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Creating Tomorrow: every design will matter post-Covid-19

Crisis calls for creativity. It also calls for a reset.

The question many of us are asking ourselves right now is not how do we cope in a lockdown, but how will we cope afterwards? Not in terms of social distancing in the workplace, nor when we’ll be able to go on holiday again, but what will a post-Covid-19 world look like to those in the multiple creative industries which create consumer products. The world you and I inhabit.

Global recession looms. People are already spending far less than before, and suddenly a lunchtime lipstick purchase or new dress for Friday night seems far less likely to be top of people’s priority lists.

Crisis calls for creativity. It also calls for a reset.

For too long the fashion world, in particular, has been powered not by better, better, better, but by more, more, more, and the team here at WGSN believe strongly that now is an overdue time for reset. Time to reset consumer demand. Time to reset quality over quantity. Time to reset the supply chain. And time, absolutely, to reset how sustainable our business practices are.

I do not doubt that for those whose business hangs in the balance, or those furloughed from their jobs, these challenges may feel out of reach and the immediacy of survival takes priority.

However, the amazing examples of creativity that are flourishing now gives me hope that brilliant minds everywhere will rise to this need for a rethink like never before.

Design that is considered and necessary will always find its place, no matter the economic environment. I think a lot about William Morris’s often quoted line: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

I believe individuals will buy with the above in mind, whether they realise it or not. As we are seeing in China, products that spark joy (to borrow another well-known quote) are in demand as people want to reward themselves after long periods of only essential purchases. Products that are well designed and with a new normal in mind will be prized – but well-designed will mean a lot more than it did before.

PS This week’s #creativityVcrisis highlights can be found over on our Instagram channel, @WGSN, in my Friday video.

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