Men's pre collections: why catwalk fashion is losing its relevanceOPINION

Paris Men's Fashion Week is over, with Kenzo officially closing a month of catwalks and trade shows, presentations and collection previews, that started in London in June then moved to Florence and Milan and ended in the French capital.

The buying season will continue for another fortnight until designers and brands close their books for production, order fabrics and begin their manufacturing processes. But despite the glamour of catwalk collections, mainline fashion is becoming less and less important as retailers shift to early deliveries.

Men's pre collections: why catwalk fashion is losing its relevance

Pre collections were once reserved for womenswear, along with resort and cruise collections. They offered retailers the opportunity to keep their shop floors refreshed with new product before the mainlines dropped. But as retailers began relying more and more on early deliveries and better price points, menswear soon took notice.

Pre collections are nearly 80 percent of what you'll see in store

Pre collections are now the bulk of men's collections too, often being 80 percent of a store's total buy. Mainline collections allow designers to cement a brand's image, tell their story to the press and keep the fashion world intrigued. But catwalk collections are not what sells in store, especially in menswear. They are often uncommercial and expensive and most importantly available too late.

Men's pre collections: why catwalk fashion is losing its relevance

For designers to have successful relationships with stores it is about having their clothes displayed for the longest possible time on the shop floor. In summer, pre collections are delivered as early in the season as November, allowing brands a good seven months to have a full price sell thru before they go on sale. Mainline collections tend to be delivered in February and March, meaning stores have just a few weeks to sell these at full price until the discounting season begins.

A high sell through is the holy grail of retailing. Brands that can sell up to 70 percent of their collections at full price before sale are the most successful. Anything below and retailers may ask for contributions to their mark downs, or return their left over stock altogether. Late deliveries are risky to stores, precisely because there is less time for them to sell them. That is why they prefer to place the majority of their orders during the pre collection season.

Fashion, lest we forget, is a business. And however carefully curated a store, or directional a fashion offer, in the end everything is merchandised to sell. A shop floor full of last season's clothes is not a viable business, unless of course you're Yoox.

Photo credit: Richard James showroom @ Pitti Uomo '92

Fashion week: London and New York embrace see now buy now; Milan and Paris cautious

London - At New York fashion week in September, Tommy Hilfiger's 'see now buy now' collection in collaboration with model Gigi Hadid dominated the week's headlines with its well-organised parade and immediate availability in-store. In London, it was Burberry who set the tone, making its entire catwalk collection available for purchase in real time with its presentation, and subsequently showcasing its craft to the public at Makers House.

London continues to embrace the revolution happening in fashion with its newly titled London Fashion Week Festival. The new mega-event is the solution adopted by the British Fashion Council (BFC) to bring consumers and fashion closer together, bridging the gap of attainability, and removing any elitist association of fashion week. It is also recognising the potential to make monumental sales.

London's move confirms the 'split' between the two streams of fashion week: the first characterized by the adoption of the see-now buy model as a starting point and development; the second as traditionalist, and embraced by most luxury brands.

New York and London open to a new philosophy

New York, like London, has proven to be open to the new philosophy, promoting both guises to see now-buy now and many dedicated initiatives, widely embraced by designers such as Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren.

In Milan, the Camera di Moda, or Chamber of Fashion, has introduced a myriad of ways to make fashion week inclusive to the public, but remains skeptical about the see-now buy now model. Where Prada, Moschino and Tod's have flirted with showing capsule items available immediately, companies like Dolce & Gabbana remain strongly opposed.

The same sentiment is echoed in Paris, so far the city with the least support for immediate fashion and where the shows are generally not shoppable. Francois-Henri Pinault - CEO of French luxury conglomerate Kering, feels that the new concept "negates the dream" of luxury and that waiting for the pieces "creates desire" for his labels.

No chance of buying Balenciaga or Gucci straight off the catwalk any time soon.

Photo credit: Burberry website

An end to fashion elitism? Not in Milan

Social media are being credited with democratising the landscape of fashion in London and New York. But in Milan's swankiest shopping street, an end to the industry's ingrained elitism, with its invitation-only events and cosy tribalism, still seems a long way off. Via Montenapoleone, home to the flagship stores of the cream of Italian design, is where the conceptual currency of the catwalks is converted into hard cash.

And in its glittering stores, platinum credit cards will keep the cash tills ringing long after the fashionistas have decamped to the next catwalk fest in Paris. Window-shopping with a friend, local Lila Sciacca says few in the city would dispute the economic benefits of fashion week: 48 million euros (54 million US dollars) was City Hall's estimate of the revenues driven by the last bash.

An amateur dressmaker, Sciacca is one of millions of fashion fans who stream live webcasts of the catwalk shows to digital devices. But the exclusivity of the shows still rankles. "At the shows it is always the same cast of people," she told AFP. "If you are not an insider or in the business, you have to be connected. "And let's be frank, how many people can actually afford these clothes we are talking about when every day is a struggle to survive?"

