OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013 — ISSUE 232 WOMENSWEAR BUYER
— FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE WWB reports from CPM Moscow —
— NORTHERN ROCKS How Manchester has become a new fashion hub —
— PRECISION WORK Marc Cain’s 40 years of international success —
— SHORT STORIES The fast-fashion brands to watch —
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5 EDITOR’S COMMENT — 6 NEWS — 10 BACKSTAGE The other side of womenswear — 12 TALKING POINT — 48 RETAIL FORUM The latest news from the industry — 50 ADVICE Experts answer your questions — 54 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL With Claire Merry —
14 Q&A With Farfetch’s José Neves — 22 EASTERN PROMISES A look at Russia’s challenging but thriving fashion sector — 26 MADE IN GERMANY Marc Cain’s recipe for success — 30 NORTHERN SOUL Manchester’s vibrant fashion scene — 35 RAPID RESPONSE Key players discuss the rise of short order — 44 BUSINESS SOLUTIONS Key experts give retail advice — 46 RETAIL SOLUTIONS Visual display product news —
16 STYLE FILE — 19 10 OF THE BEST Leather accessories — 20 FASHION RADAR — 38 SHORT CUTS The fast-fashion brands to watch — 42 FRONT ROW VIEW The key s/s trends from the catwalks at LFW — FRONT COVER NEON ROSE —
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Editor Isabella Griffiths email@example.com — Contributors Victoria Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Kirkpatrick email@example.com Christina Williams firstname.lastname@example.org — Sub editor Amanda Batley email@example.com — Design & production Michael Podger firstname.lastname@example.org Clive Holloway email@example.com James Lindley firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Boyle email@example.com — Senior advertising sales manager Mina Parmar firstname.lastname@example.org — Sales executive Jasprit Sihra email@example.com — Subscriptions Lydia Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org — Production director Gill Brabham email@example.com — Commercial director Nick Cook firstname.lastname@example.org — Marketing director Stephanie Parker email@example.com — Managing director Colette Tebbutt firstname.lastname@example.org — Reprographics/printing ImageData Group 01482 652323
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THE FORUM OF PRIVATE BUSINESS IS CALLING ON COUNCILS ACROSS THE UK TO LEND SUPPORT TO SMALL BUSINESSES BY WAIVING PARKING CHARGES ON THE FIRST SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY UK ON 7 DECEMBER. — Parking charges are one of the many adversities independents are facing, and their often inflated nature is one of the reasons behind the popularity of out-of-town centres, where parking is available free and in abundance. From a consumer point of view, the migration of shoppers from town centres is understandable – after all, by the time they have added up petrol and parking, the journey is often not worth it. From a business perspective, however, this is of course highly damaging and impacts significantly on retail footfall. Councils would be wise to take the call for reduced prices or alternative options seriously if they don’t want their local high streets to disappear (this, of course, is part of the bigger discussion about the future of the high streets in general). In the spirit of the inaugural Small Business Saturday, which aims to celebrate small businesses across the UK and encourage communities to shop local, The Forum has written to all local authorities to ask them to consider removing parking charges on the day and help provide an added incentive to shoppers to hit their local high streets. And since the campaign launched, several councils have reportedly responded positively to the call and are said to be supporting their local businesses on the day, while a small number are currently trialling free or reduced charge
initiatives on a longer-term basis. But that’s not enough – for the initiative to have impact, more or at least the majority of councils have to come onboard. I know from personal experience what a difference free parking can make. My local town centre offers ample free parking, and I never have to think twice about popping over and buying something in the local stores, or scraping around for the correct change to feed a greedy parking metre for that matter. The town has consequently remained one of the few bustling and busy communities – helped also by lots of local initiatives, such as Italian markets, kids’ entertainment events and so on, which drive shoppers into the centre. The Small Business Saturday is a start, and hopefully more councils will take part. But, to have a lasting positive effect, parking charges need to be seen as an integral part of the bigger picture and be addressed long-term.
Isabella Griffiths, editor
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CONVENIENCE AND RELEVANCE ARE CONSUMER “MUST HAVES” Quality and value are also top of shoppers’ priority lists, an ASBCI Consumer Conference reveals. —
Instant engagement with target consumers in-store and online, locally or globally is becoming vital in securing sales in an increasingly difficult retail environment where shoppers have extensive fashion choice, less money and little time for shopping around. This was the unanimous verdict of speakers – including representatives from Kantar Worldpanel, Asos, M&S, Fits.me and the Ethical Trading Initiative – at the recent ASBCI conference Fashion Impossible? What consumers really want – on trend, on time, in budget… guilt free!” With one in three garments bought in sales, consumers still want value for money and quality, but they also want “easy lives” and a shopping experience that engages with them on a personal level. The speakers, chaired by Dr Julie King, head of fashion & textiles at De Montfort University, agreed. “What consumers really want are easy lives and a deal,” said Ian Mitchell, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel. According to Mitchell, some 46 per cent of Kantar’s 15,000-strong consumer panel said price was the most important factor, followed by 32 per cent quality, 15 per cent look, four per cent brand and three per cent on trend, and that with increasingly stretched financial resources, consumers gravitate to
buying cheaper items, with one in three fashion purchases bought in a promotion. Mitchell concluded that consumers are no longer loyal, so the challenge for retailers is to engage with their target consumer, even when they are spending less time in any store. Matt Batty, international sales manager at Asos, agreed, “It’s all about a relentless focus on our consumers [the 20-somethings].” Batty said that this focus has led Asos away from premium and designer brands “that our average 20-somethings would struggle to afford” towards more accessible labels. He attributed the success of the company – which is expected to achieve sales of £1bn by 2015 – to “getting close” to its consumers through social media, employment of 20-somethings, and having offices in local markets to tailor the business to local language, currency, payment and delivery requirements. The aim of this being to serve its customers on “any device, in any language, by any payment method and anywhere in the world.” Meanwhile, fashion activist and media commentator Caryn Franklin highlighted some ethical questions. She also asked suppliers to look carefully at the messages and images they are using to sell fashion and to question whether these are what most consumers really want or whether
“The clothing industry has a moral obligation to respond to what their customers want (…) and a responsibility to change attitudes – collectively they have the power to do it”
they are detrimental to consumers’ self-esteem. Franklin urged brands and retailers to explore body diversity and individuality, to embrace age, colour, disability in their designs and marketing, and to engage in emotionally considerate practice. “The clothing industry has a moral obligation to respond to what their customers want (…) and a responsibility to change attitudes – collectively they have the power to do it,” she said.
