing on what they can do during this time to make a positive impact and it's rebooting their creativity.
One of the most common questions we get from brands is, "Where do I find factories?" it can be hard to go from idea to product when you have to find a fabric suppliers, notions, labels, and a cut and sew factory, not to mention freight carrier, logistics warehouse and everything else it takes to build a brand. COVID hit early in fashion because of our manufacturing ties to Asia. So by March pretty much all manufacturing and sourcing had halted as we all figured out how to stay safe and stay in business. Now that manufacturing is moving again, where do you begin to find a factory? Here are some resources.
The fashion industry is fundamentally built on a system where supply is ordered based off of predicted demand prior to any factual determination. Trends are determined seasons ahead of time, demand is hypothesized and the orders are placed by brands before they can know the actual consumer demand. A system like this has proven to be unsustainable over the years and has resulted in overproduction in the garment factories. In a study released by the SAC and Higg Co in April it is stated that, “Further back in the global supply chain, a survey of over 500 manufacturing facilities across all main production regions...shows 86% of all facilities have been impacted by cancelled or suspended orders. As a direct consequence, 40% now struggle with paying employees, leading to layoffs and factory closures.” Yet there are still some garment factories managing to keep their doors open despite the hardships and how they are doing so might surprise you.