I was heartened by the Blitz spirit at trade show Pure London last weekend, where footfall remained steady despite the extremely stormy weather.
During the show, I chaired a debate on how to win consumers at a time of disruption – a fitting subject given the travel chaos across the UK.
Change is happening at a faster rate than ever before. Social media has levelled the playing field, allowing smaller brands to disrupt the market quickly, and we’re seeing the emergence of a more values-led, purpose-driven approach to fashion.
One example given was British womenswear brand Gung Ho, which each year picks an issue – this year, it is the impact food has on the environment – and brings attention to it by incorporating messages into its designs, as well as opening up discussions on social media. Customers can shop by “cause” as well as product category.
Business models that incorporate rental, repair, recycling and resale are also coming to the fore, as people become more conscious of the damage overconsumption of fashion does to the planet.
Traditional brands and retailers are under pressure to keep up, and many are doing this through collaborations with the very businesses that are disrupting the industry. This week alone, London department stores Selfridges and Liberty unveiled pop-ups from rental services Hurr and My Wardrobe HQ, respectively. These partnerships both democratise luxury fashion and promote a more sustainable attitude to shopping – encouraging people to buy less.
They also highlight the important role of bricks-and-mortar stores when it comes to communicating brand values, as well as creating interesting new experiences for shoppers.
As the fashion landscape continues to present challenges, it is more important than ever to self-disrupt, find new partnerships, and invest in attracting the right talent.