The first quarter of the year might be behind us already but ‘unpredictability’ still feels like the word du jour in the fashion industry and beyond. And it’s not without reason. Once the most anticipated months in the fashion calendar, fashion weeks now make headlines with the number of designers who choose not to show in the official schedules, experiment with the presentation format (with varied success) or ditch their participation altogether.
Outside the extravaganza of fashion week, companies are having to rethink their processes, sales and distribution channels and how to use data in a way that grows their business, at a time when consumer loyalty is something of a myth. No one is safe, not even overly hyped streetwear labels like Vetements.
And yet, there’s never been a better time to enter the industry. According to The Business of Fashion and McKinsey’s 2018 report, The State of Fashion, “optimisim” was ranked as one of the top 3 words executives used to describe the state of the industry. Accenture’s Helen Mountney recently echoed this, saying that new companies are now “very well placed [...] because they tend to be digital natives and understand the importance of technology”.
So, while it might be one of the most competitive and challenging industries, there’s a place in fashion and the creative industries for bright young things who are ready to challenge the norms and create their own narrative.
To help address the challenges and opportunities for up and coming brands and creative entrepreneurs, we have teamed up with Lovespace - UK’s largest by-the-box storage company - for an evening of discussion around what it takes to make it in fashion and beyond. The panel, consisting of Steve Folwell (CEO, Lovespace), Frederica Boateng (Educator and founder, Fashion Business Education) and Ivanka Hristova (Creative director, Ivanka Hristova) and moderated by Kristina Dimitrova (Founder, INTERLACED) will discuss a number of high-pressing topics for creative entrepreneurs who are starting out or trying to scale up.
Read below some of the main points we will cover and reserve your place here.
The Amazon effect
Remember when we said no one is safe? That probably doesn’t apply to Amazon. The tech juggernaut has been heavily investing in fashion initiatives over the last couple of years which has got retailers and brands wonder whether they can compete or if they are better off partnering with Bezos’ unstoppable company. While Amazon might struggle to reach Gen Z and the shopping experience on the site still doesn’t satisfy the high fashion crowd, within a few years the retail giant has launched a ‘try-before-you-buy’ service, opened a fashion studio in London, experimented with see-now, buy-now catwalk show and partnered with a number of brands (including Calvin Klein) as an exclusive retail channel. All things traditional fashion brands are still trying to crack.
These initiatives have set a new standard for companies when it comes to efficiency, cost and delivery, which requires a different way of thinking. It’s no wonder that Accenture’s Helen Mountney told us that many retail businesses still haven’t understood what tech developments mean for their business.”Those who are embracing these are typically the pure play, digital retailers, who will call themselves tech companies rather than retail companies.” Our panel will discuss how small creative businesses can address the effects of Amazon in a way that makes them stand out.
Direct to consumer & scaling up
It’s easier than ever before to start a business and sell directly to your customers, bypassing buyers and the media’s approval. Beyond emerging designers, even legacy brands has decided to experiment with this direct to consumer approach, in a bid to control the relationship with the customer and keep them coming back for more. Comes des Garcons and Milly are only a couple of the labels recently announced that they will be going through the D2C route.
But it’s not all safe sailing. Thakoon, for example, went bankrupt in 2016 after switching to a D2C only model. To be successful in this space, companies need to be realistic about their growth and plans about scaling up. As experts in scaling and handling logistics, Lovespace are currently helping many leading creative companies with this very issue.
Delivery and distribution
Mainly due to the power of Amazon, free delivery is now not only a basic standard, but delivery within the same day or a matter of hours is quickly becoming a customer expectation. As a result, fashion brands have had to play catch up to keep up with the increasing consumer demands.
In 2017, luxury ecommerce player Farfetch partnered with Gucci for 90 minutes delivery service in 10 cities, pointing towards the instant experience fashionistas expect today. "This service represents the type of new service level that the luxury fashion industry needs to embrace in order to meet the ever-increasing expectation among luxury customers today," said Marco Bizzari, Gucci president and chief executive, in an official statement. "Time is the new luxury and one that we all want more of," said José Neves, chief executive and founder of Farfetch.
This immediacy is not only expected by luxury shoppers. ASOS, the leading retailer for 20-somethings also launched same day delivery for its London customers. “ASOS has a history of innovation - in our use of technology, our trendsetting fashion, and in the best-in-class delivery and service propositions we offer our customers. We are excited about the introduction of ASOS Instant and will continue to explore new options that add convenience and choice for ASOS shoppers,” said Matt Rogers, Delivery Solutions and Returns Director, ASOS. Our panel will discuss how small businesses can save time and money on fulfilment and how to handle logistics in a way that frees them to focus their efforts on growing the business.
We would love to see you at Kreativ House on 25th April. For your chance to reserve a spot please book via Eventbrite.
This post is created in collaboration with Lovespace
Want to partner with us for an event or invite us to speak? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org