The show will go on for Burberry in September 2020, but outdoors. The brand announced it will present its Spring/Summer 2021 collection in an unnamed British fresh-air location on September 17. The show will be available to “experience” digitally for those unable to travel or visit.
Burberry is one of the first to announce solid plans for September.
G-STAR has joined forces with the Dutch National Ballet for a unique collaboration in which the ‘new reality’, social distancing, is visualized in an artistic way. Inspired by the empty theaters, artists without a stage, and the dance of each individual to find their way in the new normal. The socially distanced society is reflected in a special choreography with a 3-meter wide denim tutu as the centerpiece.
An unexpected yet beautiful merging of denim, dance, music and craftsmanship. DJ Joris Voorn, and the strings of the Dutch Ballet Orchestra created the fusion music piece for this project.
The CFDA and Vogue have announced the second round of recipients for the new A Common Thread grant. This round will distribute a total of 2,015,000 dollars.Â Slightly more than half of the total donation will be divided among 36 fashion industry companies, which include 18 brands, 13 retailers, three factories, and two other businesses or organizations.
In addition to this, the CFDA and Vogue have announced a contribution of 1 million dollars to ICON 360, a new non-profit launched by Brandice Daniel of Harlemâ€™s Fashion Row. The organization will provide forgivable relief to designers of color who are pivoting their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was originally established as a response to the tragedy that took place on 9/11. Now, as we are all faced with new challenges, it is being repurposed in addition to raising and distributing funds to those who have been most affected ”highlight designers and tell the stories of those who work tirelessly behind the scenes across the country in our incredibly strong and vibrant fashion industry.
THE NEW NORMAL OF BUYING?
Esther Stein / Jana Melkumova-Reynolds
WITH NO TRAVEL, SHOWS, TRADE FAIRS OR SHOWROOMS, THIS SUMMER RETAILERS WILL HAVE TO FIND OTHER WAYS TO ORDER FASHION COLLECTIONS. WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
This summer’s (physical) editions of Berlin’s Premium and Neonyt have been cancelled, Pitti Uomo has cancelled its summer event alltogether after moving it first, Düsseldorf’s Gallery Fashion and Showroom Concept will now start on August 30, and this year’s CPD – now rebranded DFD, for Düsseldorf Fashion Days – will begin on August 8. The fashion calendar has been thrown into disarray, and most trade shows are going digital.
London Fashion Week has followed Shanghai and Moscow’s lead and will be hosting its upcoming editions online. The next LFW, planned for June 12-14, will be a digital, dual-gender platform aimed at industry professionals and end consumers. The schedule will include interviews, podcasts, webinars and digital showrooms, where designers can showcase their S/S collections to retailers and their current lines to the public.
A similar platform is in the offing with Pitti Connect in Florence, which retailers should be able to use from June onwards. After initial cancellations, the Milan and Paris menswear shows are now set to go ahead in digital format: Paris Fashion Week Online will run from July 9 to 13, followed by Milano Digital Fashion Week from July 14 to 17. Both events plan to stick to their original show calendar, with each brand given a slot to present using videos and photos. Parisian trade show Tranoi is launching a digital platform in June that will host e-meetings and e-presentations. The sustainable trade show Neonyt is planning a virtual presence, too. And Premium Exhibitions is working on a ‘Blended Fashion Event’ that will combine the strengths of live events with the possibilities of the digital marketplace.
The same trend is palpable in Asia. “In March, we decided to use Tencent Meeting and Ding Talk to establish a communication and trading platform for exhibitors and buyers, CHIC ONLINE, and hold online match-making and seminars,” Chen Dapeng, President at China National Garment Association, tells WeAr.
The sector is divided as to whether industry professionals will be taken by virtual fashion shows and trade fairs. Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner at Premium, is wary of hasty reactions: “Although there is plenty that can be done digitally nowadays, it’s no substitute for people actually coming together.” Until some sort of normality returns, she recommends the wholesale platform Joor, which connects around 8,600 brands from 53 categories with 190,000 stores in 144 countries. Since March, Joor has also been offering 360-degree images in partnership with ORDRE, the technology provider. Videos are in the works to meet buyers’ needs. For retailers familiar with or already stocking the brands on offer, Joor might be the right port of call.
The first Digital Fashion Week held by B2B platform Fashion Cloud aims to virtually recreate the trade show experience. The digital fashion show is set to include shared livestreams and individual brand sessions where labels can present their collections to a select audience. During and after the trade show, retailers can view videos of the live events at digital ‘stands’, while 3D images and additional information allow them to gain an overview of the brand’s offering. The three-day event takes place from July 14 and is free for retailers.
For those who want the online experience to be as close as possible to a real-life showroom, B2B digital wholesale platform BrandLab Fashion has developed a technology to recreate brand showrooms using virtual reality. Unlike some other platforms that are essentially brand directories with e-commerce style product listings, BrandLab designs replicas of brands’ physical spaces in a 3D digital format with the use of immersive technology and provides integrated real-time voice or video communication linked to live ordering facilities to keep and build those important personal relationships. 360-degree imagery and catwalk videos are complemented with a seamless user experience design that allows for multibrand buying with one click.
A few showrooms are setting up one-to-one showcases via video chat, perfect for fielding any queries about the items. Others are offering retailers private on-site visits – following hygiene guidelines, of course – as many will want to see and feel the styles up close. All these solutions obviously can’t replace the hustle and bustle of a trade show – but it’s unlikely to be the only change we’ll have to adapt to this year.
ROUND TABLE: EMBRACING CHANGE
For this issue, WeAr has spoken to over 40 experts, including retailers, trade shows, showrooms, brands, suppliers and academics, about what the future holds. Here they offer their views on the possible scenario where of S/S20 collections being packed away and stored until S/S21, discuss potential shifts in the fashion calendar, and share not only advice but their own pandemic survival strategies.
The questions asked were as follows:
- Due to the pandemic, the sales of SS20 collections are very slow throughout the industry across the world. Some experts have proposed that SS20 collections should be packed and stored until next summer. What do you think about the idea of selling what was originally meant to be SS20 collections next year, in SS21? Which items/product categories do you think would be best to hold back to next year, and which items do you feel can get sold this summer despite the pandemic?
- What do you think the current outbreak will do for the future of the fashion calendar? Will the amount of fashion events around the world go back to normal once the crisis is over, or will it shrink and become more focused (e. g., by conflating Men’s and Women’s shows)? If the latter, when and where do you expect the key events to happen?
- What are your business’ key coping mechanisms during the pandemic? What are you doing to retain and incentivise your customers and to maintain your company’s financial health?
To ease your understanding the following categories were created:
Professor Jennifer Bentivegna, Fashion Business Management Department, Fashion Institute of Technology
1 Jennifer Bentivegna: I believe that some product can be packed up and stored for next summer and those items would be denim shorts that are more on the basic side as well as solid colored tops that are basic silhouettes. Some swim silhouettes can also be held back as long as they are not too trendy. Retailers will need to be careful with re-releasing Spring 2020 prints as the consumer may see them as old and dated. We have to remember that prior to the pandemic the consumer was out shopping for spring break and vacations; therefore they have already seen a lot of what was predicted to be big trends for spring/summer 2020. More fashion forward silhouettes and trendy washes and finishes will need to be sold this year as they run the risk of being out of style come next year. If people are going to be home more this summer there will be a need for more lounge driven styles. I do not foresee consumers refreshing their entire wardrobe at this time. However, I do see individuals wanting to upgrade from the clothes they have been bumming around the house in over the past two months and looking to move on to fresh styles and brighter colors.
2 Jennifer Bentivegna: The fashion calendar will shift due to the coronavirus, and I think that it’s a welcome shift. We need to slow down fashion and return to aligning product in store with the season we are actually in. We have gotten in to the habit of releasing fall in July and by the time the consumer is actually ready to purchase that product in September or October it is already marked down. Slower fashion can help to reduce markdowns if we are able to successful tighten collections and revert back to seasonal collections.
Fashion events will always be important but I believe they will shrink post covid. You will still have fall and spring fashion weeks but they may not all be live in person events, virtual fashion shows will be more dominant as the industry navigates a post pandemic world. We should expect to see Men’s and Women’s fashion shows combined and a designer showcasing their entire collection at once instead of having two separate shows.
3 Jennifer Bentivegna: As we navigate this new world it’s a great opportunity to start thinking innovatively. Ecommerce will become even more important and retailers that already have strong ecommerce presence like Nordstrom will prevail. Buy Online Pickup in Store may not be possible for all locations right now but curbside and contactless pickup is. Contactless checkout and customer service should be key areas to focus on. Providing a more focused and secure experience will help a retailer maintain their customer base. Consumers will want to feel appreciated by retailers, therefore now is the time to ramp up CRM programs and personalized messaging
Melissa Moylan, VP/Creative Head of Womenswear, Fashion Snoops
1 Melissa Moylan: I’m not too keen on storing and selling SS20 collections a full year later than they were intended, mainly because both brands and retailers need cashflow now to survive. While brick and mortar stores may remain closed, every retailer should use this time to ramp up their online platforms as both a way to sell but also, connect with customers. Even if they’re not buying right now, it is almost more important than ever to have a connection with customers. It’s imperative to not come off as pushing product. In light of the pandemic, many brands are speaking to customers from a lifestyle perspective and offering things such as wellness tips, recipes or workout classes. It’s important to understand that every person is processing this individually, and consumers will respond to shopping differently now, and as we recover from COVID-19. Many people have cleaned out their closets while staying home, which may bring light to a new wave of conscious consumerism. We anticipate that consumers will shift from disposable fashion to more considered wardrobe staples that are built to last and encourage building upon, from season to season. Emotional maximalism will be another key aspect of shopping – the joy of an exciting color, sensuous material or print for the way it makes you feel. In terms of product categories, the notion of dressing from the waist up (for video calls) will lead to tops being a key classification. Of course we can not ignore the fact that many of us are living in loungewear, and the notion of bed-to-street will continue to be important. There is something about knitwear and sweaters that give a sense of comfort, and we will see those classifications continue to grow. Dresses will be a harder classification with foreseeably less occasions, however consider something like a slinky slip dress that could be styled in more casual ways (think grunge layers).
