Changing geographies of fashion during Covid‐19: The Australian case

02 June 2021

COVID-19 has impacted a range of industries, of which the fashion industry is no exception. Here, we examine the effects of COVID‐19 on the geographies of that industry in Australia. We use a path‐dependency framework to understand the evolution of the Australian fashion industry and to evaluate the impact of COVID‐19 as an external shock to this evolution. The Australian fashion industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Drawing upon a qualitative methodology and associated set of methods consisting of 24 semi‐structured interviews with key industry actors, we explore three key themes. First, we examine the impact of COVID‐19 on firm dynamics, investigating how fashion brands have navigated a period of significant uncertainty through a combination of highly nimble internal business practices and industry collaborations. Second, in light of unstable globalised supply chains, we consider the important role of local garment production in supporting industrial resilience. Third, we explore how changing consumption behaviours are altering the retail geographies of the Australian fashion industry in both physical and virtual spaces. Based on our analysis of preliminary results, we reflect on the suitability of an evolutionary approach in this context and outline a number of themes of future research.