Environmental Factors Affecting the Fashion Industry

The way we shop and dress has a lot to do with our immediate surroundings. Lifestyle, personal preferences, climate, social media, society norms, advertisements, popular trends, and finances influence our fashion choices. The fashion industry largely relies on its consumers for running the business, whilst making profits. Environmental factors are elements that cannot be controlled by manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, or retailers in the fashion industry. They simply have to go with the flow, i.e. shape themselves to match public demands and socioeconomic conditions. Every individual has a unique sense of style, yet fashion brands have to focus on delivering items that appeal to a massive audience.

Environmental Factors Affecting Fashion
Fig: Factors Affecting Fashion Industry

The Scope of Fashion

Today, there is a plethora of designers to choose from; there are varieties for every age, gender, budget, class, ethnicity, and body type. The reason we have so many companies making or stitching apparel is because embracing this profession or business is a safe bet. No matter what the world comes to, people will need clothes to cover themselves and move around. Food and fashion go hand in hand, because survival without either would be impossible. There was a time when fashion brands were limited and a lot of people only shopped at certain stores or trusted a sole manufacturer. Currently, the abundance of options has encouraged us to widen our horizons. We like and buy from dozens of brands; we mix and match pieces from different outlets. The variety and competition within the fashion industry is definitely fierce.

The Covid-19 Effect

The recent pandemic was a fatal blow to all kinds of businesses worldwide; the fashion sector was among those who suffered the greatest losses. As many people went out of employment and public channels were shut down, sales hit rock bottom. The only fashion suppliers who benefited from the situation were the ones exercising Ecommerce. While the majority of the population was quarantined in their homes, online shopping became a growing fad. Many small clothing stores went out of business, while others managed to stay afloat by shifting to an online platform. Commercial litigation and filing for bankruptcy within the U.S reached a new high.

Money was (and still is) tight given the widespread recession; hence, people began browsing the cheaper brands. Due to the sharp decline in social events and gatherings, the demand for elite couture and high fashion subsided. With a high percentage of the working force operating from home, the requirement for oversized and comfortable clothing increased. The use of facemasks started as a precautionary measure against the virus and later transitioned to a fashion statement. The fashion industry seized the opportunity to turn masks into a stylish accessory. One can find masks of different materials, colors, designs, and qualities everywhere.

Technology Boom

The advancement in technology has influenced every operative industry around the world. Integration of technology has allowed the fashion business to deal with demand and supply with greater efficiency. Communication with clients and customers has become more convenient; now manufacturers and retailers are more aware of what sells. Ecommerce has boosted sales, as several people prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes. Many people cannot leave the house or browse physical markets due to busy daytime schedules, some health condition, or other reasons; web stores prevent them from missing out on the fun and deliver everything to their doorstep. Browsing fashion products from an app on your smartphone is addictive to say the least. The glossy photos, exaggerated catalogues, and promotions convince users to purchase things they wouldn’t normally buy from a tangible shop.

Law, Politics, and Global Warming

The fashion business is expected to abide by basic rules and ethics. Issues like child labor, animal cruelty, and environmental degradation can cause the death of a fashion brand. Green living is gaining popularity day by day, as more people are acknowledging detrimental effects of anthropogenic activities on the planet. Global warming has altered the climate in many places, thereby transforming acceptable fashion trends. The movement from synthetic to natural clothing material is huge. Environmental activists and fashion influencers are shunning artificial fibers that lack biodegradability. If a manufacturer or wholesaler is accused of illegal practices or supplying fashion products that defy moral values or harm theenvironment, the news spreads like fire and public boycotts them. Maintaining a sound reputation or honorable status in the fashion market was never this tough in the past.


Fashion manufacturers and retailers need to conduct effective research on demographics before making business decisions. Products than did well in Europe might fail in the Asian market. Individuals of different race, culture, nationality, education level, and religion are likely to have dissimilar inclinations in the matters of fashion. It is important to observe a community and its societal tendencies before marketing your product. The main audience of fashion products is employed millennials; not many old people splurge on attire, birth rates are low, and the average teenager does not have that much money. Therefore, fashion companies have to consider a range of consumer factors before creating a collection.


During periods of recession, people are concerned about saving money and catering to the necessities of life; it is not an ideal occasion to launch luxury fashion wear. Most fashion retailers have to offer substantial discounts in order to make any sales. Big brands usually have a huge profit margin on every item. When their inventory is overloaded, they have no choice but to reduce their interest rates. Clearance sales and rebates clearly do not earn them as much revenue, but it saves them from incurring negative returns.

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