2 Melissa Moylan: Unfortunately we do not have all the answers yet, however I will say that womenswear is in a beneficial position, with the next runway season starting several months from now. That allows us to assess and improve what works and what doesn’t in men’s digital fashion weeks. I imagine we will see the rise of digital platforms for fashion weeks however there is something special about fashion shows and I hope we find a way to continue to do them eventually – whether that means behind closed doors or in front of a limited audience. Seasonality is something that should also be discussed. The pandemic is in a way, forcing us to re-think the way we do everything. We know there were issues with the old way of doing things and this is forcing us to let go and come up with a better process. The notion of pre-collections has also led to abundance and an oversaturation of product in the market, so maybe we will return primarily to Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer collections. Dries Van Noten and other leaders have proposed to align real-world seasons with product deliveries, because really, it never made sense to buy a winter coat in the summer. The notion of buy-now, wear-now may finally become a key strategy.
3 Melissa Moylan: At Fashion Snoops, since we’re a digital trend agency, we’ve been able to pivot quickly in the midst of the pandemic. We introduced our Fear to Fuel webinar series the week of March 23rd and have kept it going nearly everyday for the past 8 weeks. We decided to open our doors to both clients and the world because right now everyone needs support. We’ve successfully brought together global tradeshow leaders for conversations, because right now joining forces will lead to industry solutions. We now host our Show + Tell meetings with our team as a webinar to talk about new and inspiring things that often underscore our forecasts or lead to new cultural shifts. We’ve also introduced Thrive Guide reports for our clients, which identify opportunities and strategies for change in our industry. We truly believe that we could all come out of this stronger than before.
Vincent Quan, Associate Professor, Fashion Institute of Technology
1 Vincent Quan: Social distancing rules and lockdowns will put a severe crimp on apparel sales during the balance of this year, if not longer, since these items are not as essential as food and shelter concerns. However, the consumer will be seeking basic items which offer comfort as well. Athleisure sales will continue during this time since this category meets the need to work comfortably from home. Due to the acceleration of virtual calls and meetings, consumers will be focused on the torso and up since this is the portion of the body most visible during the new normal of digital communication / virtual calls. In summary, brands need to make a concerted effort to sell as much of their SS20 collections to raise cash and cover expenses.
2 Vincent Quan: The fashion cycle experienced a “hiccup” for the first time which could happen again. The complexity of global supply chain interdependencies including raw materials and trim were exposed. With the cancellation of numerous fashion week events, the push to go virtual has accelerated. As brands went virtual, there was the realization that physical, in some ways could be replaced by digital – fashion shows included. Combining both Men’s and Women’s physical shows will happen. The unification of both will save on the costs to run separate events while promoting a singular brand message. With September just around the corner and the threat of another Covid-19 outbreak during the fall influenza season, the integration into one singular show will not occur until early 2021 for just a handful of brands who have the ability to re-engineer both the Men’s and Women’s line development calendars to run in parallel. The new normal for the fashion industry and its calendars will be a combination of physical and digital with a focus on growing digital much like e-commerce has done for the retail industry.
3 Vincent Quan: We are challenged today with two major safety issues. The first, which had been taken for granted prior to the pandemic, is health safety. Today, the health safety concern is paramount for fashion brands to not only address but to send a clear message to their stakeholders that this is the company’s top priority. These stakeholders include customers and employees alike. The brand message must deliver on health safety with full clarity and no ambiguity. Trust is non-negotiable. The second issue is financial safety. With the subsequent shutdowns due to the pandemic, sales dried up overnight. The number of small businesses suffering from the loss of revenue before and after the lockdowns eased is astronomical. Within the United States, small businesses account for nearly seventy percent of all job creation versus corporations which comprise the balance. Having an online business which could function during the lockdowns was a competitive advantage which must be leveraged to not only drive sales but customer engagement and goodwill. For those brands re-opening their physical space, a concerted effort must be undertaken to drive traffic back to brick and mortar provided that all safety concerns have been addressed. A laser focus on expense mitigation must also be fostered to balance the shortfall of revenue. Today, it is critical for fashion brands to deliver the message of HOPE: Health, Optimism, Positivity and Empathy to their customers.
Dr. Constantinos Tsikkos, fashion analyst/consultant, FashionAnthropologist.com
1 Constantinos Tsikkos: The concept of packing and storing current stock to sell it next year is disruptive if not revolutionary. It implies that fashion does not need a seasonal update or that fashion creations can have a longer lifespan. It allows an opportunity to rethink not only fast-fashion but also instant gratification some fashion brands have been promoting. If we accept that this is possible, then inevitably we will need to rethink fashion show calendars, trade shows, and even retail deliveries. Why for example should one keep stock and present it next year, when this same stock can stay full price until September, in some cases until October, when colder weather actually kicks in, and when life hopefully goes back to some sort of pre-corona “normality”. Does it really make sense discounting summer product in June? “Classic” non-trend driven product can remain part of stock to re-introduce next year. In addition, accessories and footwear are categories that are currently experiencing a bigger down-turn and might have better luck next year. However, tops, loungewear, and sportswear can still be promoted and sell right now.
2 Constantinos Tsikkos: As mentioned above, I believe this experience is an opportunity to revolutionise the redundant fashion calendar. New ideas are needed to combat the Covid-19 disruption but most importantly to address the changing consumer needs. Show and marketing budgets (fashion shows, trade shows, advertising) will reduce and brands will need to find new ways to stay relevant. For B2C, Social Media communication will increase, and digital presentations continue. For B2B, trade shows will try digital formats, fashion-shows turn back into presentation appointments, a format reminiscent by fashion buyers. Product will have to me more considerate and the buying process less rushed and more thought-through. The virus lock-down has shown us that brands and retailers who are exposed to longer production lead-times and wholesale models took a bigger hit. Their stock was ready in advance and had to be delivered to full stockrooms. Whereas, retailers with 6-8 weeks production lead-times, managed to cancel stock due for delivery in April, May and June. Going forward, a closer-to-season design and speed-to-market production is optimal. It allows quick reaction to consumer needs and allows marketing to remain relevant to current affairs. Fashion calendar should follow the same closer-to-season calendar.
Daria Yadernaya, curator of the joint MBA programs at MGIMO and British High School of Design in Moscow
1 Daria Yadernava: I would recommend trying to maximize the realization of more trendy positions in the current season. Since we have a large country (Russia) with different climatic and temperature zones, and for some, spring collections are still relevant, especially if you offer a sufficient discount so that if you don’t earn it, at least get it out of these products liquidity. The basic assortment may well be moved both in the AW 20/21 season and the next SS 21, the main thing is that the depth and width of the assortment are preserved. Summer products are most likely to be sold in sufficient quantities the of customers` desire to go out to relax in the summer for at least a short period of time and even with a limited budget is likely to continue.
2 Daria Yadernava: Firstly, we will definitely see an active transition of some exhibitions and showrooms online, this is already happening with such large Paris exhibitions as Tranoi and Who’s Next. If before the main emphasis was on physical events in Paris, now it is shifting to the online side to select and order collections. The offline format will probably remain but in a limited format of fewer days; more networking and educational content including in blended format. Exhibitions and showrooms will become a place for negotiations and communication as well as initial acquaintance with brands and commercial transactions are likely to go online. Secondly, impressions will definitely be reduced, pre-collections most likely will be the first to suffer although from a commercial point of view this is not very promising. Perhaps we will also see a decrease in the number of days of impressions and brands represented some of the impressions will probably also go online.
3 Daria Yadernava: First of all it is very important to show empathy to customers and employees. It is not easy for everyone: both financially and emotionally. The support from the company and the feeling “I understand you”, “we are together in this” are priceless for the industry. It is obvious that retail is suffering heavy losses as physical stores are closed which is 90% of sales. Attempts to impose a purchase on a client now will not be completely successful it’s more important to try to understand what he might objectively need — a new home suit, something comfortable and “working” for online conferences, maybe accessories to make your face look brighter on the screen. Or maybe tracksuits to finally go in for sports? Understanding the client and letting him feel that we understand him is now a key factor.
The same thing is with employees. If we begin to oppress them the first to leave are the best who are always hunted and who always have an alternative even in times of crisis. The most important thing now is to maintain a comfortable psychological environment, give tools for effective work “at random” and prepare for the new season which will inevitably come after the pandemic.
Zemira XU, Managing Director, TUBE SHOWROOM
- Zemira Xu: Regarding the SS20 collections, since China started lockdown very early this year, which was the very beginning of spring season, cold weather clothing sales, such as knit, jacket, etc., slowed drastically for most stores. And from their feedback, most of them will keep this until AW20.
- Zemira Xu: It’s a bit difficult to forecast, and depends on whether everything can turn over better in the coming months. But we can see from the China market that, after the crisis, brands are starting to explore the different formats of fashion events, like an online new collection launch, a livestream show, etc. I think if the situation is under control, brands will start to plan launch events in October for SS21.
- Zemira Xu: We have a diversified service range for our brands, including PR, content marketing, digital and wholesale, etc. With the challenging situation, we need to have a better PR and digital marketing strategy, in particular, to help our brands have a good business turnout. Meanwhile, we are planning to help the brands start strategy and product planning for next season to improve their financial situation.
MeiMei Ding, CEO, DFO International
1 MeiMei Ding: In our current experience, we are helping brands liquidate their SS20 as quickly as we could. With our brands, stocking them until SS21 is not a suitable solution, unless they offer mostly signature and carryover styles, because SS20 collations have been published and buyers and consumers would recognise them as such. If we waited to sell them in SS21, they would be seen as past season inventory.
2 MeiMei Ding: With or without the current outbreak, I share the sentiment with many brands that the traditional fashion calendar does not fully reflect what’s really going on in fashion anymore. Drops, stories, see-now-buy-now fit much more today’s digital media environment as well as consumer behaviour. The largest fashion events such as fashion week events in Milan, Paris, London, and New York will surely stay, but I think the current situation opens up many fresh ways of approaching the market for brands that are not fully pegged on traditional fashion events.
