I am writing this as I pack for my summer holiday. Nothing unusual about that you might think. However, it is mid-August and I have not had an August holiday in the past 30 years.
What’s the reason for this you may ask? Up until a couple of years ago I would have spent all of August in buying appointments, but this year I finished most of them in July.
This just demonstrates that the fashion industry, which has always traditionally worked six months ahead of itself, has now added another month to the ordering process and buying calender.
There are two consequences of this. Firstly, the timing of the various fashion weeks around the world have not moved forward in line with the rest of the industry. This means that we will be travelling to Paris, Milan and London with our spring 10 buying budgets all but used up.
Secondly, I am still getting daily calls from new labels and agencies looking to sell to me for next season. Again, although I will always look at anything new be it product or brand in the market, I am now doing so with very little budget left to spend.
Whether we agree with the continual pressure to move the buying calender earlier and earlier and further away from the actual season, it is something that will not go away because in an increasingly competitive world every brand and label wants to get in to see the buyers first.
So we will all have to adjust. As retailers we need to spread our buying budget out over the whole year and my message to anyone hoping to sell to me for the next spring season is, please ring me when I get back from my holiday in September.
- Bashir Mohammed is the owner of independent designer fashion business American Pie in west London