Tail Winds to Fashion
Catwalks are the primary input of fashion trends.
We are about to see the end of London’s fashion Week which follows Paris, Milano and New York and convenes, once again the style and fashion constituencies made up of upscale customers; designers both for clothes as well as for interiors; media, celebrities and… ingenious entrepreneurs. The later avail themselves of the opportunity rendered by these gatherings to take pictures of the most applauded apparels, upload these pictures to the social media; have people vote on the ones they find more appealing and send the best voted to sweatshops in Asia.
Soon affordable retailers will be over flown with apparel pieces that capture the spirit of the moment up an until the next show. And while many pundits and opinion makers have recently criticized the frequency and abundance of fashion weeks , on the grounds of market depletion these concerns are not anchored in reality. Fashion shows are to the clothing industry what fine arts are to interior design: the creative spring. Catwalks are the primary input of fashion trends and these are built on the correct assumption that mass usage will render the design valuable at the market place.
Numbers prove this assumption to be right. The annual global fashion industry revenue for 2013 was $1,2 billion while US consumers’ expenditures in fashion were $250 billion. This successful revival after the difficult decades of the end of the seventies and then the eighties is the result of technology penetration of the apparel value chain. To be sure, the auto industry and the fashion industry stand out in the world of manufacturing as early adopters of technology. And while for the auto industry it started about four decades ago, for the fashion industry it is a relatively new development.
About 20 years ago when fashion catalogues were competing for a dwindling customer base, the market leaders decided to switch procuring methods. Instead of buying what apparel makers would bring, catalogue publishers created fashion swat teams to attend the Paris, Milano and New York fashion shows. These teams would come back with ideas as to what the clothing makers would have to manufacture for the catalogues.
The Internet boom. The cost reduction in cameras both for pictures as well as for video and the emergence of the phone handset as the convergence platform for information, entertainment and even education, provoked an epiphany among dress makers: they could bypass catalogues, create and market they own brands placing them directly with distributors at relatively low costs.
And as we all know, the move proved to be game changing. Catalogues are now the preferred shopping mall among seniors while the rest of the population either shops on line or enjoys an entertainment cum shopping experience at the real shopping malls. Given that the rising demographics demands from clothing style, practicality and comfort at low prices, the fashion swat teams need to work hard to constantly bring new ideas to the workshops. This gives tail winds to fashion weeks everywhere in the world.
(Featured Image: Burberry London Fashion Week AW 2016)