Remember back at the start of the first lockdown when panic buying set in and supermarket shelves were stripped of all the basic foodstuffs?Bread became scarce for a while and even when bakers were working round the clock to keep supplies flowing, the variety of loaves offered was greatly reduced.
Why? One large bakery explained that when changing production from one variety of loaf to another it took at least 40 minutes to clean down the line and reset the mix. During those 40 minutes they could produce thousands of loaves of bread. That's why they decided that satisfying demand with just a few lines was more important than providing lots of different varieties.
So how does the fashion industry compare? Well, fashion works to a strict routine: spring / summer collections are designed and ready to show to buyers in July for distribution from December onwards; autumn / winter collections are shown in January and the first collections reach the shops in July. Any disruption of the routine causes problems.
This year that routine has been blown to pieces. When Covid 19 first hit Europe many fashion houses all but closed down. Gradually work started again but with fewer people and much less time to create designs, source materials, secure production, organise shows, fulfil orders and arrange despatch.
So, as with bread, fashion houses took the decision to reduce the offer. This year, wherever you buy your clothes, you will find there are fewer collections on the rails, in a smaller number of sizes and they will be later in arriving. At Victoria Lane we have received spring fashions from a few of our favourite designers but are still waiting for others to send their new stock. Brexit is an added factor for us as we source most of our clothes from the EU and as yet we are not sure how this will affect us long term.
But please don't be alarmed. In the same way we survived the bread crisis so the fashion industry will recover. We have some beautiful clothes on our rails now and will be receiving more as time goes on.
However, we would offer one piece of fashion advice for 2021. If you are looking for a particular piece or you see something you really
like, buy it while you see it or you may miss out. It is very unlikely that shops will be able to get much replacement stock this year.