Starting your own Fashion Business
The vast output and profits from the fashion industry come not from the designer collections seen on the catwalk but from items sold in high street stores. To put the impact of designers in perspective, one only has to note that the British Fashion Awards' Designer of the Year will often have annual earnings that amount to less than a day's sales for one large retailer in the Arcadia group. Even so, the designer collections are given extensive coverage in the fashion press where each season more than 250 collections are reviewed within a matter of weeks. Reporting and promotion of these collections are suffused within hyperbole, excitement and genuine enthusiasm by many who attend, the catwalk exhibitions being viewed with a range of perceptions from incredulity to sheer entertainment. However, few people see the direct link that some less experienced commentators assert exists between the garments on the catwalk and 'what we will all be wearing next season'. The influence of the...
The best marketing plans and activities can be easily and quickly undermined by changes in the economy or in competitors' actions. Such changes cannot always be anticipated, although a framework for monitoring and anticipating change is discussed in Chapter Two. In the fashion industry, which is highly competitive and is characterized by change, the role of good fortune cannot be easily discounted. The fashion industry is well known for the high failure rate of new businesses and the regular price reductions on product lines that have not sold. Such failures are in part a reflection of the enormous risk of fashion, but some are also due to the inadequate or inappropriate application of the marketing process. It is the contention of the authors that, when properly applied, marketing will help to reduce some uncertainty in the fashion industry and cut down the number of n
Chose to source garments from cheaper overseas suppliers. The UK clothing industry is made up of small, medium and large manufacturers. The smaller manufacturers feed off the larger companies by offering specialist finishing services. As the larger retailers turn to overseas manufacturing or supplying, so the vulnerable smaller companies suffer. Table 2.5 shows the fortunes of the fashion industry in the context of the decline in manufacturing (Table 2.6).
There have been several attempts to launch environmental clothing ranges by labels such as Esprit and Claus Steilmann, but the high-profile attempts by some parts of the fashion industry to become greener have yet to have any significant impact. At the retail end of the business, the major chain stores are examining how they can run their stores in a more environmentally friendly way. Most of their efforts may appear minor, but in total they could be quite significant.
The fashion marketing concept attempts to embrace the positive aspects of high concern for design, customers and profit by recognizing the interdependence of marketing and design. If designers understand how marketing can enhance the creative process and marketing personnel appreciate that within the fashion industry design can lead as well as respond to customer requirements, progress can be made. Market researchers can establish the sizing information customers want on garments and can also analyse reactions to several provisional illustrations, but they cannot produce detailed styling specifications. Marketing as applied to the fashion industry must appreciate the role of design. Some major retailers such as Zara have developed information systems bringing designers, manufacturing teams and retail sales staff much closer together enabling customers to be
Micro-issues concern particular products and services where consumers may feel that they have not been fairly treated or that they have been misled. Most customers have bought clothing that has fallen below expectations by, for example, coming apart at the seams or shrinking in the wash. These problems may occur due to poor quality control or at worst a callous attitude towards customers. Sadly, the view of customers as mere punters to be exploited does exist in some parts of the fashion industry but it is a short-sighted attitude as lack of repeat business, legal redress and negative word of mouth The quick and fair correction of genuine errors reinforces the message to the customer that the retailer cares about long-term customer welfare. Unfortunately, some staff are placed in positions where their own interests may not coincide with those of the firm or the customer -those who work on a commission only basis, for example. Such practices should be condemned as they lead to an...
Thus the industry revolves around a time-based, i.e. seasonal, process in which new fashions are introduced into the marketplace and are adopted by enough consumers to warrant the description of 'fashion' in its proper context in the first place (as a current mode of consumption behaviour), only to wane eventually in terms of popularity, thus rendering them 'unfashionable'. While some product offerings will remain popular over several or even many seasons, others will fade very quickly these differences are discussed further in the chapter. The important point to stress here, however, is that this regenerative process is intrinsic to the fashion industry and is very necessary for its continued survival.
The role of designer in the fashion industry is crucial to its success. The task is specifically one of interpreting society's current and anticipated mood into desirable, wearable, garments for every type and level of market. To do this effectively, designers must be in tune with the wider social, cultural, economic and political environment within which human beings conduct their daily lives only then will their ideas truly reflect current prevailing conditions and the impact they are likely to have on future consumer needs. Thus the designer will draw on a wealth of ideas the media and entertainment, other cultures, social attitudes and mores, historical and contemporary events all provide important sources of inspiration.
Although the categories above do apply to certain items of clothing in the fashion industry, they are slightly limited in use when one is trying to analyse buying motives and methods. It is probably more accurate therefore to classify tangible fashion products slightly differently, categorizing them as classics, fashions or fads.
