Techstyler’s Take: In answering this question we need to look at how prepared the global governments and organisations were. The daily changes in government guidelines across Europe, Asia and the US and changing responses to the growth of the pandemic indicate that the scale of the challenge is unprecedented, making it difficult to prepare for. BBC news is doing a thorough job of releasing up-to-the-minute news on the pandemic as it unfolds around the globe.
In terms of the creative industries’ preparation, this is difficult to gather data and insights on at this very moment, as much of the information is subjective and anecdotal. However, it is clear that the creative industries operate on a largely freelance ‘gig economy’ basis in the UK, making creative industry workers particularly vulnerable to loss of income. Today, the UK government announced that financial support for the self-employed is coming in a matter of days. In his address, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, went on to say that the issue was “incredibly complicated” and admitted that it was “proving problematic”, causing our optimism at this promise to dwindle. Additionally, creative industries rely on events, retail spaces, museums, galleries and other gig and social venues to function, and these are being shut down in many countries in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Focusing on the fashion industry specifically, it is being hit at both the retail end (with store closures and a downturn in desire to shop for non-essential items) and the supply chain (where garment factories are already suffering cancelled orders, with workers facing a sudden and total loss of income with no safety net).
What this highlights is the areas of the fashion system that are most vulnerable and most in need of radical change – the seasonal, speculative orders being one (as they are now being cancelled or suspended and are crippling factories), and the need for digital solutions to reduce risk and the vulnerability of suppliers, compared to the brands that order from them. Digital solutions allow real time manufacturing based on demand, so that risky speculative orders are avoided.