The new buying season –

Buyer Panel during Digital Fashion Week 2020

This season is and has been very different for fashion retailers and brands everywhere. Whether we are talking about order processes or selling articles at the point of sales – nothing seems to be quite the same anymore. But what implications do the changes in the industry have for fashion buyers and appointments in the showroom? What happens to stored goods and what kind of trends are developing? During the Digital Fashion Week – Summer Edition 2020, we sat down with top buyers of the womens- (Torge Thede – Ramelow, Head of Product &  Denis Starke – Dodenhof, Head of Fashion & Lifestyle) – and menswear (Christian Frei – Reischmann, Head of Purchasing Men & Martin Kiener – Modehaus Frey, Head of Department Men) segment to get some answers and discuss our open questions concerning the current buying season.

BUYING IN TIMES OF CORONA

  • New inspiration & new suppliers: With many important fashion fairs being cancelled, the industry lacks an emotional “starting point” for the new season, but finding inspiration also proves to be difficult. Outside of Instagram and other social media channels, there are hardly any means of finding out about new trends or exchanging ideas with other buyers. What is missing are the quick chats and networking possibilities at the fair or a trip to the fashion capitals of the world like Milan and Paris. But there are still ways and means to get things done: Instead of meeting up personally, topics like open limits and new suppliers are handled via phone calls and emails. A short visit to the showroom (see box) then helps to get a picture of the supplier.
  • The planning – stored goods and new trends: Since the SS20 season has not been very expressive, there is currently no reference season one could rely on. In addition, due to the unusual situation, the official kick off for the order season was moved to much later and the timing rhythm has changed completely. Unsold top sellers are stored and brought into the new season – at the same time new trends (see below) are taken into account. In general, all buyers assess the situation rather cautiously and expect a decrease in their sales volume.
  • The appointment – digital and focused: The panel expects 95% of the order to be placed digitally. Only in exceptional cases will a showroom be visited and a collection viewed in person. Thus, on site appointments are basically not planned at all. But it seems as if the industry has adjusted quite well to the new situation: Order appointments that have already taken place, were clearly structured and perhaps even a bit more focused than before. Thus, virtual order appointments seem to be an actual alternative for the future – at least in parts.

“I need to be able to feel the fabrics!” – The new appointment in the showroom

Haptics cannot be experienced digitally. However, the industry needs to start rethinking order processes. Fashion buyers should be able to trust their suppliers. The latter, in return, have to make sure not to lose this trust: Articles that arrive on the shelf have to keep up with expectations and be as good as promised. Furthermore, the industry can also facilitate digital ordering through good preparation and, for example, make color brilliance partially recognizable in a high-quality PDF with the right content. Especially with already existing partnerships the trust and also a certain basic knowledge of used fabrics are available. When working with a new supplier this is more difficult. Here, an appointment in the showroom makes sense – not to discuss numbers (this can all be done digitally afterward) but rather to be able to actually view the collections.

WOMENSWAER TRENDS – KICKING OFF THE NEW SEASON

  • It remains necessary to kick off the season for customers – even with this season’s articles in stock.
  • Skirts and dresses – meaning all ‘no legs’ wear – are already popular with customers this season. The same is also expected for the new season.
  • Trends such as frills and puffed sleeves are also expected to return for the new season. A casual but feminine style runs through the collections.
  • Sustainability: The pressure from consumers to reflect sustainability in the collections is increasing, which is why this is also a focus topic for 2021. Retailers should use sustainable collections for storytelling and further emphasise this aspect.

MENSWEAR TRENDS – BACK TO THE ROOTS

  • It is true: Trends and topics from this season will continue in 2021, such as linen and the lightness of colours and fabrics.
  • Color trends: Earthy, light colours, light themes for the summer and urban gardening looks are dominating.
  • Jeans and Denim are gaining in importance, Overshirts as a jacket replacement and outdoor jacket. Trends such as sweat, terry cloth and bright colours are the go to choice for the bold and fashionable man.
  • The suit remains important and with overall more events taking place again, the demand for suits is expected to be increasing soon. New nuances are being added to the classic suit: For the ‘Broken Suit Look’ different styles are combined to create new interpretations of the classical suit look.
  • Sustainability: A topic that is also demanded to be addressed by male consumers. Natural materials, such as linen fabrics, will play an important role for summer 2021. Another important aspect here is the presentation of sustainability at the shop floors – where it should be displayed correctly. Same applies for womenswear.

The complete panel discussion on “What to buy” is available on video. By clicking on ‘Main stage Videos’ in the menu bar of our Digital Fashion Week event platform, you can access all talks and presentations that we streamed in the main stage during the event. Simply log in with your existing account or register for free.

P.S. You can also find presentations from over 100 brands on the new looks and trends for SS21.

Click here to watch panel discussion!

This article is based on the content of the panel discussions, that were streamed during Digital Fashion Week 2020:

DE Real Talk – What to buy // Women | 28.07.2020 | Speakers: Torge Thede – Ramelow (Head of Product), Denis Starke – Dodenhof (Head of Fashion & Lifestyle) | Moderator: Christina Berens (Sales, Fashion Cloud)

DE Real Talk – What to buy // Men | 29.07.2020 | Speakers: Christian Frei, Reischmann (Head of Purchasing Men) & Martin Kiener, Modehaus Frey (Head of Department Men) | Moderator: Christina Berens (Sales, Fashion Cloud)