Denis Erkhov and Sasha Krymova, founders, Dear Progress agency
1 Denis Erkhoy and Sasha Krymova: Dear Progress works with young brands and allows you to create a distribution network from 0 stores to fifty in a short time. Therefore, all our brands are relatively small and do not have the same flow, which would allow to replace positions or potentially use them in SS21 collections. Due to the specifics of working with young players, two unfavorable scenarios are possible: if buyers see the same things or conceptually similar tricks, then the brand may create an impression of crisis and loss of interest, and therefore potentially reduce the likelihood of an order or its volume. The second scenario is for brands using the Direct-to-consumer model: since the decline in purchasing opportunities around the world is predicted, it is important to maintain loyal customers, and exclude the possibility of interpreting product repetitions as a fraud of the customer. It is important to note that if a brand presents a lookbook or shows, the collection is accessible to a wide range of viewers and remembered by professionals and customers. As a result, it is very easy to inflict reputation damage to the brand and undermine credibility in the market. Accessories and glass brands can use some positions from SS20 that were not released publicly or were in development, but in this case, it is not necessary to observe seasonality and wait for the spring/summer 2021.
2 Denis Erkhoy and Sasha Krymova: In our opinion, the trend towards the unification of male and female shows was formed long before the pandemic. We saw examples of brands that presented both men’s and women’s looks at shows, and buyers of men’s collections come during Women’s Fashion Week and vice versa. The fashion community more and more understands that there is a market oversaturation, chaos and fictitious inflation of the fashion market due to investments from third-party spheres, while purchasing power is falling and even large retailers have quarterly losses. Many people talk about the shiting of purchases online, which is also not a new thing, and we worked with buyers remotely, who placed orders without coming for a fashion week. In this case, it is important to understand how convincing your product is. It is necessary to adequately estimate the specifics of regional markets, such as the USA, Japan, China, to deepen the distribution to represent the brand there, and therefore it is worth getting attached to major events from the calendar. Presumably, this will be relevant in 2021, when there will be a battle for customers after a major cleaning of the brand environment.
3 Denis Erkhoy and Sasha Krymova: Now we try to approach the businesses with which we work on two sides: crisis management and developing a strategy to manage the effects of the pandemic. We work strictly on the business plane and are subject to changes only from retailers and their purchases. In our opinion, the main thing for brands during the pandemic is to build correct and clear communication with customers, be as sincere as possible, and not put profit/earnings as a priority. The information flow is full, and a loyal audience is the most important asset that a brand has. So after the pandemic, lots of work will begin to attract and capture new customers.
Renzo Braglia, CEO, Brama showroom
1 Renzo Braglia: This situation is really hard and uncontrollable on the market. In our product category, denim, the CORE (that counts for around the 40% of our turnover) is timeless and can stay for a quite long time on the point of sales, being not tied to a specific season. As regarding the seasonal SS 20 product, it will be inevitably devalued and there’s not much to do about it. Sales for Q2 of 2020 will cause huge remainders in the retailers, and they will be very hardly resaleable in 2021. I believe it could happen a product shift as regarding the PreFall collections that could move from the traditional sales period June/August to a later period (July/September) joining the Fall collections. Moreover most of brands have cut the production of Fall collections because the order time of fabrics for these was coincident with the beginning of the pandemic.
2 Renzo Braglia: I don’t think that the dates of the fashion calendar can change because they are tied to the production cycle. What will change will be the communication and the sale processes: events, fairs, fashion shows and showrooms sales. They will have huge changes and a more digital approach than physical initiatives. I think all the fashion events for 2020 are compromised unfortunately. Every initiative to try to make them run is a palliative solution.
3 Renzo Braglia: We are a loop in the supply chain. Despite our will to keep the machine alive and working we had to slow down and adapt to the market around us. We have kept the Company always open to mantain the minimum of necessary services and operations. With the retailers closed, we have not been able to give much service to them but we have concentrated our efforts to be close to the brands in terms of planning and management of production for PreFall and Fall.
Angelo Fumarola, Berwich
1 Angelo Fumarola: We as a company also are doing our efforts to meet our clients’ need to reduce SS20 ordrers and relieving their budgets storing part of their orders in our warehouse until next season SS21 with the promise of the clients to pick-them up next year. Of course, the best sellers of this SS20 will be lighter items, having completely lost the Spring season, therefore linen fabrics, shorts for our kind of merchandise. Long cotton and fresh wool trousers will be for sure the ones stored til next SS1.
2 Angelo Fumarola: For sure, the fashion calendar has been changing a lot after this outbreak with events cancellation , with the hope they will be back once the situation will be normal again. We are now reinventing our way to work, we’ll prefer the old stile sales instead of exhibitions, that is one to one meetings with the clients to their shops, as well as video calls and digital contents for those unreachable.
3 Angelo Fumarola: We do want to be our first clients’ supporters in these economic hard times. we’re offering them discounts and payment deferments with the hope to mantain with them a strong and long-term relationship.
Katharina Hovman, Founder, Katharina Hovman
1 Katharina Hoyman: I saw my customers, mostly designer boutiques, during the shutdown who were very creative and busy! They used Instagram, built up small online shops in a super short time, organized bring services, etc. This works, because they have a very good relationship with their costumers (of course not as good as a normal business!).
I think they need new inspiration for next summer!
But as always, they should keep the timeless design! Not in the sale, to keep the value, and bring it back in a fresh context next season!
2 Katharina Hoyman: I could feel already the last seasons in Paris ( March, September) that the big fashion events came down, like Tranoi….or Premium in Berlin.
The buyers prefer to go to independent showrooms, to be more focused and closer to the product. I think men’s and women’s shows could be together like rewiringfashion.org suggest. Need Paris really 3 dates in the future (men’s, pre- and fashion week)? For the international market, Paris, Milan will be still the key markets. (But what’s happening with all the smaller events in other countries (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, …). If buy local, will be more the value for the future? Maybe the change will take a bit of time, because we all have to learn to think differently and this will be a process!
Over the years we had the same schedule, designers, suppliers, and retailers.
3 Katharina Hoyman: My team had contact with every customer by phone or e-mail. The customer where so thankful and deeply impressed with my accommodation.
We have to stay together, we are all a part of it!
Håkan Ström, CEO, Mini Rodini
1 Hâkan Ström: Corona has hit us all hard. We really feel it, especially in our own retail, while our e-commerce actually has a fantastic development. We are in dialogue with our wholesale accounts around the globe, most of them have been hit by the pandemic just like retail overall. However, there seems to be a difference between men’s and women’s fashion and children’s clothing, which is our core business. If you as a company are in wholesale, it is difficult to freeze a collection for next year as you are not in control of your wholesale accounts business. Each individual retailer has their own business to take care of and the biggest part of our SS20 main collection was sold prior to the Corona pandemic hit most of the markets in which we are operating. Mini Rodini as a brand is long-term and puts sustainability in the first room, so we work continuously to ensure that our clothes have a long lifetime. That´s been a part of our DNA since the very beginning.
2 Hâkan Ström: I both believe and hope for a change. We ourselves will relinquish trade fairs now and in the future. We have decided not to go back to traditional sales like before. We also do not think that all customers will want it. During this period, it has worked well to work more digitally, no trips etc. We will continue to do so in the greatest extent possible, which is also in line with our overall sustainability focus. In the long term, it will also be possible to generate savings that can be invested in developing even more sustainable materials and working methods. How this may affect seasons is still too early to say. A dream would be if the seasons could be evened out more and be more fluid with less discounts and campaigns like Black Friday etc. We all need to value each garment more. If we are to produce sustainably, there is less room for the eternal campaign. Of course, our highest wish for all categories is that consumers, wholesale accounts and brands prioritize sustainable consumption and responsibility. This is the most important issue in the entire industry.
3 Hâkan Ström: The pandemic has put pressure on us as a company, management and the individual employee. It has developed into a form of stress test where we get to choose to focus on what is really important. Apart from the natural measures such as following the health authority’s recommendations, curbing costs, prioritizing projects, maximizing the support packages issued by the government, renegotiating rental terms and other major supplier agreements, reducing risks; for example, we have reduced the production of garments for autumn winter season. We have also chosen to invest even more in our own e-commerce business and have increased the activity level, which does not only mean price activities. We have also increased our investments in digital marketing. The measures taken have all together had a very good effect. Dialogue with our wholesale accounts is important. Here one must try to be responsive. Leadership is being tested as most employees work from home. We have therefore chosen to work with more short-term goals. Each manager must be really close to his or her team with follow-ups and on a weekly basis. As CEO, I have written weekly e-mail’s to all employees with an update on the current situation, about the challenges we are facing but perhaps mainly about good initiatives and positive things happening in the company. In moments like these, it is really required that everyone in the team is helping out and being engaged. Overall, we have all made some really important key learnings that will help us in the future too.
Daniel Grieder, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PvH Europe
1 Daniel Grieder: We are looking to increase product shelf life in-store, by selling Fall collections into November and strategically rationalizing drops and styles. Our highest priority is ensuring our upcoming seasons are fully optimized, without compromising quality or options for consumers.
2 Daniel Grieder: Our “See Now, Buy Now” experiential events, which premiered both men and women’s collections together, already pushed the boundaries of expectations. Today’s unprecedented situation has forced us to stop, reflect and think critically about which other parts of the old way of operating are worth returning to. It’s an opportunity to become even more consumer-centric in our approach. In our new normal, fashion events and experiences will transform into innovative digital formats. Without the constraints of physical production, we can push the democratization of fashion even further, immersing the consumer into our brand world more than ever before.
3 Daniel Grieder: Our consumers have never spent so much time online, so we’ve refocused our resources towards our online platforms, from own e-commerce site to third-party players. It’s about meeting the consumer where they are. We have continued to uphold our ‘Product is King’ philosophy to deliver premium quality products at the right price-to-value ratio. Our brand is known for our premium smart/casual looks – a style which is finding all new relevance in today’s working from home lifestyle. As stores gradually re-open around the world, we are balancing strict Health & Safety measures while creating the best possible in-store brand experience.
