There’s no doubt that at some point in the last nine weeks you’re received a message including the words ‘in these unprecedented times’. It’s a phrase, whilst extremely apt – has been so overused it has lost all meaning. At this point, the narrative is quite different to what it was when the pandemic started. Zoom calls, (and quizzes) were the highlight of peoples days, now they’re so frequent they can feel like a chore, unfinished crafting is causing clutter in peoples homes, and this is just the effect on peoples personal lives.
Statistics last night revealed that, in the UK 2.1 million people have began claiming benefits, a number which has risen from 856,000. As well as this, 50,000 more people are out of work as a cause of the pandemic. Recruitment for many jobs have halted, as companies scramble to stay afloat. Unfortunately, the most affected by this crisis are young people aged 18-24, with 35% earning less than what they were previously, be it due to furlough, loss of jobs, or working less hours. There is hope, as the light at the end of the tunnel approaches recruitment will slowly start to pick up – but competition is higher than ever.
I’m going to be frank, one industry which has been hit quite hard is fashion. Sadly, all our vacancies have been put on hold as businesses evaluate the impact of Covid-19 – in my 25 years in fashion recruitment this is well and truly a first. With stores closing their doors almost two months ago, this period has been the final nail in the coffin for some of our favourite brands. Oasis and Warehouse are sadly no more, Cath Kidston is to become a digital-only business, and Debenhams have gone back into administration, with further store closures. It isn’t just doom and gloom, and I urge you all, especially those soon to graduate searching for entry level fashion jobs, to not get too caught up in the negativity. With the closure of the high streets, brands have had to focus on their e-commerce platforms, and it has been a time where ingenuity has thrived.
Whilst in-store marketing is always planned ahead, online is more reactive, with the tone and messaging constantly changing to be in-line with what is happening in the world around them. Social media has also played a part in this, opening up a conversation between customer and brand, with many hosting quizzes, Pilates, DJ sets and cooking classes. This extra time has become an opportunity for our favourite names to truly get to know their customer and regain their trust, one which will no doubt benefit them once we are through this.
I know these times are hard, and this week – Mental Health Week is a time where we’re thinking about this more than ever. We’ve all been feeling down, uncertain, and fatigued, but, what I hope this blog has shown you is that there is hope. Even in the darkest times there’s always a ray of light, be it an unexpected job interview, speaking to a family member, or even an evening of silliness watching Eurovision. One thing which has amazed me is the sense of community and how we have all pulled together – a sentiment I’m sure will continue to get us through this over the coming months as we return back to ‘normal.’
MY TOP TIPS FOR STAYING POSITIVE
Don’t let the news rule your life. With the extra time on all of our hands, we’ve been invested in current affairs now more than ever. Try to limit your consumption to once or twice a day, and don’t read any negative news before bed.
Stay connected – on your terms. For some of us, it seems like we’re catching up with friends more than we’d see them in reality! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to constantly communicate, be honest. Tell them (in a polite way), you aren’t feeling up to it – most likely they have felt the same at some point.
Get outside – the weather is getting hotter, and we can now go out as much as we can. You’ll be surprised at how much an hour in the park feels like a well-needed boost of humanity.
If you’re a designer or a creative, now is the time to spend on perfecting your portfolio. We all know this is a time consuming task, so take this extra time to get it exactly right.
If you need to, seek career help. As I mentioned, recruitment for roles is slowly picking up. If you’re searching for a Manchester based fashion job, (or surrounding areas), are looking for a change, or simply need a confidential career chat to consider your future options, I am available for a confidential 1-1 conversation.