Where do we go from here?

It’s insane to think that just a few months ago I was the Design Director for a relaunched division, starting a new brand and catering to many private label accounts, and then the pandemic hit and BOOM, just like that we got shut down. The business was growing and there were only two of us running the division, we were expanding and gaining traction in an already struggling retail climate. We were on the right track.

Now, I am home writing and re-writing my resume. Pulling together all the press that I have gotten over the years, and reaching out to anyone and everyone that will listen. But the industry is in such a fragile state and things seem so sparse. So I have used the time to take some marketing classes, and get a few certifications hoping to be able to expand my options using all the transferable skills that I have picked up along the way- but even that is a challenge.

I guess my big question is, where do we go from here?


Everyone has to wear clothes. Eventually, things will return to something close to the way they were before. Unfortunately, who knows how long that will take?!?


I always say the same thing: People always need clothes. I think the weak, ill prepared and poorly run companies will be weeded out in this, as most weren’t prepared.


It is insane, but don’t be discouraged! I think it’s a great chance to have a mental cleanse and just give yourself time to decompress. Spend your time with hobbies, read, cook, garden, exercise. It’s frustrating to not have a steady income, but many of us are in the same boat and this is out of our control. Try to enjoy this time, and trust that you will be on the grind again soon enough. And exploring other options and careers is great too…online classes are a great idea. I’m doing the same thing even though I’m not sure what my plan B is quite yet.


One thing that really stuck with me about ‘where we go from here’ was this line in this interview: https://www.popsugar.com/fashion/what-is-it-like-to-be-in-fashion-retail-during-coronavirus-47357267

“I emailed Nikki Kule this morning because all we’ve been selling are sweatshirts and stripe [Kule] tops and Birkenstocks. And so I emailed her and I said, “Thank you for creating things that people not only want to wear, but will actually spend money on in this most uncertain time.””

I think figuring out exactly that (“things that people not only want to wear, but will actually spend money on in this most uncertain time”) is the key. What do people want to wear at home/by themselves/what’s easy to throw on but you can still head to the grocery store or take a walk? Also, running a successful brand/division with such a small team will be a HUGE asset to your hireability!


Thanks so much for sharing that article. I really think that in order to succeed and come on the other side of this we not only need to support one another but also be innovative.

Such an important topic. Thank you for sharing your story. As other have mentioned, apparel will never go away and will always be necessary. But, I think its about time we re-evaluate the current business models and start making those more bullet proof. Definitely a time of restructuring amongst many levels. I just got laid off as well and I am trying to remain as positive as possible, and know that there will be a brighter day ahead. Xo

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I agree it can be discouraging but as everyone has stated, people will always need clothes. Fortunately now there’s an even bigger boom in loungewear/athleisure because people want to be comfortable sitting in front of their computer screens all day/balancing their new home is at work life, for some industries this is the case until at least 2021. So maybe try to get into a company thats in that wheelhouse as many of them have not suffered.

Covid has definitely made alot of the larger billon dollar revenue corporations leaner because of their inefficiency to prepare, although you would think they’d had the hindsight to see this coming as factory workers abroad had been dealing with the spread of the virus months prior to America’s shutdown, but alas hindsight is 20/20.

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The general consensus is yes, everyone has to wear clothes. But, I am certain on one thing, the days of overcrowded racks in stores, shredding designer clothing to keep prices up, filling up landfills with out of season clothing and destroying the world’s environment with water pollution from dye houses, chemical washes and irresponsible human treatment and abuse need to be over and done. We need to take this time the Covid emergency shutdown has provided and rethink our responsibilities as consumers. Why do we not have an add on tax for environment protection on all products in the fashion industry? Why do we turn a blind eye toward treatment of our factory workers in third world countries? Why do not those with fashion influence take on a greater mission to be more responsible with their promotions of labels and companies who blatantly shred last seasons inventory to appease their share holders with a higher bottom line. It is at this time, future generations will look back and ask what did we do to make their world a better place to live in, and hopefully the answer will be the right one.


There’s a huge shift to e-commerce, away from stores. Retailers are closing stores, Manufacturers are producing less. In home textiles , more product is virtual online, D2C , produced when ordered. Less waste because there’s less product. The consumer is determining the direction the industry will go, and technology and creativity will facilitate a new direction. The BOF podcast with Michael Kors is worth listening to, he’s talking about his methods for navigating this change.


I feel the pandemic has shifted the workforce to overseas factories. With cutting edge new software replacing the need for pattern makers, sample makers, technical designers… in New York / US.
New technology allows creative designers to create and share their designs with the factory where software will translate all this information for digital patterns, layouts, construction requirements within minutes, physical samples made and then fitted in China via Zoom with the designer in NYC.
It appears the factories hire European fit models who reside there which meet the body types of the US customer requirements. While this technology is very new, the future for employment for specific fashion skills in the US do not appear rosy even when the economy recovers.

Can anyone working with these technologies share their point of view


Just to clarify, 3D software does not translate all the production info in just minutes. There are still a lot of applications and steps to go through. And there is a big difference between knowing how to use the tools in the software, and knowing how to fit a garment. It’s like reading a cookbook and expecting to be a fantastic chef without ever tasting the food. If you look around the marketplace and see all the ill-fitting pants that bunch up in the crotch, and all the sleeves that are really tight and you can’t lift your arm, this is what happens when “designing” is only a CAD sketch sent off to a factory computer technician with the resulting garment being evaluated by someone a year out of fashion school who’s never worked with actual patterns. I’m not saying that it’s not possible to do a good job, because you can if you really know your patternmaking and the software capabilities, it’s that right now there is a skills gap where experienced people in patterns, fit and technical are being pushed aside by the lure of “fast new technology”, and being replaced by people who only know how to operate the software. There will be a cycle of about 5 years before a lot fashion companies figure out that while being able to cut out several rounds of sampling is great because it saves time & expense, they really need to get a handle on fit because of the reasons I mentioned above. And by then, all the people who have hands-on experience will have left the industry. For specific skills to stay in the industry, get training in one or more of the 3D design software programs, but take a deep dive into the patterning part of it, not just the creative design. Anybody can draw pretty picture, but knowing how to make it a production-ready tech pack for a well-fitted, commercially reproducible design is a marketable skill that will be in demand as the industry gets back to work.


Well said!!! I agree completely that 3D will not replace fitting or pattern making. Especially in the plus size category :clap:


Which 3D software do you use?