This month, amid a nationwide lockdown, Cosmopolitan India released what it called “the first-ever Work From Home” issue. In it were “the first self-shot covershoot”, make-up ideas for FaceTime dates, and tips to look sexy in sweatpants. Celebrities and designers shared notes in it from their days at home. Fashion influencers dispensed styling advice that was posted with the hashtag #workfromhome.

At any other time, a fashion magazine posting videos of influencers telling us how to look and what to wear would be par for the course. But these are extraordinary times. A pandemic is ravaging lives and livelihoods. People around the world are grappling with grief. Frontline workers are putting themselves at risk every day. The poor are struggling to keep themselves fed, let alone stay safe and protected. Amid this catastrophe, “nailing WFH attire” doesn’t seem to be worth anyone’s time or interest.

This isn’t to say that fashion in its entirety is pointless and frivolous. I personally adore fashion and have found it to be uplifting in times of difficulty. Fashion can empower, it can comfort. It can give the marginalised a voice. But in these grim times, one can’t help but wish for the fashion community to reshape their narrative, and be more empathetic and compassionate.

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A cover created by the covergirl herself? Oh yes, we did. Cosmo India presents a unique Made At Home cover, created by the lovely Sobhita Dhulipala (@sobhitad). This remotely-shot cover celebrates the spirit of collaboration, and was styled, conceptualised, and put together by Sobhita, in association with Team Cosmo, for this first-ever #WorkfromHome Issue.⁠ Over the next few days, Cosmo India will be publishing a digital-exclusive issue on all its social media assets and website, echoing the many thoughts and emotions many of us are all going through right now. Stay tuned for celebrity contributors and exclusive content on life, love, and the time of isolation. #CosmoWorkFromHome⁠ ⁠ Editor: Nandini Bhalla (@nandinibhalla)⁠ Styling: Sobhita Dhulipala (@sobhitad)⁠ Photographer: Sobhita Dhulipala (@sobhitad ) Hair: Sobhita Dhulipala (@sobhitad)⁠ Makeup: Sobhita Dhulipala (@sobhitad)⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #sobhitadhulipala #cosmoworkfromhome #workfromhome #isolation #selfisolation #isolationlife #covid19 #workfromhomeindia #isolationindia #athome #indiaathome #celebritiesathome #bollywood #bollywoodcelebrities #bollywoodathome⁠ #stayhome #withme #quarantineandchill #india #flattenthecurve #quarantinelife #quarantineindia #quatantineindia #quarantinebollywood #quarantinecelebrity⁠ #bollywood #cosmoindia

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Last week, I received a text from a journalist who had seen an Instagram post of mine and wanted me to contribute five “lockdown looks” for a story. The Instagram post was an ode to fashion for helping me get through adversity, including a serious health condition. I turned down the journalist’s request, but the exchange got me thinking about the tone-deafness of the fashion community.

Instead of harping on the stale “trends-you-need” narrative, the fashion community – including brands, designers, publications and influencers – could be adopting a more inclusive strategy. It could organise online workshops and tutorials, and create participatory communication to reach out to its customers. It could help make them feel more involved, not alienated.

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Page 44: Three talented bloggers use their extraordinary make-up skills to turn their faces into canvases—with an important message to stay home, be productive, and keep the creative spirit alive. First up, Shereen Sikka Bharwani’s (@shereenlovebug ) masterpiece created exclusively for Cosmo! ⁠ #CosmoWorkFromHome⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #beautyblogger #faceart #makeup #funmakeup #cosmoworkfromhome #workfromhome #isolation #selfisolation #isolationlife #covid19 #workfromhomeindia #isolationindia #athome #indiaathome #celebritiesathome #stayhome #withme #quarantineandchill #untiltomorrow #flattenthecurve #quarantine #quarantinelife #quarentinaclub #quarantinelife #quarantineindia ⁠

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A few brands are admittedly trying this. Nomad, a Delhi-based indie label, is doing a wonderful job of engaging with its community with its “21 days of Creativity” initiative. Fashion Revolution, a global non-profit that promotes fairness and transparency in fashion, is hosting online events and talks as part of the Fashion Revolution Week.

Inclusiveness of this kind is what we’ll need in the future. In the post-coronavirus world, the changes we are witnessing now are bound to get starker and more pervasive. In the fashion business, both consumption as well as production will be affected.

Fashion brands are already gearing up for this inevitable shift. A Vogue Business article quotes Emily Gordon-Smith, a director at London-headquartered trend analysis firm Stylus, as predicting a move to a “trendless and seasonless approach by fashion brands”. A report by Business of Fashion and McKinsey projects that the pandemic will bring into focus values around sustainability and promote discussions around “materialism, over-consumption, and irresponsible business practices”.

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Page 78: The lockdown has resulted in many of us arranging (and rearranging) our wardrobes, putting us in touch again with some of the most precious pieces in our closet. As we make a case for ‘slow fashion’ and conscious repeating, 12 designers speak to Cosmo about the one item of clothing or accessory that is timeless…and will be loved and worn forever. #CosmoWorkFromHome . @mandirawirkhq : "Well, this photo is taken by my little daughter and show two of my treasured pieces. I am wearing a dress that I am wearing is from our first collection of MW Resort wear. These sunglasses are from Greece and of an obscure European brand. Still, I love them as they were picked out and bought by my daughter during our holiday. They are not only beautiful but very light and fit so well! Just perfect for beach holidays. " . Swati Agarwal: "This is a saree given to me during my wedding by my mother in law. What’s interesting is that this piece was a part of her trousseau which was unused. It’s a 52-year-old saree from Banaras. My mother in law is no more with us and this saree has become a cherished piece of her memories almost as if it’s a part of her left behind with me. There is also a small bag handmade with gold beads that she carried during her wedding and passed on to me saying, “I know you may never use it but keep it. It’s important to me that it’s taken care of when I’m not around." . @namratajoshipura : "This Ring and the claw pendant are my absolute favourites. I wear them often- every day actually! I reset my original engagement ring into this design a few years back. I like the boldness of the Design. The pendant is from Goa. I have had it for 8 years. I had seen it on a friend, thereafter, I followed the artist - Allan Jaraba for 3 years before I could finally connect with him and had him make this. (It’s not a real claw) It’s like my sword..” . Head to the link in bio to read the stories behind each of these treasured fashion belongings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #indianfashion #indianfashiondesigners #workfromhome #isolation #selfisolation #isolationlife #covid19 #workfromhomeindia #isolationindia #athome #indiaathome #celebritiesathome #stayhome #withme

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The economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic will invariably have us reassess and reshape our consumption habits. The culture of overconsumption that fast fashion made commonplace may be replaced by the ideology of make-do-and-mend. Upcycling, wardrobe swaps, second-hand clothing and thrift shopping will garner greater momentum.

Perhaps this is what fashion’s future holds.

For a long time and for a lot of people, fashion has got a bad rap for being superficial, stand-offish and led by trends. But we forget that our clothes aren’t just clothes – they are carriers of history, memory and stories. They are an expression of our individuality. On difficult days, they offer comfort, and on good days, they cheer on our victories. Maybe this is the time when we look at fashion as a source of warmth, solace and happiness, not as a competition to covet, own and discard.

Karishma Sehgal is a fashion designer and artist based in Pune.