Marco Lanowy, Managing Director, Alberto
1 Marco Lanowy: Articles: Masks are the new sneaker. And hybrid sport pants – We will focus on the Alberto Hybrid Sport product range, made of 2 technical materials: for sailing, golf, hiking, camping, climbing and of course biking.
I believe in supporting the retailer and definitely not discounting the merchandise. We have a 1 1/2 year lead at Alberto and so we have frozen our bestsellers – these items will then be added to the order at 20%. Therefore we don’t have to go into the production process and the buyer already has a good pre-order for next season. It’s all about the longevity of the product and it’s basically a continuation of our bestselling management. 50% of our business is handled via warehouse sales anyway, so we can help the retailer in this situation in an optimal way.
2) Marco Lanowy: I believe that there will be fewer shows and direct communication will become more important. Of course there will also be digital solutions, but these will only be supplementary and will not replace personal contact. We will continue to focus a lot on showrooms and we are lucky that we have established good relationships with our agents and they have developed their markets so well.
3) Marco Lanowy: It is to our advantage that we are a specialist. As such you can work out differently and offer special products that the customer really wants. Our product is durable, with a fair price point and well positioned. When we reopened our store, it was soon clear that the clientele that had normally planned a trip to New York was now focusing on cycling, golf, hiking and going to the beer garden. They need clothes for this and the cost of 6 pairs of new trousers is still much less than the flight to New York.
Thomas Bungardt, CEO, Lieblingsstück
1 Thomas Bungardt: Against the background of a fashionable outfit provider, the storage of entire product groups is certainly not recommendable, since the following year they no longer correspond to the trend and could lead to poor sales.
In the basic area, that’s probably something else, here you could store certain product groups such as T-shirts, tops, blouses, knits, etc., as long as there is capacity for them and they don’t have to be created cost-effectively.Since we have been preparing for the “Ready to Wear” idea for the sake of our end users for some time, the summer does not start until April and lasts until September.We at LIEBLINGSSTÜCK firmly believe that our customers are now extremely looking forward to being able to go out again, to enjoy the summer, to spend their vacation in their home country or surroundings, and thus to offer support to our dealers in their own country. Since the holiday experience and distant trips are likely to be canceled this year, the shopping experience in your own country will hopefully be all the more enjoyable.Of course, we also tried to react in time and extremely punished the summer deliveries, so that our trading partners do not suffocate from the pressure of goods. However, as already mentioned, we do not consider that summer to be completely canceled to promote sales.
2 Thomas Bungardt: We at LIEBLINGSSTÜCK believe in a promising time after COVID – 19. We do not believe that old proven successfully revised structures are now experiencing a revival. However, we are convinced that we have to face up to the challenges of 2020, such as rethinking order and delivery dates, collection sizes, volume of goods, permanent availability, etc. Together with our trading partners we want to arouse a new kind of desire. Maybe sell-out notifications will create desires instead of permanent availability due to high stock levels!
We love this industry and we believe in qualified retail. This retail has always existed and will always exist. If we act as a good partner, we will again exploit all the opportunities that this great industry has to offer.
3 Thomas Bungardt: We are a medium-sized, family-run company with almost 100 employees – created by visions, passion and a lot of hard work. At the beginning of the crisis, we immediately reacted in partnership to relieve our trading partners of the upcoming goods pressure. The upcoming deliveries were postponed, streamlined or even canceled in the interests of our partners and at our expense. We fought for many weeks to maintain the brand because there were no suitable financial solutions for small and medium-sized businesses for a long time. Politically yes, the practices and approaches of banks, however, have completely separate laws. LIEBLINGSSTÜCK is not a large corporation, not a large donor – we have developed everything ourselves. We have neither high storage capacities nor large outlets in which we can sell enormous returns. We are an emotional label and not a mass product and we continue to rely on it: quality, emotionality, humanity and sustainability combined with an even closer feeling of home like MADE IN EUROPE. This situation is a great opportunity that we would like to use to bring the actual idea of our textile world back into balance.
Franco Catania, CEO, Giada s.p.a
1) Franco Catania: It is now established that the fashion sector is among those most damaged by the ongoing pandemic. In February, we had delivered a good part of the SS20 collection, which following the total blockage of activities, remained in the warehouses of our customers, who are reopening their stores only these days, when most of the season has been compromised. While confident that, between the application of hygiene rules and common sense, as well as the desire to return to normal normality, the market will be able to start again, if we are aware that, inevitably, we will face possible repercussions; based on these considerations, in consultation with our partners, we are evaluating all the options, including the possibility of re-proposing part of the SS20 collection in the SS21, also from an eco-sustainable point of view. At the same time, our company is already working on the new collection and it is creating – in addition to the current spring / summer collection – capsules based on what will be the trends and above all our best sellers, therefore our iconic garments which are represented by the five pockets in comfortable and light fabrics and jogging trousers.2) Franco Catania: The pandemic is calling into question what has so far been thought to be the most appropriate solution for the sector. The fashion calendar will certainly undergo a slowdown in rhythms and also a slight delay, so as to bring the sales of the collections back to their natural seasonality. It is probable that the trend of all brands will be to manage events for men / women on a single date, which Giada already implemented, but, even, we believe that we will orient ourselves in reducing the number of exits by avoiding the presentations of the pre- collections. As some great names of Italian fashion have already thought, bringing the most important fashion shows to Italy will be a common trend, both to contain costs and to reduce the environmental impact as well as because our cities already offer an artistic and unique naturalistic.
3) Franco Catania:
Although in different ways, anyone of us has changed their lifestyle. Our company, which is very attentive to the needs of its employees, has immediately implemented everything necessary for their protection, both through the application of a clear and rigorous protocol containing a whole series of sanitary hygiene rules, both above all – and this is what makes the difference and which has always distinguished Giada – through the direct and, we can also say familiar, interpersonal relationship between all workers, as well as between them and managers, who care about the well-being of all. The same attention was paid to our customers, whom we managed with the usual attention and responding to their needs, understanding the problems dictated by this moment of extreme difficulty.
Suzanne Lerner, President, Michael Stars
1 Suzanne Lerner: We have been working on a strategy to reflect the new reality of our world and business. While we follow trends, our brand focuses on modern contemporary pieces, which allows us the ability to keep essential styles and sell them next spring. We had an early transition group of acid-washed cotton voile and we moved the entire group to Spring 21. We are currently selling lots of masks, tie dye t-shirts and sweats, gauze and linen as wear-now products.
2 Suzanne Lerner: We are hoping the fashion calendar will reflect more of the consumer’s needs as to when they want to buy product. For example, we should be selling Fall 21 during Fall 20 and have goods on the floor when people want them. It’s tough to ship fall in mid-July as more and more customers are savvy and wait until it goes on sale or for when they need it. I do think fashion trade shows will change and be on much smaller scales, so we plan on using our showrooms more and work by appt.
3 Suzanne Lerner: We immediately got on board with the mayor of Los Angeles’ #LAProtects initiative a few months ago. We started using our sample sewers’ time to devote to making non-medical masks for healthcare facilities. It has created a lot of brand buzz which in turn fueled a surge that tripled our ECOM business. People were rediscovering us every day.
The PPE initiative also allowed us to offset some of the loss we saw due to our specialty store business closures. These stores are the backbone of our company and to help propel them forward we have created new financial incentives for them.
Jason Denham, Founder and CEO, Denham
1 Jason Denham: The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us and your question is very relevant for many reasons. These being; cashflow, discounting, customer support and waste – (sustainability). We have taken all these points in to consideration and we decided to slide our seasons and sell the goods until the year end by creating a very small capsule for winter instead of building a full collection. Our business model runs on the four seasons spring, summer, fall and winter with in-between pop collections. Spring sell thru has been incredibly challenging, we suspended 60 stores in Holland, Germany, Japan and China however we are now re-opened and see positive traction in our stores. We delayed summer and fall to compensate for sell thru periods. We don’t have any plans to hold goods for 1 year.
2 Jason Denham: We don’t believe in the message ‘go back to normal’, we think the world has changed forever. I’m an eternal optimist but also a realist. I do think that a lot of positives will come out of this pandemic experience. ‘Yes’ the fashion calendars will change, ‘yes’ the shows will change but in the end we are all responsible as business leaders and consumers to make this happen.
3 Jason Denham: When the virus started in China in early January we made short and mid term plans (long term is not realistic in these times) how to manage the situation. Then the spread became a pandemic and this affected our Japanese and European business so we ripped up the plans 3 times are rewrote the strategy. The first and foremost responsibility has always been our employees and our customers. We closed our global offices and stores and quickly adapted to Microsoft teams, Zoom, Wechat, etc etc. in order to keep our business moving. We retain our customers with positive social feeds and ‘do the right thing’ mentality. Our financial health has been very challenging however we have always supported our network and they support us. We have a very close group of wholesale customers & vendors and we work and support each other to keep the business moving.
José Pinto, CEO, Lemon Jelly
1 José Pinto: I believe that there is not a direct answer for this, every brand, every market, every retailer has its own context with different levels of impact from the pandemic, so this must be analysed case by case. One thing is certain, the pandemic didn’t reduce production and distribution costs therefore we believe that we should all avoid depreciating the market with big discounts. Accordingly, holding some inventory could be part of the solution, retaining the value of products which can be sold in the next summer season and prioritizing selling the most specific seasonal and trendy products.
2 José Pinto: In the short term I think the number of events will reduce drastically, but in one or two years we’ll all be back to “normal”. The industry evolved this way for a reason where specific segments, with relevant dimension, required specific events to create momentum and to amplify their message. Maybe in a given moment we reached an excess of shows and events, and some might never return, but the ones that do return will probably suffer significant changes with the introduction of new digital tools, for example, expanding the physical borders of the events.
