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Will the New Administration Change Fashion?

Once we get past the claims that the presidential election was fixed and Joe Biden is sworn in as President of The United States, will we see changes to the world of fashion under the new administration? One can only guess how fashion will change, but several factors could influence the answer to that question.

 Once the COVID-19 pandemic has been brought under control with the several vaccines that are moving forward, we could see some return to normality — businesses opening up office facilities, theaters re-opening for general public use, restaurants, bars, gyms, beauty facilities and retail businesses returning to general use. Will fashion also move forward?

What Will We Wear?

Many predict that office facilities are likely to be used differently, as work-from-home activities have proven to be nearly as effective as in-office work. Does that mean suits and ties for men and business-formal dress for women will return to pre-COVID-19 fashions? Or are we likely to see less formal wear, such as slacks and shirts for men and casual clothes for women? Work-from-home dress is not likely to change, but Zoom meetings may dictate the need for fewer pajamas and more athleisure outfits.

Indoor dining will likely aid a return to dressed-up looks, particularly in those upscale dining facilities that saw patrons with more formal lunch and dinner apparel. Dressed-up looks for women are likely to include a return to high-heeled shoes, and formal menswear will see a return to lace-up oxfords in place of loafers.

The Future of Renting

As far as men’s fashion is concerned, we may see men renting fashion. Women have been doing it for a long time, so why shouldn’t men do it? Consider the man who wore a business suit every working day prior to the pandemic. Since then, the suits have been in the closet, and several pounds have been put on, so those suits no longer fit. Instead of going out and buying a new wardrobe, why not rent a couple of suits and properly-fitting accessories?

An article from Vogue Business put it this way: “The rental model has gained traction over the past decade, but men have been left out by companies, like Rent the Runway, that target women. In the seventh episode of ‘The Future of Fashion’ podcast, host Hilary Milnes spoke to Regy Perlera and Luc Success, the founders of Seasons, a rental platform for menswear. A year in, the company is expanding its business after surviving the pandemic. Perlera and Success discuss how a new generation is changing the way men shop and opening the opportunities for models like rentals and why wholesale brands turned to the company after stores closed.”

In the 2020 elections, we have seen more women elected to office than every before in the country’s history. Women’s political fashion has not relaxed during the pandemic and will likely to continue to stress conservative dress in the new administration even though we are likely to see the same pandemic behavior continuing for many months while we await the effect of the several vaccines.

How Will Fashion Be Sold?

In her November 19, 2020 article, “Retailers Big and Small Look to Biden Administration for Relief,” Leticia Miranda quoted Paul Lejuez, managing director for Citigroup Global Markets: “So much of what we see from consumers and retailers over the next several months is very much going to depend on how we get the virus under control — and the efforts to get the virus under control certainly [will] have big implications for how retailers will perform over [the] next several months. … We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but it looks like the next several months could certainly be choppy.”

Miranda went on to state, “Biden said as much in a speech Monday, when he warned again of a ‘dark winter’ as the pandemic surges across the country, saying ‘things are going to get much tougher before they get easier.’ Biden has called on Congress to pass a stimulus bill immediately — a measure that could boost consumer spending and help small businesses weather the pandemic until a vaccine is widely adopted. Retail sales slowed in October 2020 as payroll gains lagged and government stimulus payments faded.”

One research study estimated that 25,000 additional stores could close by the end of 2020 because of the coronavirus.

So, the answer depends on many factors — the effectiveness of vaccines and the speed at which they are distributed, the number of retail outlets that re-open, the willingness of consumers to spend money on fashion, the opportunity for the jobless population to go back to work and the foresight of government to stimulate the economy and bring our country back to a working democracy.

Benjamin S. Seigel, Esq. is of Counsel to the firm of G&B Law, LLP. He can be reached at bseigel@gblawllp.com.p.com

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