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Buyers' question time: what are you looking for in spring 18?

As the buying season kicks off once more, Drapers spoke to top buyers to find out what they want from the season ahead.

Thom scherdel

Thom scherdel

Thom Scherdel

‘It’s going to be a big trouser season’ – Thom Scherdel, buyer, The Idle Man

What are you looking for this spring 18?

We are looking, as always, for good, solid clothes. By that I mean proper wardrobe staples that stand the test of time and pieces that you can invest in. Our look doesn’t really change from season to season and we want to have more depth in those classic pieces.

I think it’s going to be a big trouser season. We’ve seen it already with a move into wide-leg trousers and cargo pants this season, and I think that’s got a lot more to give. I’d like to see more interesting takes on tracksuit bottoms – interesting fabrics rather than crazy shapes. Jackets are special for us, too – it’s our biggest category all year round, so we buy as many as we can.

Popovers I think will be a big part of the landscape.  

Are there any trends you are looking to back?

It’s hard to put a name on it but it’s somewhere between sports casual and heritage. An old school raver who grew up, and got a job and a bird, so had to tone down his look a bit. Still loves the mad pieces he always did but likes to wear them with selvedge jeans now. That’s where we’re going.

Are you looking for new brands?

Ideally we want to be buying into British brands. I feel the UK needs a brand that can puff its chest out a bit to the Scandi brands. We look so admirably at the Scandi brands, and rightly so, but there’s no reason that I can see that we can’t produce some homegrown talents like that.

I think the brand 6876 is going to be exciting this season. It’s got all the right heritage and aesthetic to rock the boat a bit.

Are there any types of brands you’d like to find and haven’t yet found?

A good multi-product brand that has confidence to show a full collection without any gimmicks.

Nikki tattersall

Nikki tattersall

Nikki Tattersall

‘Activewear is a big moment for us’ – Nikki Tattersall, buying director, Asos

What are you looking for this spring 18?

Activewear will represent a big moment for us as we enter spring 18. Activity and performance is an intrinsic part of our customer’s lives, but there is also a clear influence of technical and action sports styling in core fashion ranges across both men’s and women’s, which will open up some exciting unisex moments for us.

Are there any trends you are looking to back?

We’ve already seen great reactions to 1980s-inspired styles across clothing and footwear, and this is set to continue into spring. Shoulder focus, mini-dresses and vinyl are all looking strong at the moment, and spring will bring the transition into daywear.

Are you looking for new brands?

Our sourcing spans five continents. Our teams undertake more than 500 buying and sourcing trips each year, so uncovering new and exciting brands from around the world is an essential part of our strategy. Japan and Korea remain a key focus – both our fashion and beauty teams have already secured some very exciting new brands for spring 18. The Far East continues to be an incredible source of inspiration.

Closer to home we have widened our net to encompass southern and eastern Europe as great new potential brand sources. In spring 18 we’ll be excited to see the progression of the winners of our first Fashion Discovery [competition for emerging] brands: Hanger and Elissa Poppy.

Are there any types of brands you’d like to find and haven’t yet found?

Inclusivity is a key foundation of our offer and, while our Asos brand continues to go from strength to strength in petite, tall, maternity and curve ranges, we are constantly looking for opportunities to bring new brands on board and broaden this offer for our customers.

Ravi grewal

Ravi grewal

Ravi Grewal

‘T-shirts that offer a more premium look’ – Ravi Grewal, director, Stuarts London 

What are you looking for this spring 18?

If I were looking for anything new this season, I would be focusing on T-shirts that are made from interesting fabrics that have woven detail, that offer a more premium look, doubled up on a simple summer chino.  

Are there any trends you are looking to back?

A slightly more relaxed fit in chinos and jeans. I myself have worn more fitted jeans for a while, and now feel it’s the right time to wear a more relaxed fit. 

Are you looking for new brands?

I’m always on the lookout for anything that will offer something fresh and grab the attention of a new customer. 

Are there any types of brands you’d like to find and haven’t yet found?

There are a lot of brands that get it very close to being right, but sometimes they are unknown, new to the scene, lack the marketing execution needed to publicise the brand, or offer a RRP [recommended retail price] that’s just too high.

However, I am interested in a brand that can offer me something unique, to attract a wider audience of consumers, which also has the right price, margin, and quality – if such a brand exists.

‘We are buying into dresses more heavily’ – Joanna Davies, owner, Black White Denim, Wilmslow, Cheshire

Joanna davies 2

Joanna davies 2

Joanna Davies

What are you looking for this spring 18?

We will be looking at what made spring 17 such a success for us and doing more of that! Accessible entry-level price points for “buy now, wear now” wardrobe updates from brands such as Colourful Rebel, transitional shirting from Rails and Equipment, affordable occasionwear from Samsoe & Samsoe, Baum und Pferdgarten and Rixo London, and knitwear from Bella Freud.

Are there any trends you are looking to back?

We are buying into dresses more heavily, as well as co-ordinated looks such as printed pants and matching tops or jackets. We are seeing a 1990s revival of the “dressy tops and jeans” combination.

Are you looking for new brands?

We are always looking for new brands, especially those that are not readily available elsewhere. We pride ourselves on being pioneers of new brands, especially bringing them to the north-west ahead of the department stores and better-known retailers. Brands we can buy in sterling are obviously attractive, as we then know exactly how our margins will work out and are not subject to exchange rate fluctuations. 

Are there any types of brands you’d like to find and haven’t yet found?

There are plenty of wonderful brands out there to choose from – we are very lucky. Brands that we favour deliver excellent quality time and time again, do not impose ridiculous minimums, allow us to top up in season and offer a margin of 2.7-plus. They also ensure we have the brand assets – product and style shots – available to promote our collections on social media, our website and via traditional media channels.

Fiona firth buying director mr porter 2016

Fiona firth buying director mr porter 2016

Fiona Firth

‘New, versatile pieces’ – Fiona Firth, buying director Mr Porter

What are you looking for this spring 18?

We are on the lookout for new, versatile pieces – focusing on a mix of established brands and emerging talent.

Are there any trends you are looking to back?

Among others, we will be looking to back the continued sportswear trend, which resonates extremely well with our global customer.

Are you looking for new brands?

The Mr Porter buying team are always on the lookout for emerging and exciting brands.

 

 

 

 

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