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The glossies’ trends don’t reflect my reality

Pamela Shiffer, Owner of womenswear boutique Pamela Shiffer in Primrose Hill, London.

So there we have it, another year almost over and Christmas is racing towards us like a bullet train.

It must be worth considering, given the ups and downs of the past few years’ trading, whether the tried and tested buying model has now become ‘so 2008’ and is outdated. There are new pressures and constraints from suppliers, and trends appear out of the blue, leaving many behind before they’ve even put the key in the door.

Other than being led by agents or brands to guide you through the predicted bestsellers or trusting your instincts when making those all-important buying decisions, we as retailers have no idea which trends the press are picking up on other than trusting prediction seminars or following the likes of Drapers or other trade magazines.

There is only one problem when retailers rely on press information - the glossy consumer magazines have a mind of their own, which on the whole has no bearing on affordable clothing for the masses.

Having recently scoured through the usual popular glossies I was amazed as to how expensive the items were in
their main features. You could buy a car or go on a luxury holiday for the price of some of the items photographed.

I have no problem with the luxury end of the market, which by all accounts is alive and kicking. However, my conundrum is how we as retailers can appeal to working customers who are grounded in reality and not dreams of winning the lottery.

Therefore I’m wondering whether if we knew which items the glossies such as Elle, Marie Claire, Grazia, Red, Vogue, Tatler and Harper’s Bazaar were shooting for various features would we be more inclined to back those styles and brands? This poses an interesting question of which I would be interested to know the answer.

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