On today’s interview on the Impact of Covid 19 in the global Fashion Industry, we have Ana Carolina Albanese, a fashion lawyer from Argentina, who is a university professor and a researcher plus she runs her own law firm.
She shared her views with us on the impact of Covid-19 in the Global Fashion Industry and also her adaption to the lock- down lifestyle. Let’s head straight to the interview.
On life under lock down, how are you adjusting to the isolation lifestyle?
Here in Argentina we’re in mandatory isolation and total lock down since March 20. Commercial activities are suspended.Also, every judiciary activity is suspended. We still don’t know what the next step would be. As a professor, classes are held online, and the home office activity as an attorney is permanent.I think sometimes it’s harder to cut out the work and leisure limit in this new reality we’re living. My daily routine includes kids homeschooling, housekeeping and of course many of my work.We live in a building with a small garden so we can enjoy half an hour of sun and green each day.
What has been the most challenging part of your business experience so far during this pandemic?
The private sector in Argentina is suffering a lot from this lock down. Businesses are in retraction, orders are cancelled and of course we have default payments. Independents brands are battling for survival as I think is all around the world.About my personal experience as a lawyer, I have legal advice work and I’m more active in social networks than before. But there is a stillness sensation covering all of us. Most business owners are anxious about the uncertain future.
How has this pandemic affected your industry?What do you suggest is the best way for businesses/ companies to stay afloat during this pandemic?
Fashion business, textiles and garment industry are in general agonizing this pandemic time. These are times to be cautious and consistent. In order to prepare for times to come those in fashion business should decide whether to discount or to keep for next year the FW2020 not sold inventory. Furthermore, the SS2021 is almost here in terms of the fashion industry. In this regard, I think a good focus should be being austere, with emphatic and innovative vision on a more resort collection. In addition I think it would be a smart choice not making conservative decisions in terms of production.
Times of crisis have historically also been opportunities for change. Are you optimistic that as we emerge from this, it could be a chance to create a better economy in your country?
My country was already through an economic crisis when COVID arrived. So here we are again surfing the waves, and not the better ones. But, you know, Argentina is a country full of resilient and empowered people.Each one of us has lived difficult times and we’ve learned to take the good from the bad. So, as many other times, I think we will go out. In addition Argentina is a country full of great quality raw materials, wool, wine, meat, a range of commodities, and the list goes on and on. Consequently, if we are smart, we should be going out once and again. At this point I consider it important to notice that our garment industry is right now in economic emergency. Most of brands are manufacturing masks and medical uniforms and protective garments.
What do you think would be a solid approach for businesses in recovering from the covid 19? What do you think companies can do differently post covid 19?
In my opinion, businesses should approach in a more emphatic and authentic way. Corporate responsibility is the new “classic”. And now business would have to deal with more informed and carer consumers than before.
What is the most positive change you have seen in people’s behavior and attitude?
This mandatory stillness time is giving us the opportunity to decide how to behave after. I can see people thinking about their choices and taking time to make decisions. They are less compulsive buyers. They are more conscious regarding how our daily activities affect the Earth. Considering consumers, they have now the opportunity and time to be more informed, to read and learn more about what they like to know.
What is most important to you right now in terms of getting through this?
This is a difficult question to answer rapidly. We have to get through this in various subjects; health, life, economy, business, jobs, education and so on. Taking into consideration, life and health first. The quarantine should be held for the longest time possible for the safety of all. On the other hand we have the need for survival, and when I think about it I imagine it would be a good idea starting to lighten it so that economic activity can restructure and walk anew.
One final thought: Resilient, respect, learning and team work are words that I consider vital to start again after the pandemic.
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