Co-founder and organiser Textile Forum
How will Brexit impact apparel brands and retailers in the United Kingdom?
From feedback from our suppliers, the immediate impact of Brexit was the fluctuation in currency which meant that some companies had to absorb additional costs. As such, there will be a review of prices, though not necessarily immediately. On a more positive front, many fabric suppliers are looking to attend more exhibitions both in the United Kingdom and overseas, so additional funds are being spent on sales and marketing. They are also looking to further invest in their products.
What major factors are influencing the apparel retail scene in the United Kingdom?
The growth in mobile shopping, the influence of social media, the demand for products instantly and a growing demand for personalisation are all influencing everyone in the supply chain. Hence we are seeing some major brands in the country launch their new collections at exhibitions such as London Fashion Week and stream their presentations and immediately have the garments available to buy online. There is also a revival in “artisan” fabrics.
What are the major challenges faced by apparel brands and retailers in the United Kingdom?
As mentioned, one of the biggest challenges is to provide “instant gratification” or see now, buy now, and the impact this will have on the supply chain.
As Siobhan Gehin, partner at Kurt Salmon says, “Retailers and brands need to bring product to market faster but still cost effectively, and the ultimate winners in this change will be those who embrace the customer’s desire for immediate gratification and move quickly to shift their business models to take advantage of this transition.”
According to Kurt Salmon this will have an impact in four areas:
1.More brands selling direct to the consumer
2.Reinvention of the wholesale model: the shifts in the landscape will favour wholesalers that can exploit digital and make product available quickly across geographies
3.Pressure on “fast fashion” players: Zara, H&M and other fast-fashion leaders will be challenged as more aspirational brands move into their space
4.The end of discounting: customers addicted to the “On Sale” drug are transitioning to the “Fresh and New” drug. Retailers and brands that are able to bring new products to the market quickly will be rewarded with a reduction in markdowns.
These changes will require a fundamental reshaping of retailers’ and brands’ sourcing and product development and of their supply chain. Apparel players will also need to focus on building meaningful 1:1 relationships with customers.
What is the percentage of exhibitors in the categories menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, bridalwear, eveningwear, daywear, lingerie, and accessories at Textile Forum?
Textile Forum has a very good cross-section of fabrics covering most end-uses. Luxury fabrics for special occasionwear – whether that be bridal or eveningwear – is probably the strongest classification.
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