This is how the virus is impacting shopping right now

There's no denying the Coronavirus is affecting all aspects of our lives, including our shopping habits. Independent fashion brands and small designers in particular are seeing a big difference.

Catherine Quin first launched her London label in 2015, and creates season-less, minimalist pieces, as evidenced by her latest collection, the Parisian Suitcase edit (pictured above and below).

I asked her if she's seen a difference in people's shopping habits since the beginning of the lockdown, and what we can do to help small businesses.

Have you seen a different in how people shop yet?

Our sales have slowed but it seems that our customers are gravitating towards the more playful pieces such as the embellished feather Bastille top from our new Paris release. I think people are already getting sick of wearing their tracksuits and pyjamas and even though they’re stuck at home, they want something that feels beautiful and cheerful.

People have more time so we have seen an uplift in website traffic and dwell time. I think people are now realising that this might be a longer term situation and shifting meetings to Zoom or Skype so there is still a need to look and feel presentable.

What can be done to help small/independent designers?

Supporting independent businesses is now more important than ever. We have a fully serviced e-commerce site and I would encourage people to take the time to research new independent brands online or Instagram and buy from their own websites. We don’t just want the big corporates to survive leaving us with Zara on one end of the spectrum and a Louis Vuitton on the other. We need the creativity and spirit that independent designers bring. But without consumer support there’s very little that can be done.

Catherine Quin was built around creating precious garments with a focus on quality, comfort and style. Slowing down the pace of fashion to create clothes with a quiet sense of permanence that will endure. Lasting through the best and the most testing times.

What challenges are you facing now as a small brand?

We’re also concerned for our local supply chain. We work with a variety of suppliers and factories all based in London. When people stop spending, the work dries up for the factories and puts the entire supply chain in jeopardy. It then doesn’t become a problem of demand but supply instead.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.