Fashion Amid a Global Pandemic: Does it have a Place?

There is a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty over the world’s future at the moment. As one of the fashion editor’s I have been wondering, does fashion, something that seems so trivial and frivolous, still have a valid place in our lives? Can we, and should we, continue to have meaningful conversations about fashion when the world is in panic?

As major fashion brands such as Prada, Zara and the LVMH group turn their production lines over to making personal protective equipment, the message from industry is clear- producing fashion is not a priority in a global crisis. Though fashion is much more than just buying clothes, and despite a global pandemic, will style continue to play an important role in our everyday lives? In ordinary times, the ritual of getting ready gives our daily lives important sartorial meaning. However, with many of us now no longer needing to fix up and look sharp for a days’ work, will style be put to the back of the closet for the time-being?

Credit: MATTEO BAZZI via WWD online

Although some might be more than happy working in pyjamas, others may continue ‘getting ready’ as normal. Having the need to ‘get ready’ omitted, the personal meaning of our clothing/makeup rituals might begin to reveal itself. Is fashion just a status marker to us, or something deeper? Are we ourselves without our personal style? Are our clothes like a costume, and do we need them to complete our daily roles?

It seems that amid a global pandemic, shopping may be curtailed (anyway, we can still buy online), but fashion is certainly not off limits. Clothes are at once both trivial and deeply important in shaping our experiences and identity, and it seems that for some of us, fashion will still have a place. If style merely means our personal sartorial choices, then regardless of what these are, they will continue to remain a form of self-expression- regardless of whether or not the world can see them.

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title image credit: GQ online