Behind the mask

Latin American fashion designers adapt to the new normal.

Apparel spending is estimated to shrink by 30% this year. Fashion brands and retailers are doing everything they can to retain customers and their wallets. 

Fashion has always embraced innovation but the rate of change in the past year has been remarkable. Brands are launching digital platforms including virtual showrooms, sustainability trackers, initiatives for selling unsold stock to support workers, etc. 

One interesting development is the emergence of antiviral garments. Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Armani and others have all been working on garments including the swiss-made ViroFormula fabric. Colombian designer Arturo Calle has already developed a product range using the material. 

A fashion designer in Colombia confirms, “It’s not just Arturo Calle, all the large brands have invested in research, some have launched masks or protective garments, other are looking at novel textiles.” 

All the large brands have invested in research, some have launched masks or protective garments, other are looking at novel textiles.”   

Fashion designer, Colombia 

It is not just protective clothing that is in demand, with most countries implementing some form of lockdown consumers are looking for comfort. A Levi’s executive in Chile explained, “We are the leaders in jeans worldwide but if you are locked at home you want comfort, we have had to adapt quickly. We are not using antivirus fabrics but we have developed anti-stain and anti-wrinkle technologies. The idea, with no more events, is that the garments can be with you at home or everywhere.” 

The designer sees value and longevity in the trend, “Remember, the Burberry trenchcoat was created during the war and now it is here to stay. Fashionable, protective clothing will become mainstream and the addition of technology creates a higher implicit value. The Levi’s executive agrees, “We cannot turn a blind eye, the needs of our customers have changed and we must adapt.” 

We cannot turn a blind eye, the needs of our customers have changed and we must adapt.”   

Executive, Levi’s, Chile 

There is also a generational shift underway in terms of purchasing power, the fashion designer in Colombia adds, “Millennials and especially Gen Z are questioning everything: what are the clothes made of, where are the materials sourced, what is their impact, how does it protect them, why are they paying that price. 

Lockdowns have turned the fashion world on its head, only those able to adapt will survive. 

Important Notice
While the information in this article has been prepared in good faith, no representation, warranty, assurance or undertaking (express or implied) is or will be made, and no responsibility or liability is or will be accepted by Deheza Limited or by its officers, employees or agents in relation to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness or reasonableness of this article, or of any other information (whether written or oral), notice or document supplied or otherwise made available in connection with this article. All and any such responsibility and liability is expressly disclaimed.
This article has been delivered to interested parties for information only. Deheza Limited gives no undertaking to provide the recipient with access to any additional information or to update this article or any additional information, or to correct any inaccuracies in it which may become apparent.

Most recent in Consumer

Argentinanomics

The impact of cross-border spending sprees on Uruguay’s economy.

LatAm’s food crisis

Unprecedented food prices drag more people in Latin America into food insecurity.

Dairy difficulties

Insurmountable barriers frustrate the growth prospects of Latin America’s dairy producers.

Nearshoring: an ESG opportunity?

Can Latin American nearshoring deliver economic benefits and address ESG challenges?

Playtime

Is China’s dominance of the children’s toy market in Latin America waning?

Smells good

Latin America's fragrance market sees strong post-pandemic recovery and an increase in regional production. 

Remittances

Remittances to Mexico reach record highs as fintechs and Oxxo circle the opportunity.

Favoured food

Mexico promotes cheap food imports and privatizes health checks to reduce inflation and tax, what could go wrong?

Coming of age

Uruguayan wine exports are growing but can they compete with New Zealand and South Africa?

Tourist hotspot

Dominican Republic’s foreign visitors exceed pre-pandemic levels.