Product will always sit at the heart of any fashion business. As we move into June and the new buying season kicks off with London Fashion Week Mens and menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence, retailers will be looking at how their new-season collections can offer something unique to drive customers in store and online.
While the industry is undoubtedly tough, and Brexit still casts a shadow over many decisions, the new season feels like a chance to reset and refresh, and we are seeing many brands consider how their collections can evolve.
Ben Sherman has said this week that it is considering relaunching womenswear for the first time since 2009 after it signed a partnership deal with Team GB to create a mens and womenswear collection for the British Olympic team.
The new season feels like a chance to reset and refresh, and we are seeing many brands consider how their collections can evolve
The expansion and reduction of categories is a constant merry-go-round for many brands and retailers. It is something Julian Dunkerton highlighted recently after his reinstatement at the helm of Superdry, saying he would look to “re-angle” the product to focus on bestselling categories such as outerwear, while cutting back on others, such as kidswear.
Expanding into additional categories has proved extremely challenging for many in the market – particularly for women’s brands that expand into menswear or vice versa.
However, we have seen a few examples of brands that can retain their DNA and have a clear target market. Young fashion brands such as Hype and Native Youth are succeeding with additional category launches, although both brands have evolved with a unisex style.
In the luxury sector, several brands – such as Dior and Stella McCartney – show strong, separated men’s and womenswear offerings that are built on clear identities.
Another relaunch that was announced this week is that of East by Monsoon Accessorize founder and chief executive officer Peter Simon, following his buy-out of the retailer in May 2018. Interestingly, the collection will have a sustainable focus – something I think we will see in abundance over the upcoming trade shows (follow all our coverage here).
This eco-friendly emphasis is apparent in the results of our sustainability survey, which we publish this week. Whether brands are evolving in terms of sustainable initiatives or additional categories, the brands that continually innovate are the ones that will stand out.