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ANGELA AHRENDTS TO LEAVE BURBERRY Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will step down from her position by mid-2014 and will be succeeded by current chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. Ahrendts is leaving the luxury brand after nearly a decade to take up a new position at Apple. Bailey, who has been at Burberry since 2001, will become joint chief creative and chief executive officer. Commenting on her departure, Ahrendts says, “Burberry is in brilliant shape. It has built the industry’s most powerful management team, converted the business to a dynamic digital global retailer, created a world class supply chain, state of the art technology infrastructure, sensational brand momentum and one of the most closely connected creative cultures in the world today.” Bailey, meanwhile, says he feels “privileged” to be keeping his role as chief creative officer but that he was sad to no longer have “the inspirational leadership of Angela.” —
PROFITS UP AT TED BAKER Ted Baker continued its strong performance across all sales channels, with interim results for the 28 weeks ending 10 August showing a group revenue increase of 30.9 per cent to £155.2m and profit before tax of £12.5m, up by 33 per cent. Retail sales including e-commerce were up 30.2 per cent on a 12.4 per cent increase in average square footage. Retail sales in the UK and Europe were up by 22.6 per cent to £91.6m, while the US and Canada sales grew by 56.8 per cent to £25.4m and Asia saw a sales hike of 78.6 per cent to £5m. Sales through Ted Baker’s e-commerce arm also showed a strong performance, up by 51.6 per cent to £9.4m, with the wholesale business continuing in this vein with a 33.4 per cent increase to £33.2m. Ted Baker is planning a further expansion through its own stores, with two new openings and an outlet in Shanghai. Further concessions include a US department store and an outlet in Toronto, Canada, as well as France, Spain, the Netherlands and an outlet in Belgium. —
STRONGEST ONLINE SALES GROWTH IN 13 YEARS Latest research from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index has revealed that online sales rose by 13 per cent between August and September, the highest growth for this period in the 13-year history of the Index. The clothing sector in particular was a key driver of this growth and recorded a sharp 18 per cent rise compared to this time last year, and the highest growth rate for this sector since June. This is in stark contrast to the negative online growth of two per cent, which was recorded in June and July, though this was mainly caused by the prolonged heat wave in the UK at the time. Overall, the Index was up 20 per cent year-on-year for September, as online sales continue to outperform forecasts. Furthermore, the average basket value reached its highest point since June 2012, which IMRG sees as a positive indicator for the coming Christmas period. — CHIC-YOUNG BLOOD AND THE HUB JOIN FORCES Fashion and lifestyle events Chic-Young Blood and The Hub Hong Kong have joined forces to promote multi-label retail in Greater China. Initiatives agreed through the partnership will include The Hub erecting a mock-up of a multi-label store within the Chic-Young Blood Beijing show on 25-27 October, featuring international brands who showed at the last edition of The Hub in Hong Kong. Chic-Young Blood and Mercedes Benz China Fashion Week, supported by The Hub, will hold a seminar running alongside Chic-Young Blood, featuring an impressive line-up of domestic and international fashion insiders who will explore the challenges and opportunities of multi-retail. —
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CASH INJECTION FUELS EXPANSION AT ISABELLA OLIVER London maternity clothing brand Isabella Oliver has secured a £1.4m investment package from Santander’s Breakthrough programme, which will finance significant developments in the company’s operation, including staffing, systems and processes in a bid to accelerate the growth of the 10-year-old label. The sum is made up of £700,000 growth capital investment and £700,000 debt finance, which will drive sales and marketing initiatives. It will also implement improvements in the brand’s infrastructure to manage an uplift in demand, as well as create 30 new jobs over the next 12 months, taking the workforce from 65 to 95. “It is time to take the next step and invest in the business so that we can reach even more customers at home and abroad,” says Baukjen de Swaan Arons, creative director and founder. “This growth capital package is a perfect way to mix traditional debt funding with a flexible investment finance to help us affordably fund this next stage of our journey.” —
ZALANDO RECEIVES CAPITAL INJECTION German e-tailer Zalando has received a capital injection from global investment firm Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), which has acquired a two per cent stake in the business. The additional capital is set to aid the company’s growth, with further capital increases likely to follow as part of the financing round. This follows the announcement of Anders Holch Povlsen, the owner of Danish Bestseller Group, as a new investor in August, who acquired 10 per cent of the shares in Zalando, and thereby became the company’s third largest shareholder after AB Kinnevik with 36.5 per cent and European Founders Fund with 17 per cent. “We are very happy to welcome OTPP on board as a strong long-term investor,” says managing director Rubin Ritter. “We all share a positive common vision of the online fashion business and want to further strengthen our position as the market leader in European fashion e-commerce. To continue to build this position and our growth, it is a significant strategic advantage to be well equipped with capital.” —
RETAIL-TO-RESI COULD BREATHE LIFE BACK INTO HIGH STREETS The British Property Federation (BPF) has responded to the government proposal for greater flexibility to convert retail property into new housing, saying it will “breathe life into high streets and deliver affordable housing”. With high-street vacancy rates averaging 14 per cent and house-building at historic lows, the BPF expressed enthusiasm for the creation of permitted development rights to enable retail-to-resi development. — HACKNEY “FASHION HUB” APPROVED Hackney is set to welcome the launch of what is dubbed as a Bicester Village-style fashion outlet. With plans to build a £100m fashion outlet approved by Hackney Council, the design itself will include two seven-storey buildings that will replace the temporary structures currently housed by Pringle, Aquascutum and The Hackney Shop. The Hackney Fashion Hub will feature a mix of high-end designers with local emerging talent. — CHRISTMAS SPEND TO BE HIGHEST SINCE RECESSION Market analyst Verdict has predicted spending growth to £88bn (£52bn on non-food and £36bn on food and grocery) for the last quarter of this year, constituting an increase of £2bn on 2012 as non-food sectors recover. The Christmas trading period this year is therefore set to see its strongest performance since the recession hit. Online will remain the star performer, set to produce £11.6bn and growth of 12 per cent, with improved deliveries and the rise of Click & Collect contributing to the rise. According to Verdict, consumers will leave spending to the last minute knowing they are in control of collecting their online purchases leading to the holidays. —
