Doing business in style – How fashion brands can stay afloat in the “new normal”
Written by SOCIATE’s PR intern, Vama Kothari
Countries around the world are creeping back to “home quarantine” as covid-19 numbers begin to rise again. The global pandemic has tanked the economy to unprecedented levels as stocks plummet worldwide. This has, as a consequence, had a direct impact on the fashion industry.
Buyers from all across the globe depend on China for their raw material supply. China is the largest textile producing and exporting country in the world, and as a result is directly related to the fashion industry.
American brand, American Eagle said, “We have made the decision to temporarily close our American Eagle and Aerie stores to ensure safety of the company”, adding, “I recognize the days ahead will be challenging, but we remain true to the very heart of our purpose – optimism.”
Brands will have to digitize heavily and consider virtual pre-launches
CEO of Ralph Lauren mentioned to the press, “While the health crisis creates near-term uncertainties, the fundamentals of our business are strong, and we continue to see significant long-term opportunities for growth in China and across Asia.”
Some brands are looking to reunite ties and business with the Chinese market, whilst others are looking at other parts of Asia. A lot of big brands are going to have to focus on being ‘inclusive’ and include a target audience from across the globe.
In the recent past, luxury houses have realized the spending capacity of Chinese customers and solely focused on selling to them. Showing bias towards a particular ethnicity, and leaving others out, can often cause backlash and a decline in sales.
For example – China’s spending capacity for luxury is reported to be more than that of India’s. Knowing this, it was an inspirational moment when the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton and Indian luxury brand Sabyasachi collaborated on footwear and bags for their wedding collection. This not only marks a great cultural collaboration in history but also builds an emotional connection within their Indian clientele.
Brands are going to start recognizing the spending power of other markets and work towards attracting them
A lot of companies who put their eggs in one basket and invest only in China and Italy for raw materials end up suffering in situations like these, no new orders and lots of pre-bought raw materials have left them in a hanging position. Thus, the diversification of the supply chain is a must. Combined forces of three fashion conglomerates – Kering, LVMH, and Montreal have been generous to donate 4.5 million USD, acting like the knight in shining armor, once again.
In a nutshell:
- Brands need to digitize heavily.
- Luxury houses may have to consider opening diffusion lines.
- Attract different clientele across the globe, not just China.
- Diversification of supply chain, opens doors for cities in different tiers.
Every brand has its own unique way of managing a situation in a time of crisis so it will be interesting to see how the industry plays its cards, customizes, and molds its business strategies to suit new market demands and expectations.