3 José Pinto: I think that probably the most positive thing this pandemic brought us all was the clear message that we do not exist alone, we are all interdependent, and this impacted us in two very important ways. The first was the realization that to overcome this period we would need to support and be supported by our stakeholders, both up and downstream, and this made us closer than ever to our suppliers and customers, in the best way possible, finding common ground of agreement that can be truly positive to both sides.The second is that we all need to act now in the protection of our planet. If one virus had this level of impact around the entire world imagine what a global environmental crisis could have. This made us more determined than ever to continue our WASTELESS Act initiative, retrieving old shoes to recycle and create new ones, truly closing the loop. This initiative started in AW20 and we are already preparing new developments that can help us scale it around the globe, but now with a more collaborative approach, that we believe will be the way of the future. Stay tuned!
Santi Pons-Quintana Palliser, CEO and Creative Director, Pons Quintana
1 Santi Pons-Quitana Palliser: Everybody in our business knows that we are in front of very strange seasons, not just this SS20, FW21 and SS21 are on the stake. Sales of the next two months will mark the evolution of collections, and agility in developing them it´s basic to adapt the business to this new era. For us, we work mainly with multi-brand stores, the option of storing product it´s not in our hands, we think that we must face this situation offering product, offering new options. Acting as if this year doesn´t exist it´s not an option, and storing can damage more if possible the financial health of a lot of business. This said, we know that SS21 we are obliged for responsibility to our multi-brand costumers to continue the lines of this season in a part of the collection, following patterns and introducing colors and shapes that can complete the offer of the unintended stock that they must have. We also will introduce new trends, because the market cannot stop, and the target of our team now it´s to offer a balance between continuity and creativity.
2 Santi Pons-Quitana Palliser: Events have experienced lots of changes in the last years, and the actual situation just have accelerated changes in this format. We must assume that the financial situation of a lot of business will have a direct impact in the profit of this events and this can make them shrink. We think that the calendar will continue similar in the next 2 seasons for the big shows, but we can expect changes in the whole system in the mid-term.
3 Santi Pons-Quitana Palliser: We are trying to help our multi-brand costumers in payment terms and assuming part of the potential lose in our own margin. We have to have in mind also the providers that are also in the same boat. The cycle comprehends from the leather provider to the last shop of the chain, and we are trying to put all our effort, to make possible that the cycle continues.
Enrico Roselli, CEO, La Martina
1 Enrico Roselli: This postponement of SS20 to SS21 is something we also heard in the market, but we don’t believe it is a right decision: it makes sense from a cost-effective viewpoint, but a brand has to tell a story, convey values and we don’t believe this move will be perceived as authentic and relevant. It’s not just the question that Fashion should be always upfront and innovative, which wouldn’t be the case of re-proposing SS20 next year: in this case lifestyle brands like ours could feel safer to do so; but also lifestyle brands should be consistent and relevant to their target consumers and we feel that the world changed during this pandemic: offering the same wouldn’t reflect this. We think we all went back or reconsidered our families and friends, personal relationships came back as one of the most important strengths and values, and we as a brand have always believed in this. We think that this pandemic should be also used as an opportunity to bring back fashion timing to the real seasons timing and to review also the sales period, to possibly sell less but healthier in terms of timing and margins for all the involved parties.
2 Enrico Roselli: We expect some changes came to stay, not just because of the impact of the lockdown (which hopefully will be overcome soon) but especially in terms of the acceleration given to trends which were already in place: digital communication, video calls, digital meetings, but also place orders online or through video calls: the need to use these tools broke a sort of barrier based on habits and now it is making it easier to really evaluate what works best in each occasion, instead of just doing what we are used to. Moreover, we think that this global crisis has shown that the way forward is collaboration, it’s not just competition and conflict and we hope that this is what also Fashion chambers and related associations will apply in the coming time, to make something bigger together instead of fighting each other and struggling to get enough brands and audience; there might be even a rotation
3 Enrico Roselli: This is the most critical situation, cause we as a brand are just in between of many effects. From a B2B perspective, we are focusing on granting a better and easier experience to our customers, allowing them to receive and see more and better content on our brand, the collection, the capsules composing the collection, the products and the storytelling of each capsule collection. We implemented our B2B platform to allow a more satisfactory and engaging experience, we are promoting more and more the connection to our company platforms, both to share multimedia contents and material (e.g for their own e-commerce platforms) and to allow infinite warehouse solutions between their physical shops and our central warehouse, etc. Digital is of absolute importance to make business more effective, to save money, to create the best offer of products and services without any friction between on and offline, and between brands and retailers, everything focused towards the best experience for the consumer.
Nobuo Arakawa, President & CEO, Laforet Harajuku Co., ltd.
1 Nobuo Arakawa: Laforet Harajuku is a fashion building housing different fashion brands, so there are a variety of opinions and ways of thinking. It is necessary to make a comprehensive assessment of the freshness, sense of season/era, prioritizing the selling of excess products, environmental considerations, etc., but I think that forward-looking genres will be limited. As genres, standard items and iconic products may be easy to carry over. Since restrictions will be placed on leaving the home this summer, I think that items that allow people to spend time at home comfortably are the right thing to sell. In addition, as there will be an increase in online communication, we can expect an increase in demand for items that look attractive on a monitor.
2 Nobuo Arakawa:I think the way that events are thought about and carried out will change toward avoiding measures that bring a lot of people together at the same time. I think we will see an an increase in events created on new standards and values, such as virtual events or those that connect the Internet and the real world.
3 Nobuo Arakawa:I have been thinking that securing the safety of employees and customers and creating an environment where people can shop with peace of mind will be an element in attracting customers and an added value. I also want to continue to communicate the fun and fabulousness of Harajuku fashion to lots of customers.
Simon Sun, Nick Chiu, Kimberley Sun and Ben Chiu, founders, Double Double store
1 Simon Sun, Nick Chiu, Kimberley Sun, and Ben Chiu: We think it could potentially be a great idea. But with brands and retailers relying on cashflow, this would be a hard decision to make. Most of the designers we have spoken with have edited their collections to a more precise and lean offering. I think this is a smart way to proceed with caution. We think the world has embraced the “work from home” mentality. Therefore anything that is suited for the home would be easiest to sell. Products catering to a large gatherings would be worth holding back such as formal wear, suiting etc
2 Simon Sun, Nick Chiu, Kimberley Sun, and Ben Chiu: Most fshion weeks have cancelled due to the outbreak and that’s a good idea. Until the world can overcome this pandemic, it might have to stay cancelled and move into digital. We believe it will go back to normal after this crisis but maybe on a smaller scale. A lot of designers are re-evaluating Fashion Week and how much they want to put into it. If the latter, when and where do you expect the key events to happen?
3 Simon Sun, Nick Chiu, Kimberley Sun, and Ben Chiu: We’ve ad to re-look at our orders for FW20 collections and make adjustments. We’ve edited what we could and have worked out a strategy to keep our running costs low as there will be a decline in the retail landscape. Keeping staff safe and employed was a major factor in our decision making early in this pandemic. We are a small family business and have a very loyal and supportive customer base. Keeping shipping prices competitive has retained our customers that don’t want to shop physically in the sotre. Moving forward, we are looking to expand our selection on lifestyle and homewares.
Jacqui Morton and Julie Leonard, Directors, Bitter Lemon boutiques
1 Jacqui Morton and Julie Leonard: We do not see a problem with selling SS20 collections in 2021. Bitter Lemon would be able to do this as we are about investing in your wardrobe rather than disposable fashion. The majority of our stock is seasonless so we will continue with our marketing strategy throughout the year. We think resortwear could be held back until SS21 because of the travel restrictions imposed. Dresses along with leisurewear will continue to be a big seller as we come out of lockdown and the summer months approach.
2 Jacqui Morton and Julie Leonard: We believe there will be a reduction of many events in the fashion calendar due to social distancing and the lack of investment however with the wonder of technology, they can be presented digitally.
3 Jacqui Morton and Julie Leonard: Our key coping mechanism is that we have appointed Platform Creative to build our profile. We understand our collection has been well received by the fashion media and we will be featuring in magazines over the forthcoming months. We are continuing to market actively through social media platforms during this time with a view to promoting our unique sustainable brands created by local designers and artisans in Greece. We are currently offering free shipping and considering a “giveaway” promotion to incentivise our customers. We also may need to consider reducing our prices further down the line if sales are not increased with our media exposure to enable us to go forward with our business plan. From a financial perspective, it is difficult to forecast. We launched in July last year and our focus has been to invest in and build our profile. We remain positive with Platform Creative on board and believe we have brought some innovative brands to the UK.
Miriam Anlauf, Head of Purchasing, Ladies’ Items, Peek & Cloppenburg KG, Düsseldorf
1 Miriam Anlauf: Depending on the federal states, our department stores were allowed to gradually reopen over the entire area in May. Since last Friday, the last of the P&C stores has been inviting people to shop on the entire sales area. The first experiences show that the frequencies in the shopping streets and the desire to buy are significantly lower. Predicting future shopping habits is of course difficult, but we still expect customers to be cautious. After such a long time at home, people will not immediately start all activities again. However, we are confident that many will look forward to a stroll through the city again and that the fun in fashion will increase again with the loosening of the contact blocks. However, the lockdown does not make up for lost business. In the case of recurring or timeless product groups in particular, we are currently reviewing articles for the entire size range from the current collections and offering them in the coming year.
2 Miriam Anlauf: A sustainable shift in the fashion calendar is conceivable. The equalization of sales cycles would take the pressure off the industry and avoid quick discounts. The goods could stay on the surfaces longer and be sold at a regular price, since the upcoming collection would not be waiting in the starting blocks.
3 Miriam Anlauf: In times of crisis such as the corona pandemic, events often roll over. At such a speed, flexibility and the ability to make quick decisions help. Now it is more important than ever to be able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and to adapt to your needs and fears, for example with regard to hygiene, fashion affinity and fashion level. Here it is helpful to ask yourself what we currently want from the communication of companies and brands.