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BUSINESS RATES TO RISE BY £242M NEXT YEAR Retailers will be hit with a further £242m rise on business rates next year, as September’s retail price index (RPI) – which is used to calculate the rates – rose by 3.2 per cent. The British Retail Consortium estimates that for every £1 in corporation tax paid by retailers, they will pay £3.44 in business rates, a jump of nearly £1 since 2005. According to the BRC, this puts 19,670 full-time jobs at risk due to potential shop closures and reduced investment. “Across the country today, retailers are adding up what this increase in the RPI will mean for the cost of their business rates next year,” says Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general. “Many will be wondering whether they will be able to stay open. “New analysis by the BRC shows that because of this increase, retailers are going to be paying £3.44 in business rates for every £1 they pay in corporation tax in 2014,” she continues. “That’s a rise from £2.48 in 2005 and demonstrates just how radically our tax system has changed and how hard our high streets are being hit.” —
EBAY TEAMS UP WITH ARGOS Online marketplace eBay and high-street retailer Argos have joined forces to offer a new Click & Collect service, allowing shoppers to purchase products from selected eBay merchants and pick them up in Argos stores nationwide. Initially, around 50 eBay merchants will participate in the trial, with 150 Argos stores in primary locations across the UK offering the collection service. “At eBay we continue to find new ways to connect buyers and sellers,” says Devin Wenig, president, eBay. “Our mission is connecting people with the things they need and love. Traditional retail isn’t going away; it is transforming.” —
NEW DATES FOR SCOOP INTERNATIONAL Scoop International, the premium contemporary womenswear show, will take place on the earlier dateline of 19-21 January next year. The bi-annual event, now in its seventh edition, will once again showcase a/w 14 collections at two venues – Saatchi Gallery in the heart of Chelsea and Phillips within close proximity to Victoria. “We tend to show in mid-February, however the positive implication of bringing the dates forward is that fashion designers selling earlier in the season look likely to have an advantage over those going with later dates, with many buyers looking to commit their budgets as early as possible,” says Karen Radley, MD of Scoop International. With over 400 UK and international premium, contemporary and directional labels, Scoop International offers buyers exclusive access to designers not seen at any other UK show. A raft of newcomers will be making their debut, including 88 and Half, a collection of luxurious sheepskin outerwear, and fur specialist The Soho Furrier. —
HALSTON HERITAGE LAUNCHES DIGITAL FLAGSHIP US brand Halston Heritage has launched its first e-commerce store today, which will process shipment into 80 countries worldwide, including the US, Canada, the EU and Asia Pacific nations. The site puts emphasis on latest technology with a luxury brand experience and easy-to-shop functionality, and complements Halston Heritage’s ongoing digital strategy. It also follows the roll-out of Halston Heritage retail stores earlier this year, which will bring the total of boutiques to 20 stores worldwide by the end of the year. — MODA IN PELLE CASHES IN ON M-COMMERCE GROWTH UK footwear brand Moda in Pelle has updated its mobile app with a stronger editorial focus and consumer-friendly shopping facility, after doubling its mobile conversion rates since the original launch of the app last November. More than 14,000 shoppers have downloaded the app, with 2,500 customers using it every month, generating an average order value of £64. The shopping app for iPhone and iPad was created by London developer Poq Studio, and includes new features such as a shoppable lookbook, a wish list and a homepage with changing promotions. — SÉRAPHINE ON EXPANSION TRAIL Maternity fashion brand Séraphine will be opening a new boutique on Marylebone High Street on 4 November. It’s the third store in the company’s retail portfolio, which has existing branches in Hampstead and Kensington. The opening follows a successful year for Séraphine, which generated a turnover of £5.2m in the year ending March 2013. Website traffic has increased by 100 per cent in the financial year, and turnover is expected to rise again to exceed the £8m mark by the end of the next financial year. —
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BACKSTAGE The other side of womenswear —
RECORD SUM RAISED FOR CHARITY
DENTS’ LONGEST SERVING EMPLOYEE RETIRES HEATHER AMBROSE, ONE OF DENTS’ LONGEST SERVING EMPLOYEES, HAS RETIRED AFTER 45 YEARS WITH THE COMPANY. SHE JOINED THE BRAND IN 1968 ON A WAGE OF JUST £7 A WEEK. AMBROSE (PICTURED ABOVE LEFT WITH DENTS CEO DEBORAH MOORE) SAYS HIGHLIGHTS OF HER CAREER INCLUDE THE VISITS FROM MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY, ALONGSIDE MANY OTHER HAPPY MEMORIES FROM HER TIME WITH THE COMPANY. “IT HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL COMPANY TO WORK FOR,” SHE SAYS. —
Teams from across the fashion industry descended on the Forest of Dean last month for the eighth annual Prima Solutions Adventure Challenge, supported by WWB. Twenty nine teams from the likes of Superdry, Michael Kors, Kering, Hobbs, Hugo Boss and Prima Solutions raised a record £60,000 for poverty relief WHITE STUFF charity Care International. DOES CHARI-TEA The challenge saw the — teams (including our Lifestyle brand White Stuff very own team from has raised over £28k for ITE Moda, publisher of charity from its annual National Wear a Tea Cosy On WWB, pictured), endure a Your Head Day initiative. 9km canoe relay, 16km — mountain bike ride and a 17km hike under the toughest conditions yet. The money raised will support garment workers in developing countries. —
This year’s Christmas lights at Regent Street will depict the new DreamWorks animated film Mr Peabody & Sherman. The switch-on takes place on 9 November and will see Regent Street traffic-free and playing host to a catwalk fashion show. Many of the famous Regent Street fashion brands will feature, such as Jaeger, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
L-R: UKFT CEO John Miln, left, with Achilleas Constantinou, founder of womenswear label Ariella, right, and James Caan.
Deryane Tadd crowned retail ambassador Deryane Tadd, owner of St Albans indie The Dressing Room, has been named as Specsavers Everywoman in Retail Ambassador 2013 in a brand new initiative designed to boost awareness of the opportunities offered by a career in retail. Tadd was praised by the jury as “a shining example of the opportunities retail offers to progress up the ranks”. —
JAMES CAAN CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR ENTREPRENEURS Leading entrepreneur James Caan has highlighted the importance of SMEs to the future success of the economy, and called for better support for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Caan was speaking to leaders from across the fashion industry during a breakfast hosted by the UK Fashion & Textiles Association (UKFT). He shared insights into his illustrious career, as well as his latest project, leading the government-funded Start Up Loans scheme, which has already invested in over 8,000 new businesses. —
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TALKING POINT Key industry players give their views on the issue that affect womenswear. —
THE “BACKBONE” OF THE COUNTRY NEEDS MORE SUPPORT
REFLECTIONS OF A DECADE IN SHEEPSKIN
Cameron and Osborne are convinced that we are no longer bumping along the bottom of the economy graph, and yet companies such as Marks & Spencer have decided to squeeze their poor and hard-pressed suppliers into accepting (how could they do otherwise?) their extended payment terms. Would they be doing this if everything was peachy in the Great Britain garden? I think not.
I am sitting in my car/mobile office with the dongle in the USB of the laptop, on deadline for the column promised to my favourite WWB editor. One of my kids, son #2 (I have too many so I number them) plays for a youth team at a football academy, and I am parked up so that I can watch him train and write my column at the same time.
