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Industry adapts to changing trends

Jessica Brown

That Pure London, the contemporary womenswear show owned by Drapers publisher Emap, had a record spring event last weekend is testament to just how hard the fashion industry
is working to beat the downturn.

While many retailers skip the trade shows in tough times to cut costs, it was good to see so many independent retailers and department stores out in force. The reason? Now more than ever retailers need to find great product to give shoppers a reason to spend.

While the spring 10 womenswear trends had evolved rather than shifted dramatically, indies in particular were on the lookout for statement pieces and newness. Some were even venturing outside their core categories – a few young fashion indies are testing contemporary brands while womenswear chains are looking at adding some young fashion labels to broaden their appeal.

Although brands played it relatively safe for next season, they had invested in building more flash collections and in adding stock programmes to support their customers. Protecting cash flow and managing risk remain priorities for retailers so helpfully there was more current season product than ever available to order at the fair.

Other brands were looking at shaking up their distribution to focus on indies to protect their integrity from some of the discounting at the multiples, who themselves are shifting their focus towards more high-margin own-label product.

This could be good news, further differentiating the high street from the multi-brand indies and giving both a much-needed route to exclusivity.

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