Ruoyi Jiang, Founder and Director, Chop Suey Club store
1 Ruoyi Jiang: I already think it makes no sense to discount clothes so heavily just because a new season of items are coming out. Are the previous season clothes not good anymore? If Fashion’s tactic is to make people always want the newest thing by depreciating the old, then there’s something wrong with Fashion, don’t you think? Isn’t that why Fashion is the biggest polluter on Earth? I think there’s absolutely no problem selling SS20 in SS21 (or even in SS23) as long as your cash flow permits. I think SS fashion will always be easier to sell than FW fashion, after all, single SKU pricing is way lower and there’s a higher general demand. Before the pandemic hit, we were planning to produce more visuals for the SS20 collection, now we don’t have quite enough material to promote, also we lost the store traffic which accounts to a significant portion of our sales, so I anticipate the SS20 sales will be somewhat bleak. But that’s mostly higher price range clothing items, tees, eyewear, swimwear and other home goods are still gonna be good sales.
2 Ruoyi Jiang: The fashion world will try to go back to normal as soon as they can. The Men’s & Women’s conflation is already in motion, that’s going to be the future. For New York, we anticipate by October events can start happening again with more measurements for safety. Fashion Week in September will be mostly private viewing and online streaming, unless a vaccine or treatment comes out before then. At the moment, we are planning our first event to take place on October 1 and it’s on a boat (lol), so let’s see how things will pan out.
3 Ruoyi Jiang: This pandemic pushed us to focus on improving our existing issues. Like everyone else, we have to cut our costs while trying as hard as you can to make online sales. Improving our e-commerce is the biggest priority now. We were too reliant on the store sales, failed to pay enough attention to e-commerce which is really dumb but that’s what happened. Also since we are not restocking as fast, we have to get creative at selling slower moving stock. It means our online marketing would have to get creative, refocus our customers on existing products instead of new products.
Renee Henze, Global Marketing and Commercial Development Director, DuPont Biomaterials
1 Renee Henze: If it’s possible for brands to sell their collections next season, that’s a strong sustainability move. Often the alternative is incineration or bringing garments to market at a lower value to the end consumer, which promotes a more disposable supply chain.
As brands and designers navigate this decision, it’s a great time to consider innovation in material selection for more enduring styles. Whether collections are introduced in 2020 or 2021, selecting quality, sustainable fabrics means garments will perform better over time. We’re doing our part to support designers and brands through our new Common Thread Fabric Certification Program. Mills with this certificate assure fabrics have the unique molecular footprint of partially plant-based Sorona polymer and meet the quality standards Sorona is known for, including unparalleled softness, performance and durability. As an example, one of our five branded fabric collections is Sorona Agile, a long-lasting stretch fabric option that provides better resistance to heat, UV rays and chlorine. It’s an ideal alternative in any garment where spandex-free stretch is needed. And, unlike spandex, Sorona® is recyclable.
Fabric selection can be a key driver in sustainability both upstream and downstream, all leading to a more circular economy. I believe the future is centered on circularity and brands that can adopt practices will earn and maintain the lasting trust of their customers and the respect of the industry. We’re helping brands tell that story.
3 Renee Henze We know end consumers are scrutinizing their spending now more than ever. When they’re ready to make a purchase, they’re choosing brands that align with their values. To keep the end consumers engaged and devoted to a brand, transparency and trust is essential. We’re helping brands build that bridge. Our new Common Thread Fabric Certification Program is built on a clear chain of custody. By providing this link between mills, designers, and brands, we’re supporting the industry in the current climate and helping it prepare for the future.
Tricia Carey, Director of Global Business Development – Denim, Lenzing
1 Tricia Carey: Many brands and retailers cannot hold inventory due to the liability and still pay their suppliers. There has always been the issue of the financing of fashion which is just amplified now. Seasonless styles like knit tees, underwear, and basic denim can be carried over to the next season or re-merchandised to within collections.
2 Tricia Carey: There will be a reset to the fashion calendar including trade shows and store deliveries as the consumer consumption levels change. Designers and executives are already suggesting this transformation in the „rewriting“ proposal. The digital connections instead of physical events will continue and there will be a consolidation of shows. The pandemic is accelerating the change we needed to have in the industry.
3 Tricia Carey: Lenzing has kept a focus on health and safety while servicing customers. Hygiene Austria, a newly-established company which is a joint venture of Lenzing AG and Palmers Textil AG, produces protective masks. Collaboration is the key mechanism during this pandemic to understand how we all progress forward afterwards.
Ruth Farrell, Global Marketing Director, Textiles, Eastman
1 Ruth Farrell: Even before the pandemic, we saw shoppers becoming more aware and concerned with making more informed, eco-conscious purchasing decisions. The current pandemic showed the slowdown of consumerism and the positive impact that this can have on the environment. Working from home is more commonplace and comfortable clothing has become the norm. More and more brands are adopting strategies to review their sourcing strategies, collections planning to cater those needs too. Storing clothes for 12 months will avoid waste and this can only be a positive.
2 Ruth Farrell: We see industry events, trade shows being postponed from spring, summer to autumn 2020 such as Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Premiere Vision New York and others. It is an opportunity to rethink and innovate in digital space to have even stronger fashion events in future.
3 Ruth Farrell: Naia™ is proud to be part of the Eastman community, which is supporting customers and local communities during the pandemic. Eastman is providing materials to help make critical items needed for medical, health and hygiene products that are in short supply. So far, Eastman has made the following contributions:
- 10,000 face shields for hospitals in Massachusetts, thanks to a collaboration with SMC Ltd.;
- Donated copolyester resins to PRP Creationas part of an effort by cosmetics companies to produce 475,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for health organizations in France;
- Distributed window film to Harlow College to produce 300 additional face shields for hospital workersin the United Kingdom;
- Collaborated with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and universitiesto help produce 10,000 face shields;
- Donated copolyesters to companies in Brazilto manufacture 20,000 face shields for hospitals; and,
- Donated critical PPE including 180 N95 masks and 4,400 nitrile gloves to first responders in Massachusetts.
We continue to support our customers on their sustainability objectives and we have programs ongoing with our partners on new sustainable fabric collections. We are also using this time to help continue our awareness and education program with our mill partners on the importance of sustainability.
Boris Provost, President, Tranoi
1 Boris Provost: For sure, the global sales of SS20 will be down and many retailers and brands will have products in stock at the end of the SS sales period.
Regarding the collections of SS21, from what we know from our exhibitors, they will make a mix between pieces from SS20, refresh with new items… The SS21 collections would be smaller with a mix of basic/neutral items and very creative products…they will link to the desire also of the consumers.
2 Boris Provost: For September Paris FW, if we are able to make it happen in real (fingers crossed), the trade shows will present men and women collections. The sales period will be concentrated in SEPT & OCT. We are still hoping to organize our next event from 2d to 5th of October. But from June, we will launch a digital platform that allows designers to present their collections, organize meetings and presentations of collections. We have no 100% guarantee to set up an event for next semester, that’s why digital services are more important.
3 Boris Provost: We did several surveys, webinars, InstaLive… to support the brands, to well understand their needs, and to adapt our offer of services. We learned that we could be efficient, creative, and agile at distance so find solutions and recreate our concept. Even if we are physically far from our clients, we have never been so close to the concerns and worries.
Chen Dapeng, President, China National Garment Association and President, CHIC
1 Chen Dapeng: Warehousing for SS21 is only possible to a limited extent because firstly there are storage costs and secondly the warehousing is a loss of liquidity. Basics can easily be stored for SS21 and certainly also classic high-quality fashion. Reductions cannot be avoided because liquidity comes before profitability. However, there is an agreement in the industry that large discount campaigns should not take place. Solidarity is required.
2 Chen Dapeng: In fact, the season shift now envisaged by at least four weeks could also apply to the future. The speed of fashion will no longer be the future. The trade fairs can make corresponding contributions by setting the order dates later. If the fabric fair in Italy takes place in September instead of June, this will have consequences for the overall rhythm. The previous early rhythm is counterproductive for sales, because who wants to buy winter coats in June / July and linen clothing in December … With the dates in March and September, CHIC is already in time with a possible seasonal rhythm of the European ones postponed by one month fashion fairs and gives participants the opportunity to serve the Chinese market fairly during the sales times. CHIC encompasses all fashion segments, a concept that is successful for the Chinese market.
3 Chen Dapeng: After the outbreak of the Coronavirus, we are considering two situations of CHIC: postponement or cancellation and we made different plans for these two possibilities. When we saw the complexity of the epidemic at the end of February, we began to seriously consider what we should do for exhibitors and buyers if the exhibition was canceled. Although the number of customers in most offline stores was greatly reduced at the time, the epidemic always ended, and many people will resume offline shopping. Even if the exhibition cannot be held, we must establish a new communication and trading platform for brands and buyers. We discussed many alternatives. In March, we decided to use Tencent Meeting and Ding Talk to establish a communication and trading platform for exhibitors and buyers, CHIC ONLINE, and hold online match-making and seminars. At the same time, we continue to hold online match-making on CHIC APP. All these activities are free. The fair took place from April 22 to 24 and run successfully. But digital activities can only be a good supplement to a physical meeting, not a substitute. We think online will not replace offline, just like everyone was talking about whether e-commerce will replace physical business ten years ago. The internet will further facilitate offline exhibitions in the future, with more efficiency and lower costs, but it will never replace barrier-free communication and exchange between people at offline exhibitions.
Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner, Premium Exhibitions
1 Anita Tillmann: For some brands, there are certainly various options for redistributing collection parts. Others, on the other hand, may find it difficult. This mainly depends on the trend level of the collections, the positioning and the product group. So-called classics or basics of a collection are usually season-independent anyway and small, unknown brands are much more flexible than well-known and globally distributed brands. There is no solution for all market participants.
