This year’s first day of 2023 set a new record. Northeastern Asia’s Korea, Japan, and China were gripped by a deadly and disturbing cold, while parts of the United States and Europe experienced unusually warm weather. Because of the effects of human-caused climate change, the way the weather affects spending patterns is becoming increasingly unusual and unpredictable. Although the weather is not the dominant force shaping the fashion industry’s wealth, it has always had a significant impact on how consumers spend. Warmer-than-normal temperatures and a lack of snow in New York, for example, are always bad news for coat and cozy winter boots retailers, and this month’s demand for outerwear, hats, and gloves is expected to be 15% lower than the January average.
The previous warm October meant that Dr. Martens had a fantastic month for sandals, but its boot offerings declined, the company told analysts last November. Due to changing weather and consumer travel habits, the timing of demand for seasonal products like shorts has also seen wild swings in the last two years. Even though China’s battle with Covid-19 has hampered the growth of luxury behemoths, we can see today that weather affects all aspects of the industry, from raw material production to spending habits and the consumer market. Unusual weather patterns are interfering with brands’ and retailers’ ability to predict what people will buy and when, raising the specter of inventory management. It also contributes to a broader market shift away from fashion’s traditional seasonal business model, which is being driven by modern shopping habits such as instant buy-now, wear-now satisfaction, and a more globalized customer base.
Extreme weather is expected to become more frequent and intense with every fraction of a degree of warming, according to scientists. According to the EU Copernicus Climate Change Service, last year was the fifth hottest on record. This year has the potential to be even hotter. Are shirts made of the same material as plastic bags, Jeans that have been infused with crushed jade, garments made with computerized knitting for superior ventilation, or NASA-designed cooling technology for astronauts, an answer? Even for companies that have made efforts to adapt to climate change, the impact is unavoidable because systems have not adapted at the same rate as climate change. Perhaps the best solution would be to change how we produce and consume, but no one wants to hear about it.