By Dale Peers
Fashion is a reflection of zeitgeist and our current zeitgeist has undergone a paradigm shift. This pandemic has impacted lives globally and it continues to do so as we begin the process of emerging from quarantine.
We have seen after each major political, social, economic event in the past century a shift, an alteration, an influence on design and fashion. What will the impact of Covid 19 be on fashion?
Here are a few thoughts:
After weeks of “dressing” in our most comfortable of clothes will we be able to give up the softness of sweats, the cosiness of pjs, the luxury of shoelessness? “Athleisure” has been a fashion trend for the past few years and as we have found in video conferencing the need to dress up for work might have been reserved for the news/reporters we saw broadcasting from their home offices. But, were they secretly wearing the most comfortable “pants” they owned and which we would never see (unless they inadvertently forgot to close their video screen and got up from their desk!)?
Will comfort be acceptable in the new work world? 30 days is supposedly the length of time it takes for us to fully embrace a new habit. After nearly twice that time we are likely fully entrenched in a wardrobe that was previously reserved for Sunday mornings. Although we may want to get back to our place of work will we be able to remember how to dress according to a business code?
Full Frontal Formality
Or, have we had enough of schlepping around the house in those clothes. Are we so done with them that when firepit bands are lifted we will happily burn them?!
Will we want to look good and feel professional when this is over? Looking the part is advice that has long been given to the person who is being interviewed or the professional looking to climb a corporate ladder.
While “Casual Fridays” were a non-monetary perk for office workers when economic downturns occurred the practice of dressing down began to be questioned when people wondered whether true professionals, especially those working in financial institutions and legal arenas would be perceived as capable if they dressed so casually. And so, the upswing back to sartorial elegance began when those in upper management positions began again to dress more appropriately.
We have all watched the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. People may again consider whether there is a relationship between their financial advisor’s ability and her appearance. How casually dressed do you want your banking professional to be?
Our prime minister and premier show up for those daily reports in shirts, ties and suits. Their appearance says just how serious these days have been. They tell us not only in words that are to engender confidence but, in their appearance as well. They are serious about what we all need to do and look it.
Facial Masks and Makeup
We have already seen the necessity of wearing masks. These face coverings will become a new and necessary accessory and I have to wonder what that will mean to the beauty industry. The “lipstick” theory was one that explained the importance of this product on moral. It was deemed to have such an incredible impact that metal lipstick tubes were one of the few metal items that were exempt from rationing in the second world war.
Lips are now hidden behind masks and while these will become a new niche in the fashion accessory market they are not conducive to the wearing of lipstick. But, will eyes now become more than just windows to the soul? Will the beauty market place even more attention on eye shadow, liner, lashes and brows?
If there is one element of this pandemic that I hope will be fostered and strengthened by governments and consumers alike it is Made in Canada. Many politicians have praised our home grown entrepreneurs, designers, and manufacturers for stepping up, changing their production lines and creating the PPEs and hand sanitizer so desperately needed by our front line workers.
Clearly it is possible to design and manufacture in Canada. While we don’t need to become completely xenophobic the time has come when we need to respect the ingenuity of our people and the quality of the products that we can produce. There will be many people needing employment. There will be many opportunities to produce what we need and as patriots and consumers we can support these companies and our country.
Stay well and stay safe!