Also grumbling over fashion's exclusive reflexes is Milan's new mayor, Giuseppe Sala. The organiser of last year's successful World Expo, Sala recently told fashion chiefs that, "in terms of participation, there is much more than can be done." Italy's Chamber of Fashion hit back, citing 30 publicly accessible events running in parallel with the latest shows.

Instagram clout

Among them was "Outside In", an open air exhibition of new images by acclaimed British photographer Rankin that lined Via Montenapoleone. A veteran of the days when the club of fashion obsessives was much smaller than it is now, Rankin says his images of models in boxes displaying different emotions was designed as a celebration rather than a critique. "I really hate elitism in itself, so I am probably the opposite of most of the industry," he said.

"But the art of fashion is something I have come to appreciate more and more so I did not want (the street exhibition) to be negative, I wanted it to be a celebration of what it is about." The photo-sharing website Instagram has had a hugely disruptive impact on the fashion world. The vast followings of models like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne have made them hugely influential players, giving them the kind of commercial clout that was once the preserve of a handful of editors of glossy magazines.

Rankin, the co-founder of influential 1990s style magazine Dazed & Confused, says the change is exciting, even if he has some misgivings. "I love photography so much I can't not get excited by a whole new generation that maybe would never have had the opportunity to learn or even think you can go to college to do photography "At the same time I studied for six years to become a photographer so when somebody shows me their Instagram picture I go slightly 'whoah'.

Stores will survive

"David Bailey had a great quote when he was asked about Instagram and social media and said 'It is just lots more people taking bad photos'. "Instagram and social media and being able to buy straight form the catwalk is the antithesis of what it used to be about. "It used to be a small world but it has gone from 100,000 people to maybe two to three million that are absolutely obsessed by it." The Rankin exhibition was the latest in a series commissioned by Guglielmo Miani, president of the Via Montenapoleone Association, an organisation comprised of 140 luxury brands associated with the famous street.

Miani says allegations of snobbish exclusiveness are wide of the mark. "The truth is that this is a working week for professionals so it is, in a way, a closed circuit. That is why we decided to have an open-to-everyone exhibition." Growing online sales are also part of the disruptive wave fashion is currently surfing but Miani is confident it is one Via Montenapoleone and its counterparts in London, Paris and elsewhere can ride out. "The (store) experience is getting more enriching all the time," he said. "We just saw the new Dolce and Gabbana store opening, Brunello Cucinelli is opening soon. The physical space of the store is still very important.

"Globally e-commerce is about ten percent of luxury goods. It is going to grow but at the same time there are markets like Iran that are going to want to buy clothes and they will want to have stores there."Via Montenapoleone will be around for another 100 years, maybe 200 years and hopefully it will be even more special than today." (AFP)

An end to fashion elitism? Not in Milan The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

​Homepage Photo: Via Montenapoleone, by darkensiva via Flickr

Scotch & Soda expands New York presence ahead of Fashion Week

With their New York Fashion Week presentation scheduled to take place in a few days, Scotch & Soda is really stepping up their New York presence. The brand has opened a 705-square-foot store on Manhattan's Upper West Side, bringing their Amsterdam style offerings to a whole new crowd of clients. In addition to their new Upper Manhattan store, the brand's store at Bleecker Street downtown has expanded from 740 square feet to 1120 square feet.

With their second ever Fashion Week presentation scheduled to take place this week at the Angel Oresanz foundation, Scotch & Soda is ensuring that the entire Manhattan fashion crowd knows their name.

In further efforts for expansion, the brand will also be opening a store at South Street Seaport, making them one of the areas first new big retail players. The store is scheduled to open in spring 2017.

Scotch & Soda opens Upper West Side store; Steps up New York retail presence right before Fashion Week

Currently, Scotch & Soda has stores in Williamsburg, SoHo, the West Village, and now the Upper West Side. In total, the brand has 27 U.S. retail locations including locations in Miami, San Francisco, and Chicago.

When Ari Hoffman took over as U.S. ceo of the brand, he made global expansion a priority with his sights set on the United States. New York, being the fashion and retail capital of the world, was easily one of his top expansion targets.

In total, the brand now has 150 global stores and over 8000 department and specialty store partners.

The brand's come along way from where they started. In the 1980s, It was founded as a contemporary clothing retailer in Amsterdam by Laurent Hompes, hence their sub-label "Amsterdam Couture." In 2001, they rebranded and relaunched, and have been seeing a growing rate of success since.

Originally, they began as a men's retailer that consisted of jackets and hoods, but overtime they expanded their offerings to include men's, women's, and children's.

In 2011, the company was acquired by Kellwood, which helped them move into the American market and expand.

Their first U.S. store was in New York's Nolita neighborhood.

Their presentation at New York Fashion Week is just another symbol of how they are working to become a larger global retail power. The press attention given to them by showing at New York Fashion Week is slowly make them more of a household name, and is aiding in their expansion. There's an increased demand for Scotch & Soda now that more people are aware of the brand.

Scotch & Soda expands New York presence ahead of Fashion Week The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

photo via Scotch & Soda website

Michael Kors presents new retail lab concept on Bleecker Street

Michael Kors has presented a new retail lab concept at his store on 384 Bleecker Street. The space, which is formerly a Michael Michael Kors lifestyle store, reopened yesterday, August 10, as The Kors Edit. The brand has described the new space as a "serialized pop-up shop."