Why is it that everyone seems to think they can pick on the small manufacturers – who are lauded as the backbone of the small business community, and who Cameron says are to thank for the economy turning the corner – as their personal piggy banks? All the big high-street names demand unreasonable credit terms, and why on earth should they get away with it? We all know that once they have squeezed the last drop of profit out of a manufacturer, for which they are expected to feel grateful, high-street giants have been known to get some poor souls to tool up especially to produce the required quantities – only to be left bereft and penniless when the big named chain suddenly decides to either manufacture abroad or just plain changes their mind. To underpin the government’s lack of judgement, you have the ridiculous situation of Mary Portas being asked to help and review the high street on their behalf, with the outcome a truly insulting and derisory £100k for 12 chosen towns to revitalise their high streets. Do they really think that £100k, which at best is the cost of a re-fit for an average-sized store, is going to make all the difference to all the empty shops and demoralised people? To rub salt in the wounds, we find that Portas lied to the Select Committee initially about her payment for doing the review, and pocketed £500k to tell us all something that doesn’t work in reality. The fee might have been better spent helping one town turn things around rather than the abysmal result for this exercise, with two of the winning towns now recording an even higher number of empty shops. There are fundamental problems that have to be fixed. Top among them is the issue of business rates, which are sadly unlikely to come down because of the valuations of the properties at the peak of the market. And local councils and those holding massive property portfolios don’t want to see them reassessed, as otherwise the benefits they are currently receiving will end abruptly. Once again, big business wins, and the “backbone” of the country carries the bucket of responsibility and misery. —
I re-read the email exchange of earlier today. Aside from a brief topic discussion, she also requests an update following the launch of Love From Australia’s (LFA) new ballerina range, MyLFA. “You certainly seem to have a good nose for the next trend, as ballerinas with the small block heel are everywhere and very on trend!” she writes. I must confess I allow myself a full minute of enjoying the idea of self as a fashion-forward, trend-spotting guru, and I am particularly pleased with the reference to “a good nose” (as opposed to a good eye) since I sport a fine-sized nose and am a life member of the big nose club. But, in truth, it was not my nose but the intuition of a PR exec at LFA’s agency, Snow London, that saw us add the block heel to our ballerina range. The sheepskin-lined pumps with changeable snakeskin and sequin trims were fabulously comfortable and looked as good as any other ballerina on the foot, but they needed an extra something, and the metallic and patent block heels were her genius suggestion. She is also adept at working the free bars at events to secure pints of Jäegermeister, so a talented young woman all round. The success of new brands such as LFA can be driven by good ideas from the people around you. I think of the amazing buyers in independent boutiques and shoe stores with a good eye, nose and gut for the next big thing, but also whose very choices and store rails influence the direction of fashion each season. I recall one such buyer remark to her assistant, “Imagine this but with shocking coloured ribbons”, and our iconic Venus boot with fuchsia-pink ties was born. The same boot became the Nomad a year later after a family member wished out loud there was something to make the ribbons “more manageable”. The addition of eyelets shot us to fame when actress Sienna Miller bought herself a pair of Nomads in autumn 2005. I switch back to the present as my son runs over to the car complaining that his feet are cold… “I wish you made your boots in football boots, mum,” he says. And while I cannot claim to have a good nose for the next trend, it seems I do have a good ear. Or rather I know a good idea when I hear one. —
Sally Allen-Gerard, founder, Wizard Jeans
Tara Knapp, owner and founder, Love From Australia
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José Neves — FARFETCH IS A WEBSITE THAT HAS GIVEN SOME OF THE BEST HIGHER-END BOUTIQUES IN THE UK AND EUROPE A PLATFORM TO WIDEN THEIR REACH AND RAISE THEIR CHANCES OF SUCCESSFUL ONLINE TRADING TO TRULY COMPLEMENT THEIR BRICKS-AND-MORTAR BUSINESSES. TOM BOTTOMLEY FINDS OUT MORE FROM FOUNDER JOSÉ NEVES. —
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Tom Bottomley: You’re perhaps better known in the footwear business, so what’s your background? José Neves: I am originally from Portugal. I started my first company when I was 19 and still at university. I started to develop software for the fashion industry. It was about supply chain management, inventory and point of sale – business-to-business software to help shops. I started to design the Swear shoe collection in 1995 and showed at trade shows in Italy and Germany. I came out of those exhibitions with an international shoe business – selling to the likes of Office. I was also selling to stores in France, Dubai and Japan, and it was a real eye opener in terms of having a “global” business, and being able to escape Portugal! I always wanted to live in London – my favourite city. I came here and opened a tiny shoe store on Neal Street in Covent Garden under the Swear name. That was in 1996, when Neal Street was the street to be on for a shoe business. Swear was the first brand of a portfolio of shoe labels. In 2001, I opened the B Store shop on Conduit Street, selling B Store shoes and other emerging designers’ clothes. And we started doing shoes under global licence for Opening Ceremony from New York and Surface2Air from Paris, followed by Markus Lupfer and a cool Japanese label called Poga. All shoes are made in Portugal. My wholesale and licensing business is called Six London. TB: Did that background lead you to start up Farfetch? JN: Yes, because I knew all of the boutiques and independent businesses around the world from either selling to them or trying to sell to them. It gave me a good insight into retail and how important the internet is for retailers these days, as well as how difficult it is to get an internet business off the ground, because they don’t have a technology background, as I do. So it appeared to me that all these small independent boutiques, if they didn’t find a platform to reach a global market, would get weaker and weaker and eventually disappear. I thought something
