Is Climate Change Burning Up the Fashion Retailing Industry?

by Joshua Dorman

The impacts of climate change are well and truly numerous, even wreaking adverse effects upon an industry that has outlasted everything from drastic shifts in consumer tastes to epic financial downturns: fashion. Dr. Steven J. Hausman, a data scientist and president of Hausman Technology Presentations, recently observed that the climate of 2016—the hottest year on record according to NASA—has had a “direct effect on fashion and apparel retailing.” And indeed it has, with the effects of the phenomenon being felt by the likes of fashion giants Levi Strauss & Co., VF Corp., L’Oreal, and many others.

One particularly salient ramification of climate change on the fashion industry is that shifts in weather patterns have begun to affect consumer browsing patterns. Owners of boutique fashion houses have started noticing that when temperatures reach between ninety and one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, people tend to remain cooped-up inside their air-conditioned homes. The result: a severe decrease in browsing time and, in response, plummeting sales revenue. Continue reading