High Fashion Falling, Are There Benefits?


Photography by: Vada Weisheit.

Vada Weisheit, Staff

COVID-19 has lasted longer than anyone anticipated. Even with orders for mandatory mask-wearing, the number of daily customers has been reduced greatly. Clothing stores in particular are not in high demand, and the retail industry has been critically impacted by this major shift.

It is no lie that COVID-19 has created a cycle of advancements and setbacks, and because of health and safety regulations, a lot of businesses have had to close their doors. Nonessential retail brands, such as Chanel and H&M, have lost tons of money and were forced to lay off workers. According to WWD, Women’s Wear Daily, Chanel had to shut down major stores and manufacturing warehouses in some major locations, like Italy. H&M’s sales dropped about 57% in Europe and the United States. The brand Marc Jacobs even let off 60 workers across their corporate departments.

With larger brands out of the picture, where do smaller businesses stand? When clothing stores can re-open, it seems as though retail services will be one of the more important places for the public, not for fashion purposes, but rather for warmth and stability in cold weather. Lower-income families who might require new clothing could benefit from stores reopening. But, according to California’s Government Official Essential Work List, the most important businesses for reopening are pharmacies and grocery stores. As of April 28th, 2020, the list included pet stores, vets, and electronic repair and care stores. No other updates were made since May 15th. 

There is no doubt that Huntington Beach supports small businesses. Our downtown Main Street is lined with local businesses that have adapted to the current pandemic situation. As of December 12th, there were 225,252 positive cases in the U.S., 26,686 of those cases being in Huntington Beach alone. Out of all of California’s positive cases, 104 people had been pronounced dead. Small business owners have gotten creative to keep their stores open while still making their services COVID-safe. By moving half of their store outside, businesses can support more customers at a given time. Places from public gyms, to restaurants, to nail salons are moving partially outdoors to spread people six feet apart more easily.

Small businesses are doing significantly worse than larger brands; they will always have smaller sale rates per week. One sale from a designer brand like Gucci or Chanel could add up to a week’s worth of sales at a local store during the pandemic. Clothing retail stores are on the line of essential and non-essential business at the same time. Clothing might be a high-demand item, but the necessity depends on the area and the different social classes per area. Retail stores might not seem so beneficial to some, but people in snowy, cold weather might need an apparel store more than someone in a moderately warm climate all year round. 

Hopefully, with COVID-19’s harsh presence, we can help small stores local to us. If we even just spread the name of a local business, that can help get its name out there. There is hardly such a thing as bad exposure for business and media.