“IF YOU DON’T HAVE AMAZING SUPPLIERS, YOU DON’T GET CUSTOMERS, BECAUSE WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY VISIT YOUR MARKETPLACE IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT PRODUCT? AND YOU DON’T GET THE SALES IF YOU DON’T GET THE TRAFFIC. IT’S ABOUT SUPPLY AND DEMAND” needed to be done, and also something that would be fantastic for consumers who like to see diversity in fashion, and different viewpoints. TB: So when did you launch Farfetch? JN: October 2008, five years ago this month. We launched with around 25 boutiques from four different countries, including five or six from the UK, such as Diverse in Islington, who supported the project from day one. It was amazing because from the beginning we had traction – people coming to the site and buying. The early days were tough, because we are a marketplace in essence, and marketplaces have a chicken and egg problem. If you don’t have amazing suppliers, you don’t get customers, because why the hell would they visit your marketplace if you don’t have the right product? And you don’t get the sales if you don’t get the traffic. But we have been able to build it organically, and we’ve always used online marketing, Google AdWords and social networks. TB: How has the business developed? JN: We now have boutiques from around 20 countries in Europe, as well as shops in the US and Brazil. The boutiques sell to customers from all around the world, but America is now our biggest market, representing 30 per cent of sales. E-commerce is a complex business these days. It’s easy to start a website. Services such as Shopify mean anyone can open their own online shop in next to no time. But it’s also never been so difficult to get traction. Suddenly, in fashion alone, you’re competing with thousands of websites. For you to get visibility and world-class customer service levels is a different thing. For example, we have 24-hour customer service in five different languages. We now have five offices – in London, New York, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Portugal. We started out with 12 people, now we have 300. TB: Why do you need to employ so many people? JN: It’s a complex machine, from getting the product photographed professionally and
descriptions written and tariff codes applied so you can export internationally, to negotiating with DHL and other carriers for the most competitive prices. Then there’s extensive online marketing and the fraud team. We’ve heard horror stories of boutiques who come to us thinking their website was doing well, but actually they had £20,000-£30,000 worth of fraudulent transactions. Even though the bank approved it, if it’s a fraudulent transaction the merchant is viable. We have the burden of the risk, so we fraud check every transaction. TB: How would you best describe the Farfetch business? JN: It’s a digital cooperative for boutiques. They do the most important part, which is buying and curating amazing fashion, and we provide the platform for them to be able to tap the online channel on a global level. We get a percentage of each sale and we obviously need to leave an attractive profit margin for the boutiques. TB: Are you a profitable business? JN: I would say by the beginning of 2014 we will start to be in profit. It’s growing fast, next year I foresee another 100 per cent growth. It’s a huge growth, but the truth is it’s a global market that we’re tapping into, so we’re still scratching the surface. The online global market is worth in the region of $50bn, so we’re just a fraction of it. But we’re an agile business, because we don’t need to buy the stock, we just need to find the right boutiques. They have the stock risk, we have the overheads risk. Some of the more mature businesses we’ve been working with for a few years buy specifically for their presence on Farfetch. TB: What is the ratio between womenswear and menswear at Farfetch? JN: It’s 25 per cent menswear, which is very healthy because it’s representative of the product available through us. Womenswear is 75 per cent of sales, and is 75 per cent of the product. Per product, menswear is as successful as womenswear. The women’s fashion market is larger than the men’s at this luxury high-end level because, quite simply, women buy more. TB: Is “luxury” the remit in order to be able to come in under the Farfetch umbrella? JN: Yes, I would say so, but it’s more about the retailer’s viewpoint in fashion. If a store is interested and sends us an email saying they sell the likes of Givenchy, Dior, Balenciaga and so on, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything to us. We need to go and see the store, and see how they buy. It’s great they buy luxury labels, but they need to buy them in a cool way, because if they buy them in the old fashioned way, with just the brand’s classic pieces, it’s not interesting. We’re a curator of curators.
16 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
STYLE FILE The hottest brands not to miss this month —
▲ PRACTICAL ELEGANCE Buckitt is the brainchild of shoe and leather goods designer Rae Jones, who wanted to create a hardwearing, multi-purpose bag made from the finest, highest-grade leather – a bag smart enough to be upmarket yet tough enough to carry the groceries in. The result is a stylish blend of functionality and elegance while being lightweight to carry and available with a detachable long leather strap. —
LIKE A GRECIAN GODDESS Marianna G is the label of Marianna Goulandris, a young designer of Greek heritage, who launched her line last year after studying swimwear design. The collection draws inspiration from Greek landscapes and culture, providing a comprehensive beach holiday wardrobe that ranges from bikinis and swimsuits to kaftans and accessories. —
— Jewellery designer Isla Fontaine has launched her second collection called Musa, a range of geometric forms with an ethnic mood. —
Havva delivers chic women’s footwear styles that embrace simplicity of lines and use only the highest-quality materials. Individuality and seasonal signature pieces characterise the range. —
▲ GIRLS GET TRASHED Trash womenswear takes its inspiration from Rita Ora, capturing an uninhibited urban feel while flaunting individuality. Focusing on bold, “out there” graphic prints, the collection ranges from crop tops to oversized embellished sweatshirts, T-shirts and body-con dresses. — STYLE FLASH
Etre’s a/w collection draws on the traditions of British workwear. The range includes iconic pieces such as fishermen’s sweaters alongside the innovative Etre Touchy and Fivepoint gloves, which have been made specifically for the use with mobile devices. —
— Knitwear designer Amy Hall’s latest collection for s/s 14 is inspired by the ethereal beauty of British seascapes, offering a mix of the brand’s classic hero pieces and edgy new styles and shapes. —
Jewel in the crown I Love a Lassie is a new brand by Edinburgh jeweller Arlene Katorza, and offers design-led but commercial jewellery. The playful collection mixes nostalgia with contemporary style, with each piece cast in solid sterling silver and offered in 18ct yellow gold vermeil, 18ct rose gold vermeil and black rhodium finishes. —
19 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
STOCK UPDATE —
THE 10 BEST
LEATHER ACCESSORIES 01
STYLE TIP — Opt for vibrant colours and unusual leather treatments for an eye-catching effect – not just as a style statement, but also within your in-store display. —
Unless stated otherwise, all prices are wholesale
STYLE TIP — Small leather goods are a perfect add-on sale, and mobile phone and tablet cases are particularly on-trend and popular at the moment, so make sure you stock up on these stylish essentials. —
Whether it’s mobile or tablet cases, chic wallets, clutches or cardholders, leather accessories are the chicest way to carry one’s precious belongings. WWB takes its pick of the best styles to get in-store now. —
01 Tissa Fontaneda, price on request, 020 7828 0118 02 Makki, £54, 07855 277159 03 Mimi Berry, £35, 020 7729 6699 04 Becksondergaard, £11.50, 020 7481 2418 05 Dents, £24, 01985 212291
06 Pieces, £6.40, 020 7650 2025 07 House of Cases, €19, 0049 40386700 08 Nadia Minkoff, £21, 020 8202 1099 09 Betty & Betts, £28.75, 07702 694412 10 Forbes & Lewis, £18, 07818 416939
20 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
FASHION RADAR The hottest brands to look out for right now —
Cashmere specialist Ahilya has gone from scarf brand to fashion-forward knitwear range with a distinct design edge.
Wondaland takes inspiration from Paris to the Orient, with a little bit of Bianca Jagger and Studio 54 thrown in, achieving an easy-to-wear, day-to-night look.
Signature style: Ahilya combines different textures in a way that brings together the heritage of cashmere with a modern and feminine aesthetic.
Signature style: Unique prints feature on immaculately cut dresses, separates and tailoring, which the brand has become known for.
