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Mainstream Media: the Global Crisis and Fashion

It has been two months since Covid-19 became classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Since then, nearly everything in mainstream media has had the common thread of being associated with the global crisis; and if I am to be truly honest, most of the information has been negative. However, how can it not be?

The world is currently facing a situation that can be compared to the Spanish Flu, which happened a century ago. We still are unsure of how it happened, as well as how long we’re going to be living this “new normal” that we’ve had to adopt. For over a month, we have been getting hit with global reports about low hospital capacities, rushed burials, extended lockdowns and it has all been overwhelming.

In fact, if you were to take a look at the Covid-19 cases overview on Google, there’s not even a number for how many people have recovered in the UK. It’s as if all we are being told about are the deaths and the impending global economic decline.

Is mainstream media helping?

Seeing as the global crisis is something that we have never experienced before, we look to mainstream media to give us information. We depend on them to tell us what it is that we need to do in order to get out of this situation and to get back to the lives we once knew. However, this crisis is a learning curve for us all, and every day something new is discovered.

In the early stages of this crisis, I remember reading the news about the United States. At the time, the virus was concentrated primarily in the state of Washington and it was purported to only be deadly to those of a certain age. Following this information, there were a multitude of university students who decided that they were in the clear to enjoy regular Spring Break activities such as beach parties and road trips. Of course, this was met with much uproar; however, those students didn’t care, because as far as the news told them, only if you were above 50 or had an existing health condition could this virus be potentially fatal.

Not long after, there were reports of universities with clusters of students contracting the virus. Moreover, mainstream media started to report how the virus could also be fatal to those who were young and considered to be of good health. There was even a public apology made by one of the Spring Breakers who became notorious after being interviewed on Spring Break stating that the virus was “not going to stop him from partying.”

This is a great example of how mainstream media has been both harmful and helpful during this crisis. As I said before, when it comes to the global crisis, we all are effectively learning on the job. Mainstream media is expected to give us information daily, however, in hindsight, it might not always be the correct information that we’re given.

Certain things that we thought we knew about the virus two months ago, have changed drastically, but the media has done an efficient job in portraying that evolution. Now, with more data on the crisis becoming available, mainstream media definitely has a better foundation on which they can give us factual information on the pandemic. However, with this pandemic shaping up to last longer than we expected, we now have to wonder what this will mean for people’s livelihoods and the economy.

Mainstream media: “Fashion needs a saviour”

When the country went into lockdown, the digital world became our hero. The fashion industry was already moving towards the world of online shopping, so one would think that the industry would be fine considering that many were well-equipped for a temporary move to digital.

However, with consumers having nowhere to go due to stay-at-home orders, fashion is not seeing the profits it is used to. Moreover, social distancing rules have also called for a halt in production, which may cause the industry to not even be ready for when lockdowns have ended.

One article referred to this time as being fashion’s “existential crisis,” since the industry now faces much uncertainty as to how they will tackle the effects of the pandemic. It’s also pertinent to remember that merely a month before Covid-19 was classed as a pandemic, there were numerous high-profile Fashion Weeks, which undoubtedly meant fast fashion brands were rapidly producing stock to meet the expected demands of their consumers – a demand that has dropped significantly since.

This has caused many in mainstream media to ask if fast fashion will still be a trend following the pandemic. Brands have been left with numerous unsold goods over the past several weeks, to the point that a number of firms have ran out of space in their warehouses for anymore products. As fashion trends change rapidly, by the time we are able to get back to a sense of normalcy, the clothing that stores have in stock, will no longer fit the styles of the season.

It is expected that the fashion industry is going to see a further decline in sales and profits for months after we have gotten some control over the virus. People simply will not have the disposable income they once did to indulge in fashion. Furthermore, the industry also has to deal with the large amount of stock it is holding, thus, it is likely that items will have to be discounted greatly in order to get rid of them. Additionally, there have also been reports that we should expect many bankruptcies being announced as we get through 2020.

Or can fashion save itself?

There have been a few positive reports surrounding fashion. Some designers have decided to simply sell this year’s collection, next year, though that may not work for the majority.

Nonetheless, mainstream media has also brought the topic of sustainability in fashion to the forefront. This year, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Moscow have held their Fashion Weeks online, which raked in millions of viewers total, while also reducing the CO2 levels that tend to be produced by people travelling to the event. Also, some companies, such as Sandro, have been repurposing their excess fabric, which would usually go to landfills, to create face masks.

In an industry that demands so much creativity, it obviously needs creative solutions in order to survive the impact it is facing from the pandemic. This pause in production, though damaging to the industry, has also given those a part of the fashion industry time to evaluate what they can do to not only come out of this crisis successfully, but to also come out of it better.

So what does this all mean?

With the fashion industry having an impact on so many people, mainstream media is going to keep watching it and continue to push out information about where the industry is heading because that is what the public demands.

Now, will it be the correct information? Only hindsight can tell.

However, in times like these, people definitely are seeking out information more than they are accepting silence, making mainstream media more vital than ever before.


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