Work Life

COVID-19 Impact on Fashion Employment

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To get a handle on fashion industry unemployment, conducted a survey of fashion industry professionals regarding their work status.

The 5 responses available to the survey takers where:

  • I was laid-off
  • I was furloughed
  • I am working reduced hours
  • I am working regular hours at a reduced salary
  • I am working regular hours (same as before the lock-downs)

It is important to note that we conducted this survey and are sharing the results NOT to bring anyone down RATHER to lift people up. Our goal is to show people that their job loss DOES NOT define who they are and they are NOT ALONE in this struggle.

Fashion Industry Unemployment

With over 1100 responses to the unemployment survey, here are the overall results:

As a reference point, US unemployment at the height of the Great Depression was at roughly 25%. Current unemployment rates in the fashion industry are double that.

Income Loss/Reduction

The most devastating takeaway from this survey is that 91% off all fashion industry professionals’ income has been impacted by the pandemic…

While Federal, State and Local governments are helping with the loss of income, nothing beats a paycheck.

Working vs Not Working

When we dive deeper into the numbers, we see that 76% of all fashion industry professionals are NOT working at all…

To put this in perspective, unemployment at the height of the Great Depression was 3 times LESS than that of the current fashion industry.

Working & Expecting to Work

When you take into consideration the furloughed workers; those that are expecting to return to their previous job, the numbers are a little better:

The bottom line with this graphic is that roughly half of the fashion industry lost their job.

Ultimately, everyone has to wear clothes (and shoes, socks, accessories, etc…). Eventually, fashion industry employment will return to normal. unfortunately, the amount of time that it will take to come back, is up in the air.

For those who are out of work or who are expecting to look for work if their furlough turns into a lay-off, please take this time to prepare for the come back…

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Chris Kidd is the owner of,,, and

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