A couple of weeks ago renowned Trend Forecaster Ms. Li Edelkoort announced the dead of fashion and that she now only would be interested in clothing – even the return of Haute Couture restored into its former glory, not only building branding to sell ready to wear, cosmetics and leather goods.
I have been luck enough to know from the age of ten, that I would be part of this industry and knowing that my goal would be – like my Uncle Jørgen, whom I followed to work in Magasin du Nord the Danish Department Store. I was the youngest sales assistant in the men’s knit wear department that day and the costumers must have been quite surprised with this small boy serving them. From that day it was clear for me that I would end up in Magasin du Nord’s buying department and the day I left was horrible but right.
Now I am so lucky to work with what must be one of the most amazing and skilled buying and merchandising teams. After now nearly four years in e-commerce some questions are starting to appear that might give the same conclusive answer as Ms. Eldelkoort; Fashion will die. Everything is moving so fast and sometimes it can be hard to see the consequence of today in the long run.
Creating more time and convince are some of the many benefits when shopping online, but what will it do to the brands and the way we dress.
I believe that we will see more and more brands new and exiting focusing on fewer categories and product groups and even some on only one. The reason is that most online shoppers look into New Arrivals and their favorite product categories and very few into brands when they shop.
It will at some point also influence the way we dress and what fabrics we wear. Less tailored and more stretchable products will be offered more to the costumers because of the easier fit and therefore less returns.
It is in some way a return to the old-fashioned over the counter service the sales clerk is simple replace by algorithms pushing products to the costumer.
The new product focus brands and the way of shopping online will most likely give offline retail the retur of the product focused departments that you for the moment mainly see ind department stores in menswear and women’s accessories.
I strongly believe that the brands that are good at telling their story will have a place in this new retail world, but they will need a clear strategy for their online presence and work closely with both online and offline partners keeping the brand DNA clear and visible. Offline needs the retail theater that these type of brands offer to give the costumer a reason to spend extra time shopping and online need brands that are highly searched in limited terms like brand names.
I am proud and humble to be part of this learning curve in the history of fashion retail and in am not ready to declare fashion dead. We just have to find new terms for it live by and remember that we have a responsibility to keep the talent and new smaller brands alive to make sure that they will keep on to flourish and inspire the rest of the industry.