Here’s a timely and interesting article that could have been the basis for much of our discussion so far. “Death of Fashion,” Post-modern condition, art in the age of mechanical reproduction, McLuhan, and on and on…
Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton speak with the WSJ about their upcoming exhibit on fashion and technology.
This might be a good time to look at what Erin Gosson has been up to in her analysis of Topshop. Here´s her Web site for the project. There’s a lot of good thinking and overlap with our SWOT analysis unit… Take a look:
Link: The Topshop Project.
There is so much in this article that is relevant to our discussion, that it could be –and probably will be– assigned reading before long. Major points are the references to the H&M and ZARA business-models and the acknowledgement of the speed of the present day Internet-driven market. No “forecasting,” just reflexivity and responsiveness. Not that that is news, but here we begin to see what may be a long-term effect of the technology. Pretty soon we won’t even be saying “fast fashion” I suspect. This will just be what it is. (The way no one talks about the Internet as “new media” any more. Maybe we’ll start talking about “slow fashion” to differentiate.)
I also found the emphasis on the collaborations interesting, especially noting the celebrities and the spectacular nature of some of those those involved.
But please just whistle past this kind of marketing-speak (from NIKE CEO): “One of the things that we recognize, certainly in the women’s business, is that there is no performance without style.” (Yeah, yeah, whatever.)
In WWD, there was an alluring article about how the Neiman Marcus Group is cutting back on its’ physical operations in China because of a broader slowdown in the country for luxury goods. Since the Chinese website has not been substantial with profit from these luxury goods, the Chinese warehouse is being closed down, and the U.S. is picking up sales through the website. I was surprised to see that the Chinese warehouse closed down because of the Neiman business model rather than the Chinese economy. Neiman is trying to demonstrate international growth as its’ owners prepare to take the department store chain public or sell it. Even a store with a wealthy consumer base all over, reaches its’ downfalls before its’ peaks.
” ‘Consumers have become adept at ‘[divorcing] the clothes we buy from the fact that living, breathing people make them,’ meaning the key to change lies in ‘reconnection and recognition that the supply chain is comprised of real people,’ ”
I think this relates both to the fast fashion discussion, as well as trend forecasting. With raised awareness will come a need for new methods. The younger generation is becoming increasingly concerned with these issues, and old means of production might not cut it anymore.
This article comes from Women’s Wear Daily, and is about Off Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom Rack which are the discounted stores of Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Both stores are growing rapidly and opening many new stores, and bringing in more and more revenue. Many people don’t want to pay full price for anything anymore, which is why having discount stores, such as these, become so successful. Nordstrom is launching Rack.com in May, which will allow customers to now shop online, and will bring in even more money. “We will deliver true fashion and real value in an easier-to-shop, treasure-hunt type of environment.” Both stores offer a variety of designer clothes, but they are all mixed together by style, which means you really need to look for something you want.
Richard Baker told WWD that first-quarter trends have been similar to those at the end of the fourth quarter. “Saks Fifth Avenue is off to quite a strong start,” he said. “We’re seeing strong demand for luxury products in the U.S. The better customer is willing to spend for unique and luxury-type items, and that’s helping us drive that business.”
In our zeitgeist map, technology was very important. Technology makes people happy, and if the companies are using technology to get things, such as shipping, faster, then it is going to make the customers really happy. When customers are happy, they will buy more products and keep coming back. “Speed and convenience means delivering merchandise in shorter periods of time. “Now it’s three to five days,” Nordstrom said. “It’s OK today, but a year from now, if you can’t deliver in one or two days…” Nordstrom has earmarked $1 billion for technology upgrades. Nordstrom said 25 percent of online business is done via mobile”.