Last week two organisations got together to put forward ideas for serious change in the fashion industry. A group of designers and retailers, fronted by Dries Van Noten, wants the industry to move fashion deliveries so that new collections arrive when they are needed by the consumer – ie. summer clothes arrive in stores in May and June, rather than March and coats don’t start appearing on the high street in June. How completely sensible!
The other group of designers and retailers wants to change, among other things, the timings and emphasis of fashion weeks. The international shows used to be for the benefit of buyers and long-lead press titles. But now buyers go to market weeks before the shows and monthly magazines are a long beat behind the instant reveal of social media and digital platforms. The shows have become consumer marketing tools rather than trade conferences, and yet the product on the catwalk is unavailable to customers for another six months. The model is no longer fit for purpose.
It’s funny to think that an industry that prides itself on its modernity is so out-moded. And that despite the vast number of creative thinkers in its employ, it has taken so long to come up with a new way of presenting and selling fashion. But now serious change is afoot and it’s going to affect every aspect of the industry. What will this mean for your clients? And how are you going to help them fit into the new fashion world?