For the fashion industry, there are a number of websites providing access to a range of industry information. These include fashion industry. Also offers a website design and hosting service. services and employment in the fashion industry. providing information on trend forecasting for fashion industry professionals. giving current information on all aspects of the fashion industry plus access to archived reports available by subscription.
The more homogeneous the product the greater the price competition. The fashion industry tries to encourage non-price competition by the branding and creation of unique designs and images for ranges. At the designer level of the market, such garments are in limited supply through exclusive outlets and, the creators hope, for limited periods. The ability of competitors to produce similar products is restricted by some legislative protection of the design. Consumer confidence in garment quality and the ability to purchase an up-to-date design immediately enable higher prices to be charged. For other products such as socks the latitude to command exclusivity or any special design point that can be reflected in a higher price is more restricted.
The concept of the product life cycle is based on the proposal that all products have a finite 'life cycle' that can be plotted over a given period using the biological analogy of growth, development and decline. It proposes that all products will go through four major stages, namely introduction into the marketplace, growth, maturity and decline. However, it has already been pointed out that the nature of products in the fashion industry varies according to the rate, extent and timescale of acceptance of any new offering. Thus while fashion and fads do make up successful new product introductions, garments that are more classic in nature will never actually go 'out of fashion', nor will they rarely be 'in fashion', rather they will continue to meet established target market requirements. Thus the concept should be modified when analysing various fashion product classifications.
Ability of consumers to defer purchase, obtain repairs, make clothes themselves or buy second-hand goods remain within the consumers' discretion. One related factor that influences the pricing of fashion products is the perceived life of the product. If a garment is seen as a 'classic' that will last for many seasons or years, such as a Barbour jacket or Burberry raincoat, then premium prices are more easily tolerated. In relation to other markets such as power supply, the fashion industry does not enjoy the privilege of producing items whose demand is insensitive to price changes. The nearest that the fashion industry comes to such demand is when there is only a limited supply of a unique design that is eagerly sought by buyers. The speed with which some firms in the industry are able to produce garments that are similarly styled and made from comparable fabrics or fibres means such uniqueness does not go unchallenged for long. The issue here is not one of counterfeits, although that...
Like others involved in the fashion industry the specialist carriers are having to change to meet new demands. Increasingly, their clients are looking for a complete supply chain with JIT supply at the end of it to allow better stock management. This situation is well developed in other parts of the retail industry, notably in the food
Another factor influencing marketing planning is the organizational culture of the firm. As noted in Chapter One, fashion is about change and many managers, in coping with the demands of immediacy, adopt a short-term perspective. Large parts of the fashion industry do appear to lurch from one deadline to another, with the consequence that many managers concentrate on dealing with daily matters and short-term issues. Given the high failure rate of fashion firms and the constant uncertainty in the market, many managers feel that long-term planning is of limited value compared with concentrating on doing immediate tasks well. Another factor inhibiting long-range planning is the mobility of staff within the fashion sector. High labour turnover and headhunting (staff poaching) activities can mean that staffing changes can jeopardize the planning process and the security of marketing plans from the competition.
Within the fashion industry there is enormous variation in the size and structure of businesses serving the needs of customers. From a small business comprising a self-employed knitwear designer to major multinational corporations such as Liz Claiborne or Zara, diversity remains a key feature. With legislative changes and expansion of the EU, the gradual removal of trade barriers on a global scale and the growth of the Internet, the fashion industry is increasingly a global business. This implies considerable variation in the cultural, social and economic perspective of the participants. The consequence of these variations in size, experience and perspective is that the practice of fashion marketing is not uniform at a national level, let alone at an international one.
A central concern of marketing personnel in the fashion industry is balancing the relationship between price and volume. For example, a clothing manufacturer may manufacture 20 000 skirts and wish to know how many must be sold to cover costs. In other words, at what point will the manufacturer break even and begin to earn profits The first example assumes the manufacturer is in a relationship where prices are fixed by fierce competitive pressures and tough negotiating from retail buyers. Break-even analysis is an aid that can show the relationship between fixed costs, variable or marginal costs, total costs, sales revenue and output or volume. Fixed costs are those costs incurred by the fashion company that do not change as the volume of purchases or production changes. Some examples of fixed costs include business rates, purchase of a computer for wages and salaries for security staff. In practice, many fixed costs are variable in the long term, such as costs of plant for...
