Fashion Industry Adapts to COVID-19, Increases Opportunities for Students

Several events, such as fashion shows and fashion weeks, were either moved online or postponed due to the pandemic.


(Graphic via Pixabay)

The fashion industry can be more than just clothing and outfits, as shown by the Columbus Fashion Council initiative to produce face masks.

By Mckenzie Uhrig, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The fashion industry holds events benefiting not only members of the industry but also local cities. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of these events moved online or were postponed.

Such events included fashion shows, which allow designers and brands to promote their collections.

Here in Akron,
Goodwill Akron hosts the “Taste of Vintage” fashion show and fundraiser showcasing Goodwill’s Vintage Collection from the early 40s to the 80s. This event has been postponed until 2021.

Nonetheless, Goodwill Akron (a non-profit) works to make innovations in the fashion industry through sustainable practices and helping consumers understand that sustainability can be affordable.

“When we all reuse, repair and upcycle items, we allow products to cycle back into the chain of consumption which helps reduce waste,” Jenifer Bako, director of public and donor relations, said. 

Another event impacted by COVID-19 was Fashion Week, which allows for designers to showcase their collections which influences the trends for the upcoming seasons. 

Fashion weeks are typically held twice a year in various cities. In February and March, the fall/winter collections are unveiled, then the spring/summer collections are shown in September and October.

Thomas McClure, Founder and Executive Director of Columbus Fashion Council. (Image by Tony Bentivegna)

This year, Columbus Fashion Week ran from Sept. 20 to 26 with most events taking place online.

The Finale Runway Show was a hybrid in-person and virtual event where viewers could see different camera views from the runway, front row and backstage. 

“It’s truly going to be something innovative that captures the energy, as if you were sitting front row with a backstage pass,” Thomas McClure, founder and executive director of the Columbus Fashion Council, said.

In evolving due to COVID-19 and changing fashion’s mission, the
Columbus Fashion Council started an initiative to produce face masks with designers, boutiques and companies across the nation. 

“Through our collaborative efforts, over 30,000 masks were provided to Ohio Health facilities, various military branches, NASA, and families in need,” McClure said.

Those interested in getting involved with the Columbus Fashion Council can do so by paying $25 annually for a
membership. The membership gives access to fashion industry professionals at events, social media and a weekly Virtual Fashion Industry Mixer. 

“Fashion Week Columbus has been a great connector for a lot of people wanting to make meaningful career impacting connections,” McClure said.