The panorama resulting from the crisis generated by the covid is being devastating for the fashion sector in Spain. The numbers talk for themselves. In the case of textiles, the turnover for the year that just ended stood at 14,800 million euros, after suffering a decrease of 25%, while footwear sales also fell by 27%, to stand at just over 4,000 millions of euros.
The large stock accumulated in stores affects new collections
The president of Moda España, Ángel Asensio, explains that “the confinement of the beginning of the pandemic, the lack of mobility and the impossibility of holding events such as weddings, communions or even parties, have had a brutal impact on our industry. Y the problem is that it has not been something that has affected only Spain, but it has been produced in all countries, so exports have not been able to pull the band this time either ».
In fact, the fashion sector as a whole, including both textiles and footwear, registered a decrease in sales abroad of 18.5%, to stand at 21.2 billion euros.
The employment regulation files (ERTE) and ICO loans, Asensio adds, have served both to cushion the drop in employment and to avoid financial collapse, although the arrival of normality, at the expense of vaccination, will still take some time. .
And more taking into account that the stores, as recognized by the president of Moda España, They have accumulated significant stocks by not being able to sell what they had planned. Consequently, «the merchants have the wrong box and many leftovers as far as merc is concernedancía, so they also have a lower purchasing power, “he laments.
And how do both the shops themselves and the companies dedicated to making clothing deal with this situation? Well, an important part of them is going to enter the so-called circular economy, it could be said that they were forced in a certain way by events. “Some,” says Asensio, “have preferred not to burn collections and reserve them for later, while others are releasing novelties, although with a lower volume of production.”
But the concept of sustainability is not new for this industry, which has been betting on it for some time, although it is a trend that has accelerated coinciding with the pandemic, due to the demands of increasingly aware consumers. “From Moda España – adds Ángel Asensio – we have been defending that one of the best ways to be sustainable is to bet more on quality than on quantity. We went through a time when a large part of the garments that were made were almost disposable, which obviously generated a lot of waste. What it is about, as I say, is to develop higher level clothing, also promoting reuse and recycled yarns, which does not have to impact billing, since these are garments that last longer. , but they are also more expensive.
The sector is promoting relocation, which allows generating employment
This philosophy, Asensio emphasizes, also implies relocation and reindustrialization. As he recalls, “there was a time when it was decided to relocate due to costs, but at the moment a reverse process is taking place, because we have realized that it is not good for the planet. In addition, in this way we also generate employment and wealth in our country.
Meanwhile, Marián Cano, president of the Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries (FICE), highlights that «fashion consumption has dropped by up to 40% because, due to the restrictions, there is no social life. In our case it has become dramaticBecause, taking into account that we are working well in advance, we have already lost four seasonal collections and are on our way to reaching the fifth. At the moment we are in the hands of the rhythm of vaccination ».
Despite the collections that have been left hanging, Marián Cano assures that companies will continue to provide news. In his words, “we belong to fashion and we have the obligation to present new things, although it is true that the volume of production will be lower due to stock.”
Sustainability is also present in footwear. “Companies are increasingly influencing the so-called circular economy and, in fact, there are some that are already born with that orientation. Consumers are looking for more and more products of this type, ”says the president of the Spanish shoemaker’s association.
Going further down the field, companies confirm the revolution they are facing in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Hilaturas Ferre is a firm located in the Alicante municipality of Banyeres, which practically since its inception has been dedicated to recycling when manufacturing its threads. It is currently a supplier to well-known brands such as Inditex, Mango, H&M or Ikea, among others, and has had a CEO, Luis Pita, who has worked precisely for Inditex and H&M, as well as for Zalando for six months. As he explains, “the pandemic has affected us, because turnover has fallen by about 20%, but, on the contrary, we have noticed that the commitment to sustainability is becoming more determined: on the one hand, due to the demands of the new European regulations and, on the other, by consumer awareness, which has been intensified ”.
And what is this ecological acceleration due to? Pita has no doubt that it is because of the coronavirus. “Global warming, climate change, the virus that has affected us … All this has exacerbated feelings and people, and by extension companies, are clear that we must walk towards there. The context looks very good for circularity and we are very well situated in that field, “he says.
Not surprisingly, even the giant Inditex, which has seen its turnover reduced by 28%, is moving towards ecology, increasing the use of more sustainable cotton by 91% and making plastic bags disappear completely.
K-Kou is a Madrid company dedicated to making clothes, which has also had a bad time in recent months. Montse Gallego is its manager and also president of the Fashion Triangle in the capital of Spain. “We do fashion genre, partly for weddings, baptisms and communions, so we are 60% below the level of our sales. At least we had the relief of the masks that we were able to produce until the market was totally saturated with this product. Now we are waiting to see how the spring collection works, “he says. Regarding the issue of sustainability, Gallego indicates that it passes yes or yes for the qualityd. “If you buy ten T-shirts at ten euros, no matter how ecological they are, they end up not being sustainable at all due to waste. What you have to do is buy quality garments that, although they are more expensive, also last much longer. And create awareness and acquire what is made here.
The world of haute couture is also suffering its own. From Hannibal Laguna, they emphasize that «companies specialized in the bridal sector, dedicated to the sale of wedding and party dresses for weddings, celebrations and events, we suffer an almost total stoppage, and if we do not receive aid or there is a drastic change by the end of 2021, we run the risk of extinction and in turn dragging the bankruptcy of the supply chain and artisan workshops ». The firm has registered a sales drop of 85% and has slowed down many projects, betting on others such as a collection of masks and another of furniture and decoration to stop the crash.
Regarding where customers’ taste can go, from the Hannibal Laguna firm, they point out that, “as we currently do not have, we do not know whether or not they will opt for more sustainable elements, but we imagine that the accent and awareness in this type of products will always respond to the younger audience segment ».
Meanwhile, in the field of footwear, the company Wonders, based in Elche, has also registered a 30% drop in turnover, although it is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the acceptance that it is obtaining its latest collection. Its CEO, Francisco Oliver, highlights that, just as Internet consumption has exploded during this pandemic, the new market trend based on the circular economy is also gaining strength. “We have a line of footwear that meets all the recycling requirements, a concept that we also apply in our production systems,” he concludes.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.