The global market for apparel, accessories and luxury goods was estimated to be worth US 1217 billion in 2006 and is expected to grow to approximately US 1800 billion by 2011. The company with the largest market share of this vast market is Christian Dior and, despite this great success, the company has approximately 1 of the global market. Global fashion remains one of the largest sectors of world trade that is truly competitive 1.14 million people were employed in apparel manufacture in the European Union (EU) in 2004 and nearly one-third of all imported clothing bought in the EU in 2007 was manufactured in China. The UK fashion industry is estimated to be worth approximately 22 billion in retail sales value in 2008. Apparel manufacturing industry in the UK employed around 83 000 people in 2006, down from over 200 000 a decade earlier. The above statistics reveal that fashion is a large global business sector going through a period of great change. It is the application of marketing...
The cycle of marketing activity begins and ends with consumer needs as the most urgent set of needs is satisfied in the form of appropriate products, others emerge. In turn, these new needs become of prime importance and create the driving force leading to a desire for further new products. Nowhere is this process more apparent than in the fashion industry the continual development and introduction of new products into the marketplace are axiomatic to its very existence.
Fashion is a fascinating subject which stimulates a great many questions, an essential requirement for any academic endeavour. As mainstream marketing educators, the authors of this book brought a range of different expectations and experiences to the area of fashion. All of us have working, teaching, training or consultancy experience in the field of fashion marketing and wanted to write a book that would address real issues and would contribute, in a small way, to make the fashion industry and fashion students more aware of how marketing can enable them to be more effective in their work.
Paris is historically seen as the fashion capital and has the edge on many other cities as its fashion industry is taken very seriously by government and citizens alike. The haute couture designers are protected by the French Chambre Syndicale, which has strict codes of practice for any designer wishing to style him- or herself as an haute couture house. The main French designers are Yves St Laurent, Chanel (now run by Karl Lagerfeld), Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel and Christian Lacroix. The British are also making an impact in France, with Julian MacDonald and John Galliano securing senior designing roles in French fashion houses. The Middle East is now considered the sixth fashion terminus of the world, not because any designs come from here but because it is where the submerged 11 of the fashion industry goes. Much clothing is bought by women either within or while on holiday from such places as Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and...
As a nation we are changing shape and businesses are being forced to cope with the larger customer. Adult obesity rates have almost quadrupled in the past 25 years and now 22 of Britons are obese, classed as having a body mass index of over 30, and three-quarters are overweight. The implications for the fashion industry are obvious
Information gained from the above sources will provide an analytical base for more specialized forecasting techniques. These include the use of ordinal scales to rank product alternatives as well as panels of up to eight people, who are asked to provide a consensus view of forecasts. A consensus is sought to avoid the bias introduced if the opinion of a single person regarding future sales potential was taken. Computer forecasting software has been specially developed for use in the fashion industry, which has facilitated the use of complex statistical techniques.
A further tangible attribute is seen in use of suitable packaging and branding. This is important in image creation, leading to differentiation in the marketplace which can be achieved very effectively through the use of labelling. Branding can be in the form of brand names, logos, trade marks, etc. Certain brand names have become so powerful that they are synonymous with the product. Consumers may talk of their Nike's instead of their training shoes, or of a Burberry instead of a raincoat. In the same way, suitable packaging is as important in the fashion industry as any other.
The frequency of the planning cycle is probably greater in the fashion industry than any other because of its seasonal nature. Changing customer preferences ensures a perpetual drive for change. Volatility in terms of the seasonal variety of products offered and the speeds of change in fashions require skill, creativity, a propensity for risk taking and in-depth knowledge of end-user requirements in order for companies to plan effectively, and implement and control what is being offered in any given season.
Fashion outlets for the youth market tend to be self-service as the 'fashion enthusiasts' are quite happy to select, try on and purchase garments without much help or interference. However, the older consumer may require a personal service in terms of advice and alterations. Therefore, the type of sales assistant recruited by a fashion company tends to attract and reflect the target market in terms of age, size, demographics and lifestyle although legislation against age discrimination may counterbalance this exact reflection of the brand by employees.
A host of American department stores, including Bloomiugdales and Bon Marche, filed for bankruptcy the United States' most famous store, Sears Roebuck, had been reduced to offering everyday low prices bankruptcy also hit the British speciality fashion retailer. Sock Shop International Harvey Nicholls. a fashionable London department store, was sold by its owner, the Burton Group, to Dickson Concepts, the Hong Kong-based retailing and wholesaling group Aquascutum and Daks-Simpson fashion groups were taken over by Japanese companies banks came to the rescue of Germany's Co-op, having agreed to write off loans of gl billion Germany's two largest store groups, Karstadt and liartie, merged Benetton gave tip its financial services business and sought to refocus its efforts on its fashion business. In Japan, small shopkeepers were panicking as the Large-Scale Store Law which unfairly protected their trade was to be repealed.-10
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