2 Anita Tillmann: The worst thing that can happen to us is to get out of this crisis and to learn nothing from it and not to have taken advantage of the opportunities to improve. Based on many conversations with our customers and the international network, I am currently assuming and I hope that you will be able to focus more, at all levels. The topic of merging women’s and men’s shows also affects trade fairs. As a PREMIUM GROUP, we have a clear international advantage here. We started back in 2003 with the aim of redefining classic trade fairs and transforming them. This also included curating women’s and men’s brands with the associated segments and presenting the industry with a new, unique concept. I am convinced that this is an essential component of our success. I am also very grateful for our partners – that they treated us with openness and gave us the chance to implement and establish our concepts.3 Anita Tillmann: On the subject of digital events, we are currently working on bringing together the best of the digital and the physical world. So not to strive for an either-or solution, but to be able to present our customers with both-and-offers. We are positioning ourselves to something completely new, the ‘Blended Fashion Event’. What does that mean? We combine the strengths and advantages of our ‘live events’, PREMIUM and SEEK, with the possibilities of the ‘virtual events’, the digital marketplace. Ideally, this means digital transformation and networking for all brands and retailers. Information, inspiration and trade can be accessed from anywhere at any time, the worlds merge. In our business, you have to be flexible, need-based, efficient and sustainable. This requires new approaches and solutions, which we will present for the first time in July with our partner JOOR.
Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt
1 Olaf Schmidt: First of all, unfortunately, you have to state that the current season is a bit of a lost season. In this respect, the proposal to push the SS20 collection into the next year is quite innovative. But you only push the real problem in front of you. The current situation shows us drastically that there is far too many goods in circulation. We have to start now for the future. If you think in product categories, it will, unfortunately, be difficult for the occasion wear. Whereas athleisure wear and casual wear, in general, will still work. I am also convinced that sustainable fashion continues to set the agenda in all possible facets.
2 Olaf Schmidt: I think the fashion calendar will be more business-oriented. On the one hand, this leads to a strengthening of the large fashion events, i.e. less regionality, and on the other hand, the focus is also on the large markets. And then the German market, and with it the Fashion Week, plays an important role. But of course, the dates are now confused and customers also question the authorization of the previous dates. We will respond if necessary, but we will always coordinate with the other players.3 Olaf Schmidt: For us as Messe Frankfurt, it is an extremely challenging time. We have not been able to hold any notable events since the end of February. In our textile portfolio, this means a cancellation or postponement of around 20 textile fairs worldwide. It is particularly important to us nowadays to be in close contact with our customers and partners. For this we use in particular our social media channels, through which a lot of dialogue exchange takes place, as well as our newsletter. We have also participated in some webinars in the past few weeks. And reporting in the trade press about short interviews and statements is also extremely important. We are planning a virtual presence for Neonyt in the summer, although we still have to define the exact general data here. An important learning in recent times: Even today, a physical trade fair cannot simply be replaced by a digital event, quite the opposite. I am convinced that the anticipation for the events after the crisis will be greater than ever.
Siro Badon, President, theMICAM
1 Siro Badon: The pandemic is constantly evolving and it isn’t easy to make predictions like that because you risk being proven wrong. Naturally, every firm will evaluate and choose the financial measures it considers best suited to tackling the crisis. It might prove advantageous for our sector to follow the example of the automotive industry, and revisit their 2020 models for next year’s collection. The ideal would be for our footwear manufacturers to make the 2021 model year, as they are doing in the auto industry i.e. to revisit some of their 2020 models to reflect 2021 fashion trends. Clearly, there will be few radical changes, although the lines should keep evolving.
2 Siro Badon: Our sector differs slightly from the fashion world. In fact, on our catwalks we tend to show the overall trends for the season, rather than focusing on individual brands. One thing is certain. Footwear companies are keen to get restarted, and they see the big trade-fairs as key to relaunching their business. Amongst these events, Micam represents a unique business opportunity. Not surprisingly, a GRS survey on the needs of the industry at this difficult time, commissioned by the International Footwear Fair, showed that a large number of companies (75% of those surveyed) consider Micam to be an unmissable event. A result backed up by the numerous companies that chose to keep the same size stand as they had in previous editions (a preference expressed by over 75% of those interviewed).
3 Siro Badon: During the pandemic our businesses were in total lockdown since, unlike the textile industry, no-one was able to reconvert any of their production lines. During this phase, we focused heavily on digitalization and the web, seeing as the restrictions imposed by the various government decrees meant that all shoe and clothes shops were temporarily closed. In collaboration with Brandsdistribution, we launched BDroppy: a digital platform that allows our Made-in-Italy brands to sell their products directly all over the world and maximise their advertising and marketing investments. A technological resource that can help dispose of the excess stock that has accumulated particularly in this period.
Tom Nastos, Chief Commercial Officer, Informa Markets
1 Tom Nastos: Basic & Replenishment items can be held but Fashion items will need to be updated for 2021. Social, wellness and environmental themes will drive consumer spending the balance of the year & 2021.
2 Tom Nastos: Fashion events around the world will have to convene the market and drive Commerce & Brand amplification. The timing of the events will reflect the changes in consumer spending and the ability of our industry to a See Now, Buy Now calendar.
3 Tom Nastos: Communicating, sharing information, and education through webinars are key to coping with the current situation.
Agostino Poletto, General Manager, Pitti Immagine
1 Agostino Poletto: Many countries have already exited or are coming out of the most acute phase of the pandemic and, in their department stores and shops, the 2020 summer collections are or will soon be available for purchase, even if a little later than usual. With some delay still, companies are starting to present to their customers the new collections that they have set up in recent months. It would be a shame if they didn’t. It would also be a problem of no small importance if they had to differentiate the stylistic research results and the efforts they made according to the uneven evolution of the health situation of their different international markets. The new collections will certainly be smaller, but they will still be there. The problem will be less accentuated for the basics, those with lower fashion content.
2 Agostino Poletto: Before the crisis, there was already widespread dissatisfaction with the excessive advance of the collection dates and the somewhat anarchic multiplication of events due to the commercial strategies of the strongest brands. The drop in travel from one continent to another in the coming months will undoubtedly contribute to reducing this trend. And the general decline in tourism towards big international cities-fashion destinations and the related fashion purchases that have been one of the original drivers of the acceleration of collections and their seasonal offset will also be of influence. The co-ed shows – chosen but even abandoned by some brands – may represent a temporary response, dictated by practical needs; however, the two sectors still have different characteristics and dynamics. There will obviously be many more digital presentations and events, and the new normal will increasingly and in progressively more sophisticated ways include these technologies. However, these presentations will have to be able to respond to the prevalence of a more reflective mood, more attentive to long-lasting quality and the ethical and environmental sustainability of fashion consumption.
3 Agostino Poletto: Already before the health crisis, we were working on a new digital platform for our trade shows. We were the first ones, about ten years ago already, to believe in the integration between the physical and virtual dimensions, in the world of trade shows too. Today, we are launching Pitti Connect, a platform that will help us manage a difficult moment and that will provide in new and advantageous ways a fundamental service for all our customers, those who will be present in Florence next September and those who will not be there but will be able to do business, make contacts, and keep up to date regardless, starting from the end of June already (and until the end of September), when Pitti Connect will be operational. Pitti Connect will extend, simplify and make features more empathic in terms of presentation of the collections, commercial relationships between exhibitors and buyers, and promotion and communication between them and all journalists and professionals. We will also use it to enhance the physical events that we will organize during the September trade show, which we obviously want to keep in a limited number.
The greatest help, pandemic or not, always remains never to fail to select the highest quality. And to apply the same criterion to the things we offer ourselves. Starting with all the services, digital and not only, but that can also make the work of companies more comfortable and profitable before, during, and after the trade show. And that, especially in a situation like the one we are going through, in addition to the objective of maximum safety can also contribute to reducing the trade show participation costs with more convenient set-up formulas, hospitality support through agreements with hotels, and direct promotions for the most important buyers from the most important markets.
Will Broome, Founder and CEO, Ubamarket
Despite the havoc that is being caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I believe that the crisis is bringing into focus a number of pre-existing problems with the way in which we shop. Ever-changing store layouts, outdated queues and checkouts, and the lack of communication between retailers and their customers are just some of the issues that COVID-19 has made very clear. Now, the question facing retailers is not ‘when will things go back to normal’ but rather ‘how can we adapt our offering to make sure we are aligned with the changing trends and new retail landscape?’ The implementation of retail technology holds the key to building the future of retail that supports our new shopping habits whilst also helping retailers to safeguard themselves against future cases of irregular consumer behaviour. After Coronavirus, the world won’t go back to how was – people will be more hygienic and convenience-conscious, and retailers will be looking for ways to adapt to the shift in consumer behaviour and protect themselves against future shortages. Retail tech offers an all-encompassing solution; in Ubamarket’s case in the form of a simple app; which can put consumers in control, doing away with the need for time-consuming queues, unhygienic checkouts, and confusion about where products are and whether they are in stock.
I for one am extremely interested to see how the retail landscape in the UK will emerge from the Coronavirus crisis, but if one thing is certain, it is the capability of retail technology to help us build the future of retail that we would like to see.
Debbie Cartwright, Managing Director, IPR London
1 Debbie Cartwright: It is a nice idea in theory, particularly from a sustainable and socially responsible angle. But this would be very hard to execute in real terms with retail stores from across the globe.
Most stores would have paid in advance for collections so it wouldn’t be financially viable to wait 12 months to make back the money. Most fashion brands are currently selling to key global accounts and adapting to different pressures and logistics. I have learnt, some retail stores will immediately need to liquidate the stock to keep the cash flowing where possible. Some are already having to go into markdown and other stores will need to follow to remain competitive. Discounting is also, now so visible with e-commerce platforms, that it is de-valuing fashion brands across the board from designer, high-street to establish and emerging independent brands.
2 Debbie Cartwright: More are more brands are talking about favouring a more sensible calendar that would deliver clothing to stores in the season, when it can be worn and reduce the frequency of discounted sale periods. Fashion brands including some of the bigger luxury conglomerates have lost a lot of money during the lock-down period, That it will reduce their future marketing spends but their campaigns will need to still cut through the noise. So Marketing and PR managers have their work cut out now, on how to appeal and attract customers in creative ways, on a less budget. Also, so many fashion and lifestyle brands are arranging face-to-face appointments over fashion shows and looking at ways to use smart technologies such as Ai and VR, to present collections and activate launches. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more brands were experimenting with digital activations and marketing comms. I believe any elaborate event pencilled in for this year will not happen, as it is not in tune with the current climate and it just won’t feel right. Though this could change if we find a vaccine. One good thing is that brands will have to be more resourceful and sustainable in how they approach events going forward.
