The current economic situation is anything but easy, but it does allow for reflection on what is working and what isn’t.
For example, where costs can be cut and what the return is on lines. Brands with a real point of difference, which produce a quality product with history and heritage on their side, such as those represented by the British Menswear Guild, have a chance of maintaining or even strengthening their position.
The male consumer is watching his pennies carefully and is looking to invest his hard-earned money in iconic, reliable brands. A brand’s heritage, I believe, will become an even bigger consideration to him - be it an Aquascutum trench coat because his father had one for 30 years, or a Baracuta jacket as worn by actor Steve McQueen.
Manufacturing in the UK has helped British brands somewhat with the stark euro appreciation against the pound, but the yarns, fabric and trims still have to be bought in euros or US dollars. Thus there is still an increase in costs that cannot be entirely absorbed by the brands.
British brands can still take advantage of the euro’s rise, as we have at Udeshi, opening the brand’s second store in Milan last week.
The range is about 25% cheaper then it was this time last year in euros. The competition has also played it safe, making our offer even more interesting, as we provide enough of a difference without going over the top.
Udeshi, like all other brands and shops, needs to have something to shout about, a positive point of difference and a reason for someone to shop there. Those that don’t won’t survive, and shouldn’t. Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection also applies to retail. May the fittest survive.
- Oscar Udeshi is chairman of the British Menswear Guild and founder of tailoring brand Udeshi