Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we shopped freely in our favorite stores, trying on every item of clothing, bags and jewelry to our heart’s desire. However, the current health crisis coupled with government-enacted quarantine measures have affected many industries in the country, including the fashion industry. Today, many fashion brands are rethinking ways to best serve their loyal customers towards the “new normal.”

“When the lockdown was implemented, we didn’t think it would last this long. We simply closed our stores with the expectation that we could re-open in a couple of weeks. The main challenge now is how to create demand for our products or create new product categories that are more relevant to the times and to the needs of our customers,” shares Aranaz creative director Amina Aranaz.

Amina Aranaz says Filipinos are now more creative when it comes to covering up. Photo from Aranaz
Photo from Aranaz

Fashion industry moving forward to a post-COVID-19 society 

Fashion is always evolving, depending on the needs of the people and the current situation of the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has become another means for the art and industry to evolve towards a post-COVID-19 society.

“The fashion and design industry is well-known for its fast-paced environment wherein we always have to adapt to new trends and introduce new styles, and with our operations put on pause for a few months, we had to navigate our way of how our industry will cope through this ‘new normal.’ The lockdown brought us many challenges but it also allowed us to reflect as a brand on how we want to go forward ― what our objectives are and what our roles in the industry are. Most importantly, providing a safe workplace and ensuring good health of our employees still remains our main priority which we believe will also reflect on providing service to our clients,” adds jewelry designer Nicole Whisenhunt.

For some, fashion is used to heal and escape from stress. “With or without the pandemic, fashion has always been an escape for many of us. It can bring joy and beauty in ways you may not realize. Putting on a nice dress or a new pair of shoes for example, almost instantly lifts your mood. We need to be inspired (and) fashion will always be that,” says fashion designer Vania Romoff.

The pandemic has also proven that Filipinos are resilient and creative, adapting to the new normal with the best they can, including in their fashion. “Filipinos are definitely getting more creative in their fashion choices, especially in terms of ‘covering up,’” says Aranaz.

“This lockdown has allowed us to cherish our loved ones more, and our clients want to showcase that by gifting their loved ones a unique jewelry piece designed only for them by Whisenhunt Fine Jewelry,” adds Whisenhunt.

Nicole Whisenhunt shares how their clients want to showcase how much they cherish their loved ones through unique jewelry pieces designed by them. Photo from Whisenhunt

“Our recently launched Essentials Collection, which offers protective outerwear, seems to reflect how motivated we all are to keep everyone and ourselves safe while allowing the simple joy of doing so, in style,” shares Romoff.

Ensuring safety above all 

As the country is slowly getting back on its feet, Rockwell recognizes the needs of its loyal customers and partners to stay safe and healthy while being inside one of Makati’s premiere fashion destinations. Entering the new normal does not have to be difficult, especially for the fashion brands and lifestyle stores of Power Plant Mall.

“Power Plant Mall has been very supportive from the very beginning. They had a very clear and open communication line with us. And they really made their presence and concern felt, which is highly appreciated. Generally, they have been very quick to react and pivot during this time,” says Aranaz.

With limited visits to malls, Romoff shares that “It has been challenging to drive sales when there is expectedly lower foot traffic in the malls but Power Plant Mall has been helping us address this by pushing for collaborative marketing initiatives and constantly reassuring (us).”

Whisenhunt adds that the lifestyle hub has “implemented certain safety measures to ensure safe shopping,” such as introducing “new innovations like their contactless thermal scanners and their UV Care escalator handrail sanitizers.”

In addition to this, shoppers can expect to receive the same care from their favorite stores. “Our priority will always be the safety of our clients and employees, and making sure that we adhere to Rockwell’s guidelines for safe and healthy shopping is one way we can definitely ensure that,” says Whisenhunt.

“Upon entering our boutique, our clients can expect that like always, they will be happily welcomed by our healthy staff, while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, of course. We also have a disinfection station provided with alcohol for clients and staff use. Every surface of the boutique, especially high-touch areas are properly sanitized after every use. Most importantly, our jewelry pieces are also sanitized with alcohol and UV Light sanitation after each and every use,” she shares.

While over at Aranaz, alcohol stations, social distancing markers and reminders for both the customers and employees were enacted while still offering the same “Aranaz Retail experience.”

Vania Romoff says that fashion is an escapism amid the stress from the pandemic. Photo from Vania Romoff
Photo from Vania Romoff

The same safety protocols can also be expected at Vania Romoff’s store with the addition of “money trays for less contact” and “constant sanitation procedures on top of the deep cleaning.”

Shopping the ‘Rockwell way’

Power Plant Mall has been the fashionable address of Metro Manila, but it has also become the second home of many. “Power Plant Mall feels like home to many. It is a comfortable and safe space with a good selection of stores,” says Aranaz.

“Apart from the great retail mix, I feel Rockwell makes its mall-goers feel safe and secure. They have been very transparent and constantly proactive in addressing the current situation,” adds Romoff.

“While it may be challenging to spend as much time as we used to outside as we continue to look after ourselves, Power Plant Mall’s safety measures have been incredibly helpful in navigating our lives in this new normal, and that reflects to the loyal mall goers. They trust the mall to provide them a safe environment where they can continue to still do the things they used to enjoy with precaution,” adds Whisenhunt.

Though the future remains uncertain, loyal customers of Power Plant Mall can feel at ease whenever they enter its doors. With time, we can shop with the same carefree indulgence as we once did.

This story was originally published on The Philippine Star.

For more information, follow the official social media pages of Power Plant Mall.