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Home / fast

4 fashion insiders reveal how COVID-19 is altering the industry

For Fast Company’s Shape of Tomorrow series, we’re asking business leaders to share their inside perspective on how the COVID-19 era is transforming their industries. Here’s what’s been lost—and what could be gained—in the new world order.

Every September for the past 10 years, designer Prabal Gurung has unveiled his latest creations at New York Fashion Week. “A fashion show is rather magical,” he says. “For six months, we go through the arduous and exciting process of creating. And for 10 minutes, we share that energy and emotion with the world.”

But not this year. As the pandemic raged across the United States, Gurung—like many other designers—made the painful decision to cancel his show. The few designers who pushed forward—such as Jason Wu and Rebecca Minkoff—showed their collections in cavernous, sparsely filled spaces. “It was unlike any fashion week before, with the exception of September 11th,” says Steven Kolb, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

It wasn’t just that the glamour, celebrity, and theater of NYFW had disappeared. Kolb points out that there were also financial consequences: no buyers to place orders, or magazine editors to drum up excitement about upcoming trends. […]

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