Has the COVID-19 Crisis Caused the End of Creativity in Fashion?

COVID-19: The Cause Of Lack Of Creativity ?

Originally Published May 7, 2020

It’s been about two and half months now since states have had shutdowns and encouraged people to practice social distancing. Many jobs have either had to revert to adapting to a virtual setting or closing down until further notice. Now when it comes to the art community, some artists have  been thriving because a restriction like this is just what they needed to be able to focus in to start creating new work. On the flip side of this other artists are in a creative block or just stuck because they aren’t really able to find any inspiration in a time like this. I was able to talk to Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) student and photographer Maiya Imani, who explains to me how her inspiration has been of lately. Imani explains to me how she felt once her school closed down. “When my school in NYC closed, at first I felt excited to have a break from the stress,” Imani states “but soon realized it wasn’t for short term and I wouldn’t be able to use the studios.” This then following her hometown Montclair, NJ, being in statewide curfew from 8pm to 5am for all non-essential businesses and travel. “I saw this as an opportunity to continue documenting my own town but in a different light. In the beginning the more I photographed the more inspired I became, for a while I felt extremely creative.” Imani began to say “After documenting almost every part of my town I could feel the inspiration dying down. Right now, everything is at a standstill creatively.”

This could also go into how productive artists have been as of lately. There has been a lot of talk about what people should be doing during this time, if it’s okay to just be relaxing or the fact that you should still be doing the work you normally would be doing. Chakierrah Stinson who is a self-taught fashion designer and artist is able to testify as to the limits of her productivity during a time like this and what she has still managed to continue doing. Stinson explains how before the effects of this pandemic took place, she was already in the process of creating her own clothing line, but she had to put a lot of things on hold. “I think production has been slowed because all of the stores where I source material aren’t open. I’m only able to get things online and when I’m designing I’d like to be able to handle the fabric/material in my hand to see how it holds up,” she began to say “Also, it’s easier to color match in person instead of getting similar colors from different sellers.”

    This leads into the question of if it’s essential to be out in the world and experience things for creativity to happen or can that same creativity be found while you’re stuck at home. As this all depends on the person, Steven Broadway who is a professor at both FIT and Parsons the New School, talks to me about how yes, this creativity can be found at home but it’s not his preference. “I am most definitely my most energized and creative interacting with people in person, but I have learnt I can keep creatively productive with only the computer as my source for inspiration. But I much prefer the actual world and it’s people to make me feel ALIVE!” Like Prof. Broadway said being around people definitely can help make the work your doing and the environment livelier. Interacting with others helps bring the vibes of the environment and memories that will stick with you.  So, when it comes to fashion will it be best for us to adjust to only interreacting when necessary? What does this mean for fashion shows, fashion week, boutiques, department stores, High End fashion, and red-carpet events?

In a Harper Bazaar article entitled “Ok fashion. What Happens Now in the Coronavirus Pandemic?”, Faran Krentcil interviews designer Jeremy Scott who states “It’s really important to give people something to dream about,” he tells me later that day. “We have a very visceral reaction to clothes, and for that reason alone, fashion still matters.” Fashion is definitely something that is here to stay, as you can see on social media with the long list of people who are creating fun masks as well as some of the fashion week shows that ended up showing virtually and we were all able to experience. This video can testify to the success of VR fashion shows, Angel Chen posted of her newest collection.

Designer and Creative Director of 9Supply, Evan Holt, is in agreement that the intimate part of fashion when it comes to the designer and the customer as well as the people you are working with, shouldn’t change because that’s where the strength of the brand can really come from. “The virtual setting can be can be reserved for times like this or when you need to tell your team something while on vacation, more like a last resort. People need to be around each other and bounce ideas off each other, that energy is important” He later says “However virtual fashion shows are a great idea for people who can’t attend or aren’t invited, or in general. I do like that idea, that sounds dope!” There may be some points of fashion that will have to change but that’s really what fashion is about, ADAPTING, being able to problem-solve and figure out a way to create products that are relevant to the environment we are currently in, or maybe that we’ll need in the future.

Source List:

You can follow these artists on their Instagram pages…

Maiya Imani:

Chakierrah Stinson:

Evan Holt, 9Supply:

Professor Steven Broadway’s

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