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Spotlight: Fashion in the time of corona pandemic


Today’s world has taken on new concepts like ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ due to the coronavirus pandemic. How well are we dressing up, and what are people choosing to wear? Do people dress up even while at home during the pandemic?

The Observer spoke to a few fashion designers and women social media influencers to know their views, and how best they view the pandemic.

Fashion designer Sahar al Aufi says the best solution would be to go in for elegant and simple comfortable clothes, making us feel good about ourselves. “During corona times, we do not really need party wear but always need to be comfortable at home, and it is beautiful and yet simple.”

Sahar, who launched brands like Melis and Sahar al Aufi , says she would prefer going out with matching clothes, colours, or style for sure. “I would go to a designer to find for me the good fabric for the mask and the colours and styles needed.”


A former SQU English teacher, Faryal Ahmed, mentions comfort, inertia, depression and expanding waistlines becoming the norm. Hooks and zips gave way to elastics and spandex (lycra), with kaftans and pyjamas becoming new trends.

“Fear, anxiety, stress and frustration took precedence and ‘fashion’ was a forgotten word. The pandemic posed dual challenges towards getting the jabs or slipping back into jeans. “Joggers and trainers were pulled out to replace loungers and kaftans. Browsing the Internet for Covid relief was replaced by quick-fix diets and stay fit programmes,” she adds.

The fashion industry opened doors to an endless variety of masks from embroidered, printed, ethnic, pop art, or the fun types. She further adds the ever-ready promises of ‘not buying more’, ‘less is more’, and ‘I don’t need anything’ being revisited.

“The masks are here to stay for a while so let us make the most of it. If we cannot wear lipstick, we can wear a double coat of mascara,” she points out.

Padmini Atal, Ladies Wing Coordinator of Indian Social Club (ISC), says there is hope for fashion and is confident of beating the pandemic by dressing up.

“Women still look in the mirror and hope still exists. Just like the trench coat of World War I became the inspiration for Burberry’s famous trench coat, the ubiquitous mask may well be the fashion accessory of the future,” she adds.

With nowhere to go and no one for whom they need to impress, Padmini feels leisure is becoming important in one’s life. “Comfort is key and sweatsuits, tracksuits, and performance wear in interesting textures take centre stage. Top brands like Gucci, Fendi and Tom Ford are imitating this trend,” she reasons.

Christine Karan, a fashion content creator for social media, says yoga pants and track trousers are now workaday. “Zoom calls just required a work shirt as most of the millennials and the GenZ looked for a reason to dress to the nines.”

TikTok and Instagram gave birth to many creative fashion ‘challenges’ such as ‘#pillowchallenge’, ‘#Dontrush’ challenge, #10secondsvs’ and the recent ‘#whatwouldiwear’ challenge.

A lifestyle contributor to magazines, Christine (@the.christinekaran) says formal work trousers or jeans with a shirt and some make-up brought positive energy and confidence to her that reflected in her work.

“I was able to work longer and more efficiently which boosted my morale and an interest in work or study with the fun of a quick posting of #myOOTD before starting the day’s work,” she adds.

Artist Sushmita Gupta who designs clothes during the pandemic, says her overall fashion sense is way more driven by comfort now than before. “All of a sudden, everybody faced a grave situation of a wardrobe overflowing with clothes but nowhere to go.”

She says a trip to the grocers became equivalent to meeting with friends in casual clothing, trendy and nicely matched, never over the top.

Finding it hard to handle this long confinement, she now has gone in for palazzos or loose linen pants.

“What took a beating were the wedding clothes, the statement-making jewellery and the high heeled shoes. They did not get to see the light of the day for over a year now,” she regrets.


Liju Cherian


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