The post-pandemic market has become fashion’s new frontier: rife with possibility, but also full of changing business dynamics. Coming off a challenging year, how can brands best minimize their risk and set themselves up for success?
People often say that art will find a way. But even the most talented and determined independent designers have spent the past year navigating some pretty intense terrain. Thankfully, increased digitization has revealed promising new directions--creating opportunities for emerging talent to reach audiences and for buyers to discover them.
Bringing your wholesale business online is an essential part of success in this new digital era. Based on industry trends, 9 out of 10 B2B decision-makers believe online buying will be a fixture throughout 2021 and beyond. We predict this trend will only continue. Industry professionals continue to rely on technology, from creating virtual showrooms and hosting digital trade shows to finding a platform for order management and data insights.
Historically, Payments processing has comprised one of the greatest points of friction across the wholesale lifecycle. Inefficiencies, high costs, lost revenue, and the potential for fraud characterized the pre-pandemic version of this fraught but necessary step.
For most ‘non-essential’ retailers, 2020 was not the best year. But many quarantined consumers re-channeled their entertainment spending into improving their household environments and home offices. As a result, multi-brand home specialty retailers saw profits actually increase during the health crisis--and general merchandisers with robust home offerings experienced significant boosts as well.
It's safe to say that the global pandemic outbreak has fueled a dramatic shift towards digital solutions within the home textile industry. Brands and retailers worldwide have been engaging and experimenting with a range of immersive virtual showroom technologies.
2020 was an opportunity for the retail industry to change and evolve. Brands found themselves having to make sudden decisions on what digital channels to pursue and partners to work with.
Across sectors, significant obstacles still make it harder for Black creatives and entrepreneurs to achieve mainstream success. And in fashion and luxury, they have additional issues to navigate, including an established networking culture. This has stacked up to a history of Black underrepresentation in our industry--both in terms of the designers creating the collections, and the models and stylists bringing them to life.
Today’s fashion customers want value. And post-COVID, that means a lot more than price. Millennials and even more so Gen Z want their purchases to support local businesses and strengthen communities--whether shopping online, or in-person. (And more and more their values influence how older generations shop as well.) They also want their purchases to express an individualized and unique sense of style.
When COVID hit our industry last spring, we engaged in a lot of soul-searching. Many fashion and luxury leaders reframed the disaster as a chance for meaningful change. Hundreds signed on to Dries Van Noten’s #rewiringfashion manifesto, the CFDA and BFC released a joint advisement for the health and future of the industry, and high-visibility players like Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele poetically called for a ‘seasonless’ future, one where fashion would once more live in harmony with the natural world. Production/overstock problems brewing for a decade or more imploded in their dysfunctionality, and mainstream market demand lined up with sustainability ideals. We had arrived at a rare inflection point where ‘changing the way we’ve always done things’ from a moral perspective was also making perfect business sense.