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Menswear buyers and brands rethink trade show strategies

Menswear buyers are expected to seek out brands with more flexible approaches to seasonal collections during the upcoming trade shows, as the sector adapts to the recent spells of cold weather.

The spring 16 show season kicks off next week with London Collections: Men on June 12-15, followed swiftly by Pitti Uomo in Florence on June 16-19.

In the run-up to the shows, menswear buyers told Drapers sales have struggled over the past few months due largely to the weather, so they have been adapting their strategies, and brands have been rethinking their approaches to match.

Lee Goldup, buyer at menswear independent The Great Divide, which opened its first store in Hackney, east London in March, is planning to attend LCM and Pitti. He said: “The weather, mixed with extended Sales by the majors, hasn’t helped recently, but we can see it getting better. We’ll be looking for brands that give you the ability to do little drops throughout the year.”

Menswear brand Pretty Green’s head of brand and digital Tim Kalic said the business has reworked its collections to fit in with this kind of approach. “At the shows we expect retailers to be rethinking what a collection is. Before you had autumn then summer, but we’ve been reworking how we drop our products into stores.

“This season we’re going to be making four or five significant drops, which we have designed specifically to align with the weather.

“People love fresh new products all the time. Etailers have hundreds of new products every week, which allows them to be relevant to the weather, and that’s the way things are going with bricks-and-mortar stores.”

Kamla Patel, UK sales manager for menswear brand Gabicci, which is showing at one of the later shows, Moda in August, agreed: “There will be an element of cautiousness with buying. The pattern we’ve noticed more and more each season is that retailers we deal with will place a small initial order and then top up throughout the season because that allows them to feed us in pieces that are right for that time of year.”

Chris Scott-Gray, head of marketing and PR for menswear label Simon Carter and Savile Row brands Chester Barrie and Richard James, believes pricing will also be a key consideration this season. “There is price deflation across the board, often because companies have been investing to work on their value propositions and pricing.”

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