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VIDEO: Fashion is Now Facing a Survival of the Fittest

No part of the apparel supply chain has been spared from the chaos brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic, and further up the supply chain, Lenzing has seen what’s going to be a necessary shift for fashion’s new future.

While its own production facilities in Europe, the U.S. and in Asia are back up and running following closures to slow the spread of the virus, still shuttered retail stores and factories that aren’t yet reopened in key sourcing countries mean brands and retailers haven’t been as focused on buying fiber either.

“The uncertainty of when things will open is making it even harder,” Tricia Carey, director of global business development for denim at Lenzing told Sourcing Journal in its latest ‘On the Ground’ video. “This isn’t like you turn the lights on and everything will be back to normal because, what will normal be?”

For retail, going months without opening stores isn’t normal. And for factories, neither is going months without orders. The extended halt on movements around the world means fashion will be all but skipping its spring/summer season—which isn’t normal either.

“There’s businesses that do not have the liquidity to remain afloat during this time,” Carey said. “This is a time of survival of the fittest.”

And the fittest, in her opinion, likely won’t let sustainability fall by the wayside as they try to douse the blaze that is COVID-19.

Whereas pre-coronavirus conversations around sustainability were focused on measuring impacts and 2020 targets, things often came down to “price, price, price and ‘we won’t change anything unless it’s price neutral,'” Carey said. That can’t be the way fashion carries forward, and the reasons why are manifold.


Check out more in Sourcing Journal’s new ‘On the Ground’ video series, which brings new and needed voices in the supply chain to the fore.