Buyer Panel during the Digital Fashion Week – Winter Edition
For the second time, the fashion industry is starting the new season under unusual conditions. In the midst of the second lockdown caused by covid-19, we talked about these special circumstances with buyers and experts from the womenswear, menswear and day & nightwear sector during the Digital Fashion Week – Winter Edition.
We want to thank Marie Möhle (Hagemeyer) and Henning Schleemann (Stackmann) for our Buyers Talk – Womenswear; Torge Thede (Ramelow), Christian Rugen (CJ Schmidt) and Andreas Weitkamp (Schnitzler) for our Buyers Talk – Menswear, and Gabriele Hobmaier (Consulting), Charlott Wittorf (Modehaus Ramelow) and Melanie Schmitz-Brackmann (Hautnah Dessous) for our Buyers Talk Lingerie. We are very thankful that they took the time for this interesting exchange. All three talks were moderated by Christina Berens (Fashion Cloud).
Digital order, limit cuts and season shifts:
Digital order: While everyone agreed that the health of employees comes first and that physical order appointments should be reduced as much as possible, there were different statements in regards to the relation between orders placed digitally and at the showroom. Whether an order can be placed digitally depends on a number of factors, such as the technical implementations of the brand. Some brands have already made great progress in this area, while with others it is still difficult to place an order based on the available images and renderings. However, if it is not possible to see the collection live, it is important to at least see images of the articles worn by a model. In general, it is easier to place a digital order for known articles. NOS articles can be estimated better than unknown articles and it is easier to discover new trends on site. The personal relationship as well as conversations and interactions also play an important role in the buying process. There is one thing that all buyers definitely agree on: the fashion industry is based on haptics. Ultimately, the clothing has to be worn on the skin and you have to feel comfortable in it. This can not be secured by ordering 100% digitally.
Limit adjustments: Due to lower sales forecasts, limits also had to be adjusted accordingly for this season. In order to be able to implement this, some of our buyers state that they also had to let go of one or two suppliers. In addition, some preorder limits were reduced in favor of the reorder limits. Budgets for NOS articles have also been analyzed very thoroughly, as no one wants to have too many articles in stock during the current situation.
Adjusted delivery rhythms: This is another topic where opinions differ a little. While in the premium sector, early delivery dates are needed, our lingerie buyers said that e.g. for swimwear they have been asking for later delivery dates for a long time. In general, it can be summarized that it makes sense to no longer necessarily talk about seasons but to place the right articles at the right time and adjust the delivery dates accordingly.
Accents, emotions and shopping experiences:
We hope that local stores will be allowed to reopen their doors very soon, and when they do, everyone agrees that customers will be hungry for something new, and retailers have to be ready to offer that. When visiting a store, customers should be able to leave their troubles outside and find their joy of strolling around again. Stores should focus more on visual merchandising and the right product presentation. Many are thinking about integrating concept store elements and thereby selling their customers not just clothing, but a lifestyle. When it comes to looks this season is all about courage. It is important to give impulses and inspirations with the looks that are displayed in stores. As soon as events are allowed to take place again, people will also want to dress up. Therefore, the looks in the stores have to reflect that and address the customers emotionally.
Womenswear – loungewear and changeable looks
One place where buyers are currently looking for inspirations for the new season are social media channels such as Instagram or Clubhouse. Also post-pandemic, this will be a good addition to trade fairs and showroom visits. A mix of everything would be perfect: at trade fairs and in the showroom, buyers can get an overview of all new collections. On social media, they can then check with the consumers themselves which styles are actually received well.
Formal wear clearly had to deal with a major set back last season. However, it is assumed that this will change as soon as events can be held again.
The clear winner is and remains loungewear. Ready-to-wear, knits and comfortable looks dominate the market. Customers are looking for looks in which they can sit on the sofa and work from home at the same time.
It is important to order articles that can be combined and translated into different styles.
Menswear – outdoor and outerwear
There is a lack of personal exchange, both with colleagues and suppliers, as well as with end consumers. This is the part that is most difficult to replace digitally and therefore the biggest loss.
Winners from the 2nd lockdown were mainly outerwear items. Frequently sold were shirts and knitwear, as well as hats and gloves. Pants, on the other hand, didn’t sell very well.
In the upcoming season, despite everything, there will still be formal wear found in the stores, however, the selection will surely be reduced. It is also assumed that demand will increase as the situation slowly goes back to normal.
Modular suits: The selection will be significantly reduced, but there should still be a good selection available when the stores reopen.
Underwear – From nightwear to loungewear
NOS analysis becomes even more important. It should be checked almost monthly whether the right articles are actually on the shopfloor and which articles need to be replaced.
Comfort is still a very important topic. Loungewear was a winner last season and it is assumed that it will continue to be a relevant topic. Presumably, there will be a little less loungewear found in the womenswear sector when the situation goes back to more or less normal but the demand for it will remain. If that happens the day & nightwear sector will benefit from it.
Orders budgets are increasingly being shifted from nightwear towards loungewear.
Fashionable lingerie is also suffering. Comfortable, soft qualities with a feel-good factor are currently the big winners.
Would you like to gain more insights and watch the complete Buyer Panels? The recordings of the talks are still available on the Digital Fashion Week event platform. You find them in the menu under “Agenda”. Click on the individual agenda points to watch the recordings. Visit the event platform here.
P.S. At the event you will also find collection presentations from more than 150 brands. It’s worth to log in! ;-)
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