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Flexible buying allows us to keep one eye on the weather

Blair Daniel, Manager and buyer at men’s young fashion independent Concept Clothing in Aberdeen, a Drapers Awards winner.

Blair Daniel

Blair Daniel

As the spring weather gets later and later each season, forward-order buying has never been trickier. In Aberdeen last year summer didn’t hit until late June, and with shorts and vests on the shop floor when it was 7ºC outside, we had to re-evaluate our product drops and make sure our budgets were on target.

When it comes to buying, we prefer to do most of ours at showrooms. For us it really works to sit down, have a chat and see the brand in its entirety. At shows there is obviously limited space per brand and so labels showcase their key pieces, which may not be the right fit for our store. It can also be too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and overspending can be a problem.

That being said, we bought from Danish streetwear brand RVLT/Revolution and Swedish label Elvine at Jacket Required. The trade shows are great for browsing, starting conversations, picking up small niche brands and getting a feel for the trends that season.

It’s so important to strike the right balance between trade shows and the showroom when buying, as you need to keep the forward order as tight as possible to leave room to buy in-season. Customers are always looking for that new product, so keeping the offer fresh is essential.

For spring 14 we have invested in transeasonal pieces and have kept our high summer pieces to a minimum in our forward orders.

We’ve also added two new brands in store - Danish menswear and womenswear brand Samsøe and Samsøe and premium footwear label Sanders.

We now buy in drops suited to the season. With young fashion brand Scotch & Soda, for example, we have four drops from July through to September, so in the first drop we’ll make sure to include some holiday clothes, in August we’ll need some long-sleeved shirts for the weather turning a bit colder. Knitwear and jackets will arrive in September and then we’ll need some dressier shirts in October to bolster the pre-Christmas offer. It’s much more of a thought out process.

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