The brand was founded by Manuela Moollan, who was attracted to cashmere on her travels to India, out of a desire to bring the product to a European customer in a way that was relevant and fashion forward, instead of a predominantly ethnic signature. The collection started with scarves, but has progressed to include knitwear pieces, as well as a small selection of outerwear pieces. Moollan uses lace inserts in distinctive ways, with dropped shoulders, oversized sweaters, chunky rib-edge trims or rolled sleeves key characteristics. Typically, Ahilya is aimed at a woman who is in her 30s, feminine, with an understated cool and a busy, modern life. The brand is currently stocked in high-profile independent boutiques such as Tsum in Russia, Lanes in Hong Kong, as well as Avenue 32, Barbara Harris and Wolf and Badger in the UK, and is looking to expand its stockist base further. Ahilya is pitched as an affordable luxury brand, with wholesale prices ranging from £90 to £140. —
Having worked as head designer for Evisu in Hong Kong after graduating from Central Saint Martins, designer Alice Keswick moved on to Paris to work at Pop magazine before becoming a buyer for vintage specialist Atelier Mayer and eventually launching her own label, Wondaland. The brand has since honed in on its tailoring, with structured pieces among the key styles in the collection. However, it is also known for its floaty blouses, summer dresses and jersey pieces. The label has developed a vintage lace, modernised with a neon thread and embroidered in the pattern, which has created a more grown-up take on the neon trend. Wholesale prices range between £35 for a T-shirt or blouse and £80 for an evening dress. —
22 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
EASTERN PROMISES Russia’s fashion trade show CPM Moscow celebrated its 10th anniversary last month, having become the key meeting point for foreign labels and multi-brand retailers in the region. Isabella Griffiths visited the event and reports on the challenges and opportunities of the complex but dynamic Russian fashion sector. —
riving from the airport into the centre of Moscow, one can’t escape the multitude of contrasts the foreign visitor is confronted with. On the outskirts, amid miles and miles of bland tower blocks typical of Eastern Block architecture, sit countless shopping centres hosting everything from cars and clothing to Swedish furniture and grocery superstores, oozing a strange concoction of consumerism and post-communist gloom. The city centre, meanwhile, steeped in history, presents an imposing mixture of the past and present, where traditional architecture meets state-of-the-art retail temples from the biggest international high-street names, which sit alongside the who’s who of luxury brands, who are all represented in the Russian capital. Russia has been a gold mine for most international players who were quick to set-up branches here and capitalise on the country’s huge appetite for Western goods, with fashion having been a key segment over the last decade or so. It has been a lucrative, if rather challenging, market to operate in, but it has offered most companies huge returns on investment once they overcame the hurdles associated with exporting to the country, such as tough customs regulations, poor infrastructure, complicated logistics, corruption, the huge operational outlay and the obvious language barriers and cultural differences. “The Russian fashion industry is still in its early stages, but the sector has made huge progress in the past 10 years,” says Reinhard Döpfer, chairman of the European Fashion and Textile Export Council (EFTEC). “Russian apparel used to be primarily sold at markets and bazaars, where it was packed tightly together on the
racks. Russian fashion stores used to black out their windows and leave their window displays empty for fear of attracting criminals,” he says. This obviously changed significantly with the arrival of international retail chains, who introduced their systems and CIs into the shopping landscape and, as Döpfer says, “professionalised” Russian retail set-ups. According to Döpfer, up until the economic crisis hit Russia in 2009, Russians spent an average of more than 15 per cent of disposable income on clothing and footwear, particularly in the boom years between 2004 and 2007. While that spend has now dropped, it still accounts for around 10 per cent, which is nevertheless impressive, considering that countries such as Germany, for instance, spend little more than five per cent on clothing. In this respect, Russia remains a rewarding territory for fashion players. However, the Russian clothing sector is in transition yet again. While the past 10 years or so have been dominated by a strong demand for luxury goods, consumer behaviour is changing dramatically; clothing brands are no longer considered a status symbol and have been replaced by iPhones, iPads, handbags and jewellery, and a more rational, price-conscious and smarter shopper is emerging. Often Russians now hold out for sales and discounts, and prefer to buy premium and luxury clothing during their travels to foreign destinations, where they can save as much as 50 per cent on the inflated prices in their country. Furthermore, online purchases from international and national e-commerce platforms are soaring. “This new consumer behaviour in relation to clothing results from a widely spread mistrust of the Russian consumer in the ‘true value’ of clothing,” says Döpfer. “The flooding of the Russian market with
23 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
counterfeited clothing brands over the past 10 years, together with highly discounted stock sales of premium and luxury brands by luxury retailers such as Mercury in 2008 and 2009, have ruined the image of brands from a general perspective. The Russian consumer of today counts first on price, quality, fibre content and fit to body size before colour, styling and fashion content.” This may be bad news for players in the luxury and value sectors (which is mainly serviced by national operators), but it has led to an increase in mid-market players, who have seen strong growth over the last few years. “The mid-market sector has grown fast at much higher rates – double than the upper-medium, premium or luxury clothing markets,” says Döpfer. “It’s what Russian retailers call the “affordable” price segment, which has grown tremendously to take up to 60 per cent of the Russian retail market value since 2010.” CPM Moscow is the region’s main fashion trade show and was among the early players to have tapped into this trend, and is now the key meeting place for more than 1,600 collections – mainly from the mid-market sector – from 34 countries, and has seen vast growth itself since its early beginnings 10 years ago. Germany and Italy are the two biggest exhibitor countries at the show, with brands such as Steilmann, Gelco, Luisa Cerano and Tricot Chic among the established exhibitors with a significant following among Russian retailers. UK wholesale brands are yet to venture into the Russian market on a bigger scale, with this season’s edition, which took place on 4-7 September, having only attracted eight UK brands, including Marble, Shubette, Bonzai, Cottonreal, Black Indigo, Rockferry, Saville Heaton and Leathertex. According to Paul Alger, director of international business development for the UK Fashion & Textiles Association (UKFT), many British brands are put off by the notorious complexities of exporting to Russia, despite grants and support being available, and the country’s bad reputation of corruption and crime. “In reality, Russia is like any other new market, and of course there are always country specific considerations that companies who want to enter need to take into account,��� he says. “However, Russia has got a far worse image than the reality, and it is something that Russia itself needs to tackle if it wants to improve its international trade.” Marble Fashions is one of the UK exhibitors at CPM, and has been showing there for three seasons. Nick Williams, the company’s director, says that although it is not an easy territory to conquer, it is worth it in the long run. “No matter what market a brand is entering, there are always challenges,” he says. “None more so than duties and freight and of course language and legal barriers. Any company must be prepared to be in it for the long haul, ensuring that their offering and customer service continues to deliver season after season. Any brand considering entering the Russian market must also realise the sheer scale and distances of travelling within the country. Moscow and St Petersburg are the two main hubs, but there are also 13 other towns with a population of one million or more to consider. It’s a huge developing market with vast undiscovered potential. Be prepared to do the groundwork, though.” And market entry into Russia is unlikely to get any less complicated in the future. Three years ago the Eurasian Customs Union (EAC) was established – a union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, with the aim of improving trade between the countries. It was the first step to forming a broader economic collaboration of former Soviet states based on the EU model, which also includes protectionist agreements that regulate the import of apparel and textiles. From 1 July next year, new consumer safety legislation is
