Dear BoF Community,
It’s very, very tough out there. The public health emergency that has gripped the world is creating untold human suffering and savaging the economy. The seriousness of the situation is unprecedented. But for some, myself included, it brings back memories from the 2008 global financial crisis: some dark, some full of hope.
When the financial crash first hit that year, it was a scary and uncertain time for the global fashion industry. After Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, it seemed the entire financial system might collapse. But as a newbie blogger at the time, it was also a call to arms. Indeed, BoF’s reputation for critical analysis on the fashion sector was first forged as we faced the monumental challenges brought about by the 2008 crash and the Great Recession that followed. By offering analysis and insight that helped readers make sense of the scary headlines coming from financial centres around the world, along with the tectonic shifts brought about by technology and globalisation, BoF really found its purpose.
This week, as stock markets continue to plunge, entire countries go into lockdown and consumers shelter at home, it’s become increasingly clear that the spread of the deadly coronavirus is a ‘black swan’ that seemingly comes out of nowhere and changes everything. But at BoF, we are rising to the challenge and doubling down on our mission to open, inform and connect the global fashion industry, in order to provide you with the compass you need to navigate the crisis in real-time and prepare for what lies ahead.
Ever since the coronavirus first emerged in China in January, BoF’s editorial team has been offering analysis and advice on the impact to our industry and the millions of people who work in fashion around the world. And as the virus spreads, we must all continue to take a clear-eyed view of what this means for the fashion business, a global industry that is highly dependent on discretionary spending, tourism and global supply chains with a significant presence in Italy and China, currently the two biggest epicentres of the outbreak. Taken together, these risk factors present the potential for a devastating combination that could — if we don’t act — bring our industry to its knees.
But act we must and, together, BoF Professional members like you, armed with our analysis and advice, will be best positioned to weather the storm. Catch up on some of our latest coronavirus coverage here:
- Keep track of how the crisis is impacting the industry in real-time with our free-to-access BoF Coronavirus Liveblog. And read Daphne Milner and Rachel Deeley’s story on Fashion’s Work-from-Home Game Plan and Alexandra Mondalek’s piece on How to Talk to Customers During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
- Listen to our special podcast series featuring expert insights on how to turn the crisis into an opportunity. The first episode with ‘Retail Prophet’ Doug Stephens pulled no punches about the potential impact to the retail sector but also offered a message of hope. Stay tuned for more episodes each week.
- Physical events around the world may be on hold, but that doesn’t mean we must lose the human community and connectivity at the heart of the fashion business. We need that now more than ever. BoF’s events team is switching gears to bring you a series of BoF Live events via Zoom and Instagram, offering insight, advice and inspiration every day starting next week. Stay tuned to our free Daily Digest newsletter for more information and a calendar of upcoming digital events.
- And if you do have extra time on your hands, living in self-isolation or lockdown, we’re here to help you spend it constructively. Consider enriching yourself with online learning from BoF Education by reading a case study on Moncler’s ‘Genius’ Strategy or Gucci’s Merchandising Success, or taking an online course, such as Styling with Lucinda Chambers or Digital Marketing with Drew Elliott. Explore the full suite of BoF Professional case studies here and online courses here.
Finally, we would like to hear from you to learn how you and your organisations are navigating through this crisis. The more we can understand about the issues that are front of mind and how our community is adapting in these unprecedented times, the more we can share the wisdom and tailor our reporting and services to you. Please fill out our short survey here.
We are grateful to you for supporting our award-winning journalism. If you are not a BoF Professional member or you want to share BoF with your friends and co-workers, they can sign up for an annual membership with a 25 percent discount using the code FRIEND. Please click here to join —and again, thank you.
You can count on BoF to help guide you through these troubled times.
Imran Amed, Founder and CEO
The Business of Fashion — Where the global fashion industry gathers every day
We’re tracking the latest on the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global fashion business. Visit our live blog for everything you need to know.