With many people now working from home, they may have hoped to escape the tyranny of the office dress code, but enterprising Indian retailers are repurposing their spring and summer fashion collections as WFH-wear.

As the lockdown enters its third week, fashion brands are struggling to shift inventory and several – Myntra, Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Madura Fashion & Lifestyle and The Label Life among them – are promoting items as being suitable for remote working and virtual meetings.

“The new vertical is meant to engage consumers in navigating WFH situations wherein they are facing a large audience on camera,” Vishak Kumar, CEO of Madura Fashion & Lifestyle, told the Economic Times.

“We plan to make this vertical a permanent feature and increase selection as this culture of WFH is likely to gain momentum,” he added.

Websites have been tweaked accordingly, with WFH popups directing shoppers to browse outfits for conference calls, Zoom-ready dressing and loungewear.

But a major stumbling block to this approach is that brands are currently unable to deliver any items to customers – that facility is restricted to products deemed as being essentials – so for now it’s all about engagement with the hope that orders will follow when the lockdown is lifted.

“Fashion is an engagement-oriented segment,” said Amar Nagaram, head of Myntra. “It is important to create such avenues that allow us to interact easily and frequently with our customers in these trying times.”

Vasanth Kumar, Lifestyle International managing director, concurred, describing the brand’s WFH Journal as “a curation of ideas on how they [consumers] can optimise WFH schedules, stay fit along with styling advice and motivational sayings to get through these trying times.”

Other lifestyle brands facing the same issues have opted for stay-at-home sales with prepaid features that can both cater to the new normal and help maintain their cash flow.

Sourced from Economic Times