being implemented that sees the introduction of new safety certificates, which can only be obtained if companies seek legal entity status (register as an OOO) in one of the EAC states. These new rulings will particularly hit smaller and medium sized European brands who sell directly to retail clients in the EAC area hard, as most are yet to take the necessary steps. The same goes for fashion agencies and import distributors. Döpfer says that the majority of these players have not made provisions for the – costly – changes, though in the long run they will aid a speedier customs process as well as offer currency and tax advantages. One must not forget that multi-brand retailing is still in its infancy in Russia and the former Soviet states, which can pose its own challenges. Few boutique owners have had formal retail training, which also goes for the sales staff they employ, therefore budget planning, industry jargon and customer service, for example, are often not well developed. It can be a different way of working for many foreign labels, which is why it is so important to have local representation on the ground, to overcome cultural differences and the language barriers as well as tapping into local knowledge. “We do not advise fashion companies to come to Russia on their own, without an agent or distributor,” says Christian Kasch, CPM’s project director, which is why the show has established a match-making function on its website, where it brings together foreign labels with suitable local agents and distributors. That said, the Russian clothing sector is still growing at around 8-10 per cent in nominal terms. And, while Moscow and St Petersburg are heavily saturated markets, growth is still to be had from the regional provinces, particularly the “12 first-tier Russian provincial cities and from a larger number of second tier cities and towns,” says Döpfer. Further momentum comes from an increasingly casual way of dressing, with Russians ditching the formal and often ostentatious dress codes of the past in favour of a more relaxed and laid-back style. This is primarily driven by the arrival of (premium) denim brands, which have made it acceptable to wear jeans for work and play. This has fuelled the creation of a smart casual segment in the market for the first time, and it is expected that the denim sector will increase its market share in Russia by up to 40 per cent over the next five years. Russia may be a challenging market, but it undoubtedly still presents huge opportunities for brands who invest in a proper set-up and infrastructure. “It is still a gold mine for foreign companies that have optimised their supply chain management,” says Döpfer. And, for many labels yet to make the move into Russia, it may be an investment well worth making. CPM AT A GLANCE - CPM – Collection Premiere Moscow – was established in September 2003, and is organised by German trade event specialist Igedo - The show takes place at the Expocentre fairground in the heart of Moscow - The event covers womenswear, menswear, kidswear, lingerie and bodywear, as well as hosting a premium hall and a denim area, Fashion & Denim - The last edition attracted more than 1,600 collections from 34 countries, covering an extended exhibition space of 58,000 sq m - Around 19,500 trade visitors attended the four-day event - The next edition will take place on 25-28 February 2014
24 WOMENSWEAR BUYER wwb-online.co.uk — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
THE ESSENTIAL RESOURCE FOR THE WOMENSWEAR INDUSTRY. —
wwb-online.co.uk Wwb-online.co.uk is the essential free business tool, bringing you industry advice, up-to-the-minute news, insightful features and trend information at the click of a button. From the team behind WWB magazine, the website covers every aspect of the womenswear industry. Frequently updated news across a broad range of topics will help you keep your finger on the pulse, while a variety of unique content that complements WWB’s comprehensive industry and style reports brings you rounded, in-depth knowledge and information. Brand spotlights, short-order specials and trend overviews are just some of the must-read features, all of which will aid your buying decisions and help enhance your in-store offer. The retail section provides further vital inspiration, covering everything from visual merchandising ideas to advice and suggestions from the brains behind some of the UK’s most successful independents. Articles in the People section focus on the movers and shakers across womenswear, to give you the inside track on what makes them tick and how they stay ahead of the game. —
MAKE WWB-ONLINE.CO.UK YOUR DAILY SOURCE OF ESSENTIAL FASHION INDUSTRY INFORMATION – IT’S ONLY A CLICK AWAY. — To advertise on wwb-online.co.uk call Mina on 01484 846069 or email Mina@ras-publishing.com
NEWS Industry news that’s relevant to you, from new launches to trading predictions and business reports. — RETAIL Want to explore multi-channelling in order to drive sales, learn more about the latest market research or gain inspiration for visual merchandising? You’ll find it all here – and it could prove highly profitable. — BRANDS Useful profiles of familiar favourites and up-and-coming brands alike, along with broader features on their evolution, strategy and direction. — OPINION Read what the experts think about current and ongoing issues affecting the industry – their insights could prove invaluable to your business. — FEATURES Reports, interviews and brand profiles on the issues, industry figures and companies everyone wants to know about. — TRENDS Short and forward order collections, ranging from fashion and footwear to inspirational add-on product. — EVENTS As well as previews and reviews, wwb-online.co.uk will keep you informed about the essential dates for your diary. — BLOG WWB’s bloggers are passionate about the fashion industry and always have something interesting to say. Find out what’s getting them talking.
www.crimsonandclover.co.uk Tel: 01984624214 Mob: 07940192443
26 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
MADE IN GERMANY Having put innovation and investment at the core of its company strategy, Marc Cain is going from strength to strength, having tripled its turnover over the last decade. Isabella Griffiths catches up with head of distribution Thomas Herter to talk about the brand’s 40 years of success and its UK operation. —
arc Cain in facts and figures makes for an impressive read. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the German premium brand, which exports into 59 countries and operates 164 Marc Cain stores, 275 shop-in-shops and is represented in a further 941 stores worldwide. The company employs more than 800 people at its headquarters in Bodelshausen, and between 2007 and 2012 invested ¤70m in a new production and administration building there, presiding over 42,000 sq m. More work is being undertaken with the construction of a new logistics centre at the head office, due to be completed at the end of next year, which will have a surface area of 7,000 sq m and a holding capacity of 500,000 items hung on clothes hangers and 1.25 million flat-packed items, with the fully automated warehouse going into operation in spring 2015. It’s another significant investment of around ¤30m. The brand’s state-of-the-art production facilities house 88 ultra modern knitting machines, which process 240,000 kg of yarn per year (enough to wrap the earth around 59 times!), as well as its latest Knit & Wear machines, which allow a
pullover to be finished by one machine in one single operation. It is a unique concept to Marc Cain and which offers knitwear that is 100 per cent Made in Germany. The brand is evidently going from strength to strength, and has tripled its turnover over the last 10 years, reaching the ¤223m mark last year. And a two-digit plus in turnover with significant profits is expected yet again for 2013. It’s a result of frugal investments in product and production and precision work in every aspect of its operation. Frugality is at the core of the business strategy, perhaps a very German mentality of spending and investing within your means, which has clearly stood the company in good stead. For its anniversary, there are no ostentatious parties and self promotion, instead, the brand has chosen to go about its daily business as usual. “We prefer to put the money back into the business, and only spend what we have,” says head of distribution Thomas Herter. “At the end of the day, we want to earn money, and we want our customers to earn money with us.” It’s a sentence he repeats frequently throughout the conversation, and it clearly sums up the Marc Cain mantra. For Herter, Marc Cain’s consistent success and growth are
27 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
“When Marc Cain is the strongest and most consistent performer in your store, as a retailer it’s worth taking a look at your options and realising that often the franchise route is the most profitable one. We want to make money with our customers, and our customers need to make money with us”
primarily down to the product; everything else comes after. “The product and the quality are the most important, which is why we put so much emphasis on innovation and product development,” he says. “No amount of marketing can achieve long-lasting credibility if you don’t have the goods to match. Of course, success boils down to the whole package – a great product, good value for money, great merchandising and the right partners – but the product takes centre stage.” It is this dedication to quality that has earned Marc Cain the loyalty of its customers worldwide, both on retail and consumer level. Having been operating in the UK since the 80s, Marc Cain is a household name, with 105 exclusive stockists and currently three mono-brand stores in Belfast, Jersey and St Albans, which are all run on a franchise basis. Despite such a long presence in the UK market, Herter says the UK still offers great potential, particularly when it comes to developing mono-brand stores with selected franchise partners. “We don’t enter into a franchise agreement lightly. We have to have the right partners, and usually this means that one of our existing stockists expands with a mono-brand Marc Cain store or turns its existing shop into a Marc Cain boutique. “When Marc Cain is the strongest and most consistent performer in your store, as a retailer it’s worth taking a look at your options and realising that often the franchise route is the most profitable one,” he continues. “We want to make money with our customers, and our customers need to make money with us. This is one of the reasons why – unlike many other brands – we only open stores and haven’t had to close any,” he adds, not without pride. Two years ago Marc Cain opened its own showroom at Devon House on Great Portland Street, which is run by agent Sarah Morgan. It is kitted out in Marc Cain CI and interiors, which are consistent across the world (and incidentally also produced by Marc Cain’s in-house interior department in Germany, which employs over 20 staff consisting of interior designers, technical illustrators and carpenters who are responsible for the implementation of branded shop areas, shop-in-shops, showrooms and offices across the globe).
