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‘Whatever happened to the three-season rule?’

Jeni Elliff

As an agent I’m fortunate to work with some amazing brands and clients, but one of my biggest frustrations is the increasing difficulty of taking a new brand to market.

As an agent I’m fortunate to work with some amazing brands and clients, but one of my biggest frustrations is the increasing difficulty of taking a new brand to market. Like the rest of the fashion industry, buyers have become busier than ever and so the lines of communication are harder to open.

Many retailers express frustration that brands and agents inundate them with collateral about new brands.

Generally, most are honest and tell brands and agents not to send seasonal look books as these will just go in the bin. Emails during the selling season similarly get deleted while calls are only answered if the retailer is interested. Yes, you can arrange a visit but the owner is not always there.

Having a good relationship with buyers does not offer any guarantees either. Buyers say they know they are missing something and want to introduce new brands but don’t have the time to explore new options. 

In the good old days – before 2008 – there seemed to be an unwritten three-season rule, where you had a longer window to launch a brand with a retailer, gain traction and develop it with the consumer.

But now, as retailers have tighter budgets, they invariably have less patience and this has decreased to just one season. How can a brand possibly prove itself or develop in such a short space of time?

  • Jeni Elliff, Womenswear agent, Winnie & Ed’s

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