By Megan Milstead
Holidays and festivals feel like a distant memory, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be returning anytime soon.
Whilst many people are worried about their ticket refunds – what will happen to the independent festival and swimwear brands who rely on seasonal income? More flights and events are getting cancelled every day and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said it’s “unlikely” that summer holidays will go ahead.
It's not just the tourism industry that will be affected. This could also cause financial difficulties for niche fashion companies who make their profit from summer.
Belle Beachwear sells swim and festival wear and is run independently by 23-year-old Jodie alongside her full-time job.
The cancellation of events has negatively impacted her sales. She’s also had to hold back releases and think of a new concept. Jodie explains that loungewear is a top trend right now and a route that many brands, like herself, are taking.
The uncertainty causes her “a lot of stress and anxiety”, especially when her main fabric supplier shut down. But since lockdown has eased - her supplier has partially re-opened and she’s started to see an increase in sales again.
Social media has become a support network for small business owners. Jodie says lockdown has brought them all together – helping her feel “motivated to carry on.”
“We’ve made a brilliant community of over 20 brands in this group chat. We give each other support, answer questions and generally have a good chit chat! It’s lovely as even though they are classed as your competitors, we help each other out!”
Instagram has also introduced a new sticker that encourages users to support small businesses.
Mary, 24 and Abbey, 25 are the owners of Elle and Paige, a festival fashion brand, who say their sales are the “highest they’ve [ever] been” since launching in March this year.
It has been a testing time for the pair – relying on phone calls to discuss ideas, limiting the trips to the post office and ordering everything they need online before even seeing it in person.
“We have a new collection coming out soon but it’s hit and miss if people are going to [want to] buy it or not with everything cancelled, so we’ve ordered a lot less fabric than we would have.”
62% of people have said they won’t be buying summer or holiday clothing this year, according to our Instagram poll. But as Jodie found, this could all change if lockdown continues to ease.