3 Debbie Cartwright: During the pandemic, most of our clients have had charitable initiatives that we’ve been able to communicate to the media landscape. We advised our client’s it was more important than ever to be active and engaging with its consumers. Informing them of their charitable endeavours and brand values, rather than trying to sell a dress, to somebody who is having financial anxiety, while sat at home unable to go anywhere to wear that dress…It would just seem a bit crass to be pushing ‘fashion’ unless it was promoting active or loungewear items and wellbeing products. Some of our clients have felt uncertain about their next steps and confirmed that they need to focus on the digital side of the business and divert budgets to influencer marketing and SEO, to promote in-season and high summer collections. The team and I have also been monitoring shopping patterns in countries that were first to go into lockdown, such as China and Italy. Observing the initial spending slump to watching the rise of E-commerce and WeChat sales, in particular with the luxury goods market and use this knowledge to guide our comms. It is the teams and I job to make sure we continue to tell each client’s brand story to their target consumer to continue to stay at the forefront of their minds.
The first edition of the international hybrid fashion project, Global Talents Digital has just closed its doors. Global Talents Digital, the off-season online project by Russian Fashion Council powered by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia was joined by Digital artists and 6 digital models. On June 10 to 11, designers presented their new digital and real collections, demonstrated by virtual and human models.
In VK, Facebook and Instagram alone publications and streams from Global Talents Digital were viewed 2.5 mln times, with most of the views registered in the Russian VK social media. Streamed video presentations were watched throughout the world at 100 Russian and foreign websites, including online venues of popular Paris, Milan, and Berlin based concept stores and showrooms.
Virtual shows utilized interaction functions: thus, during live streams, viewers could use QR codes to explore the looks in more detail in Augmented Reality (AR).
#перезагружаюмоду (in english #rewiringfashion), a collaborative hashtag by TikTok and Global Talents Digital got almost 20 mln views. Most of the Global Talents Digital participants follow the sustainable fashion principles, and the challenge in TikTok was to bring the audience’s attention toward the overconsumption issue and the changes taking place in fashion, including the technology-based ones.
“One of the key advantages of online events is the opportunity to give chance to the emerging designers from across the globe to come out of the major brands’ shadow, present themselves both locally and globally. Global Talents Digital was streamed in 20 countries, and caught buzz everywhere. We’ve flared things up with Augmented Reality, digital clothing, and virtual models, and all of that made the event particularly attractive for the online audience,” said Alexander Shumsky, President of Russian Fashion Council and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia.
“Russian Fashion Council is already accepting entries from designers for the next Global Talents Digital, which is to take place on August-September and be totally dedicated to sustainable fashion against the rapidly transforming industry background. This will be a story about conscious consumption, advanced materials, recycling, and slow fashion. All of those rocketed back to the top of the trends because of the pandemics,” he added.
Tommy Hilfiger has announced that Italian tailoring house, Lardini, will license its TOMMY HILFIGER TAILORED trademark. Beginning with the Spring 2021 seasonal collection, Lardini will design, produce and distribute TOMMY HILFIGER TAILORED suits, jackets, suit separates and classic pants across the EMEA and APAC regions. This strategic decision is part of Tommy Hilfiger’s ambition to drive further sales of the TOMMY HILFIGER brand and increase the global reach of its range of products.
“Globally celebrated for their excellence in tailoring and craftmanship, we are confident that Lardini will continue to build on the innovative and sophisticated spirit at the heart of our tailored collections,” said Martijn Hagman, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe. “We believe that leveraging Lardini’s market expertise will enable us to further expand our tailored product categories in Europe and Asia.”
“We are proud to start this collaboration for TOMMY HILFIGER, one of the most iconic American brands. We are sure that this partnership will enable us to achieve great results thanks to the synergy between the Lardini heritage and know-how, and Tommy Hilfiger’s vision for continued expansion of their tailored business segment,” said Andrea Lardini, CEO Lardini S.p.a
VIRTUAL MARKETPLACES: CHINA
Virtual Flash Sale, Shanghai Chic, Rumble in the Jumble Beijing… There’s a new sheriff in retail town and his name is WeChat Virtual.
In the past decade, China has witnessed a transition from the traditional brick-and-mortar and market shopping experience to watching live-streamers take one million RMB in sales in one hour. As Taobao (a platform dealing in everything including clothes), Meituan (food delivery), and their digital peers took over the nation’s online sales infrastructure, Chinese consumer preferences nowadays veer towards having most of their (daily) products delivered.
With this in mind and the onslaught Covid-19, a handful of Shanghai-based brand operators came up with the idea of an online marketplace that would help their fellow designers clear out some stock. Unsurprisingly, their platform of choice was the ever-popular WeChat (微信 in Chinese), a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. In China, most people only communicate through WeChat when messaging, making calls, or organizing groups: when you meet someone, you ask them for their WeChat.
However, the app is proving useful to international companies, too.You do not need to be in China to use WeChat. If you don’t read Chinese, you can get the international version.
Brands can use WeChat to build a community and gain loyal customers by releasing consistent useful or inspiring content via an official brand account or affiliated WeChat groups. Unlike on Taobao, on WeChat brands are able to track touchpoints and other data, and in many cases it’s significantly cheaper.
The WeChat Virtual Experience
Designer, Creative Director and Virtual Market Instigator Miranda Mullett tells WeAr: “In late April, we launched our first digital sample sale on WeChat. Together with 11 other designers, we were able to connect a network of over 700 people across two WeChat groups –– WeChat groups feature a maximum of 500 contacts per group. Each designer was given a one-hour timeslot to briefly introduce themselves and their brand and share their product information.” Interested parties could then proceed by connecting with the designer directly or scan their official account QR code for more. A Virtual Market was born.
Jewelry designer Fernanda Sung was part of this first virtual experience and has since participated in two more such WeChat markets. “All the participating designers made a big effort to advertise [across their networks], and we ended up with a big following,” she says.
To Market, To Market, YOU Go!
Brands and vendors come together to create a group chat, preferably guided by the experienced hand of Mullet and her fellow visionaries. They then move onto inviting friends and customers into the group. Subsequently, everybody promotes the upcoming virtual market via their own WeChat channels to increase traction even further. When the day finally arrives, each participating vendor gets a designated timeslot to sell their products, for example, by sharing up to 12 photos and/ or videos.
Though the markets may officially run from 9AM until 6PM, the brands keep taking requests until midnight. Product photos stay on the group chat, so pretty much everyone in that chat eventually will get to scroll through all brands involved.
What’s the price? Nawt. Nada. Niente. Participating vendors do not need to pay any “entrance” fee, but they are kindly requested to add people to groups, essentially crowdsourcing a sales channel for everybody to share. Thus, the two-day Shanghai Chic Market (May 5-6) which saw a total of 48 vendors and 452 of their “closest contacts” participate in sales.
Past, Present and Future?
The invention of Virtual WeChat Markets has tested to be enormously successful. Brands reach 1000 to 2000 new customers, and customers are introduced to ten or twenty new brands. The discounts on offer – valid on market day only – definitely help drive immediate sales.
As far as the future goes, the WeChat Virtual Market sales are slated for another chapter. Or two. Tapping into different themes, Mullet assures WeAr that the markets will become more differentiated and hone in on one theme at a time in the future, such as “Home”, “Accessories”, “Wellness” or, of course, “Fashion”.
Enter the Devil’s Advocate
Virtual WeChat Markets have been scoring off the charts, arguably because they are novel. Once the number of markets goes up, will they still be able to bring in enough fresh blood to continuously pique people’s interest or will they see their notifications muted altogether? With the brand/vendor waitlist currently at 400, our bets are on the former.
The Supervisory Board of HUGO BOSS AG today appointed Daniel Grieder as future CEO of HUGO BOSS AG for a period of five years starting on June 1, 2021. He will be succeeding Mark Langer, who is leaving the Group on September 30, 2020. In the interim period, from October 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021, CFO Yves Müller will serve as the Managing Board’s spokesman.
Hermann Waldemer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of HUGO BOSS AG commented as follows: “Daniel Grieder was our top choice for the position of CEO at HUGO BOSS. His international expertise, charismatic personality and extensive global experience in brand management, product, distribution, marketing, and digitalization make him the ideal candidate. He possesses all the qualities required to steer HUGO BOSS back to sales and profit growth, and to increase the desirability of our brands for end-consumers.”
Daniel Grieder has been at home in the fashion industry for over 30 years, most of which he spent in various positions within the TOMMY HILFIGER brand. Since 2014 he has been CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Global & PVH Europe, where he made a significant contribution to the company’s positive sales and earnings development. While maintaining a strong focus on product, Daniel Grieder has driven digitalization and other innovative projects; he also put a number of key sustainability initiatives into practice at Tommy Hilfiger.
Matthew Williams, the American designer behind the Alyx label, has been named Givenchy’s new Creative Director. The role becomes effective on June 16th, 2020 and he is expected to present his first designs for Givenchy in October 2020.
In his new role as creative director, Williams will oversee the brand’s womenswear and menswear collections. He will also continue to operate his five-year-old brand Alyx.
Sidney TOLEDANO, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, declares:
“I am very happy to see Matthew M. WILLIAMS join the LVMH Group. Since he took part in the LVMH Prize, we have had the pleasure of watching him develop into the great talent he is today. I believe his singular vision of modernity will be a great opportunity for GIVENCHY to write its new chapter with strength and success.”
Matthew M. WILLIAMS states: “I am extremely honored to join the House of GIVENCHY. The Maison’s unique position and timeless aura make it an undeniable icon and I am looking forward to working together with its ateliers and teams, to move it into a new era, based on modernity and inclusivity. I am grateful to the LVMH group for trusting me with the opportunity to fulfil my lifelong dream. In these unprecedented times for the world, I want to send a message of hope, together with my community and colleagues, and intend to contribute towards positive change.”