Unlike your traditional pop-up shop, this isn't a temporary space. However, it will be re-merchandised monthly according to theme.

The first "pop-up" will be School of Sport, which will focus on ath-leisure. Most of the floor will be devoted to sneaker displays, men's and women's collections, and Michael Michael Kors. There is also an emphasis on handbags, fur pom-pom accessories, and a selection of sporty ready-to-wear.

Michael Kors opens The Kors Edit on Bleecker Street

In September, the store will be merchandised to align with New York Fashion Week. On the day of the Michael Kors show, a selection of spring runway bags, shoes, and rtw will be available in the store.

For October, a street style theme will be available in correlation with the brand's first street style campaign titled "The Walk" shot by Tommy Ton. Other merchandise themes are still being determined.

“Bleecker Street has long been a destination for innovation and cultural enthusiasm, so it was the perfect spot for our new ‘fashion lab,’” Kors said in a statement. “It’s really a reflection of the world we live in. I think the days of buying something and saving it for months before wearing it are gone. The truth is, our customers are going into the store looking for pieces they can wear later that day. This pop-up is a reflection of that, allowing us to choose a monthly theme that resonates with whatever is top-of-mind for our customers at any given time.”

Currently there are no further plans to expand The Kors Edit concept.

Michael Kors has been taking a new approach to business. The company recently announced that they would be reducing the amount of merchandise sent to department stores, in order to reduce the blow to their margins caused by heavy discounting. The brand is trying to put an end to the discounting fever that they feel has dealt damage to their position as a luxury brand.

photo via Michael Kors website

Décathlon Connect: un nouveau concept de petits magasins lancé en Allemagne

Décathlon lance à Munich son nouveau concept, Décathlon Connect, un magasin en petit format d'une cinquantaine de mètres carrés.

Le lancement de cette nouvelle chaîne constitue une refonte de l’expansion du groupe français en Allemagne, où le secteur local de la mode sportive exerce une forte pression qui rend difficile l’ouverture de grandes superficies. Le nouveau magasin se trouve au sein du centre commercial Stachus Square, situé dans la capitale bavaroise.

Décathlon City, aussi dans le petit format

Jusqu’à présent, Décathlon centrait ses efforts en Espagne avec des chaînes différentes au format habituel. En 2013, la société lançait le concept Lot of Colors, qui répondait aussi à des magasins au petit format, ayant récemment été rebaptisé Décathlon City.

Cette chaîne, qui opère sous la société Love Colors, a conclu l’année 2014 sur un chiffre d’affaires de 8,9 millions d’euros. Un an auparavant, elle facturait 3,9 millions d’euros.

L’an dernier, Décathlon enregistrait 9100 millions d’euros de chiffre d’affaires, soit 12 pour cent de plus qu’en 2014. Les marchés émergents comme la Chine, l’Inde et la Russie ont pris la tête du classement des pays qui contribuent à la croissance du groupe, par le nombre d’ouverture de magasins.

Brighton Fashion Week will open its first pop-up store in Brighton’s South Lane from 28 November to 6 January showcasing undiscovered talent and helping shoppers find the perfect unique Christmas gift. The boutique will offer clothing, accessories, homeware and greetings cards - it’s located in Brighton's famous South Lanes at 12 Meeting House Lane.

In true Brighton Fashion Week style, the pop-up boutique will be excitingly eclectic and feature unique and one of a kind pieces from over 35 national and international emerging designers, artists, makers and creators.

Accessories in store include jewellery from Only Child London who has been championed by celebrities such as Cara Delevinge and Ellie Golding, handcrafted hats from milliner Lizzie Lock and beautiful homewares from Oxford based Miesje Chafer. Brighton designers selling their wares including Hove based Eleanor Linden Vagabond Couture, Louise O’Mahony, Beskies Boutique and Wolfram Lohr.

Lizzy Bishop Director of Brighton Fashion Week says: “After the success of Brighton Fashion Week 2014, the next logical step in helping to support the immense talent at the catwalk shows was to provide a space where people can try and buy the outfits. We’re also often asked where to get hold of the products on show after the fashion week, so this store will help bring unique national designers to more Brighton shoppers.

“I’m so privileged to have the opportunity to work with the up-and-coming design talent at Brighton Fashion Week and today’s shop opening is just the first of many new ideas we have for the future!”

Featured Designers and makers include: More TBC Only Child London/ Rakel Blom/ /Miesje Chafer/Wit Shop/Lizzie Lock/ Charlotte Valkeniers /Beskies Boutique/ Chloe Mellon /Anna Beel /Eleanor Linden/ Lady Gonazalez/ Snap Dragon Designs / Constanza Style/ The Fair Shop / Wolfram Lohr /Sebastian Hughes Chocolatier /Little Papa/ MrD London/Jake McCombe/  Coco Boho / Ciara Monahan /Raggedy Rags/ Tied/Big Jump Press//Claire Gaudion /Vagabond Couture/Love Me Tender London/Charlotte Valkeniers Designs

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