E-commerce has been another area of growth for the brand. And although it is still a relatively new addition to the distribution – having been launched two and a half years go and a UK specific site last year – it has provided good results, according to Herter. Interestingly, the website has had an additional effect, in that it has become a way of introducing the brand to a different, slightly younger and less affluent customer than Marc Cain’s core market. “We have mainly been using the e-commerce side to offer reduced and past-season product at discounted prices,” says Herter. “It has helped to attract a different kind of customer, maybe a younger woman who likes the Marc Cain look but might be at a stage in her life where she doesn’t have the disposable income yet or can’t justify the expense of full priced items, because she has other priorities. But hopefully this customer will stay loyal to us and grow with us and, when she’s at a later stage in life, will become our customer of the future.” There’s no doubt that Marc Cain is a slick operation, carefully controlling every aspect of its business. And yet the brand remains true to its roots and with a strong company ethic that its founder, Helmut Schlotterer, who set up the business in 1973, instilled early on. Staff retention is high at the company, with Schlotterer himself still hands-on in the business, creative director Karin Veit at the artistic helm for 37 years now, and Herter himself having been with the company for 10 years. Investment, it seems, is not just made in product and innovation, but also in its people, with Marc Cain running several apprentice and traineeship schemes, making the company a popular employer in the region. And most of the brand’s retail partners will also attest to a close partnership with plenty of support. “I think a lot of this boils down to the work ethic of our founder [Helmut Schlotterer]. Many companies of our size are run by investors, not like us, by the owner, and they obviously have other goals, namely to grow as quickly as possible and to sell off the companies at the biggest profit margin. We on the other hand, have a different company culture. We take our time and do our own thing,” says Herter. And it seems they are doing it very well indeed.
UK / IRELAND SALES ENQUIRIES: JUST CONSULTANCIES email@example.com +44(0)207 739 7620 +44(0)7712 522874 INTERNATIONAL SALES: BELLFIELD HQ (MANCHESTER) firstname.lastname@example.org +44(0)7736 448177
www.bellfieldclothing.com /bellfieldclothing @bellfieldclo /bellfieldclo /bellfieldclo
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NORTHERN SOUL Manchester has seen an influx of young fashion and short-order brands recently, concreting the city’s position as a hugely important national industry hub and not just a regional centre. WWB takes a look at the rising fashion appeal of Manchester and some of the labels that have launched and based themselves there. —
anchester has always been an important fashion destination, a Northern centre for the rag trade, known for its abundance of fashion agencies, wholesalers and stock houses, as well as the home of big players such as N Brown Group, Boohoo, Forever Unique and Glamorous, who have helped keep Manchester firmly on the fashion map. However, more recently, a wealth of young and fast-fashion labels are popping up across the city, and an increasing number of international brands are choosing Manchester as their main UK base, adding to Manchester’s position as a vibrant national fashion hub and not just a regional destination. “Manchester is definitely becoming an even more important fashion hub, and you can really notice a new dynamic in the city over the last few seasons,” says Amy Kumar, brand manager at young fashion brand Neon Rose. “Manchester has always had a rich textile history, and it’s been a centre for sourcing and manufacturing for a long time, but I feel there is now a new younger generation coming through that is adding to the city’s status as a fashion destination. “Manchester is generally a vibrant city with a huge student population, lots of bars, restaurants and a thriving music scene, so it brings a lot of younger people in, which in turn drives the demand for fashion, and especially young, trendy fashion,” she continues. “We have noticed an influx of new fashion names crop up lately. Manchester is definitely no longer in the shadow of London when it comes to its significance as a fashion hub, and I think it will only get stronger and stronger. I think the future here is exciting.” This is mirrored by Becki Healey, sales executive at Party 21, who feels that Manchester is becoming particularly strong in terms of branded fashion, and not just the wholesalers and stock houses it has traditionally been renowned for. “There are lots more labels around, which I think is a sign of the increased demand for branded fashion,” she says. “It’s interesting, though, how many more national players have settled here rather than just having regional offices or representatives.” Matthew Newton, founder and director of young fashion brand Lavish Alice, shares this view, “Manchester is a young and vibrant platform – it’s got such a strong creative history, too, with a buzzing music scene and lots of creative agencies,” he says. “Even in the local proximity of our office we have noticed an influx of new names. I think it’s great and helps put Manchester back on the map, not just for stock houses and more mainstream agencies, but also
young and creative labels. There are more and more national players settling here rather than London, which has a lot to do with property prices and generally the costs of logistics and operations, which are obviously a lot higher in London. And it proves that Manchester attracts brands and retailers from the whole of the UK and not just the North.” But it’s not just fashion brands that are valuing Manchester as an important business platform. Danish fashion house Bestseller first opened its Manchester showroom over 10 years ago on Dale Street, before moving to its current home in Arndale House, where it most recently doubled the size of the space to accommodate the flagship office for its Jack & Jones menswear brand, which is now not only set up for showroom purposes, but also visual merchandising planning, retail training and product workshops. The Northern operation has proved a hugely important aspect in the company’s UK operation. “‘Is a Northern showroom needed?’ is often a question that is raised, but there has never been any doubt in our minds that to be successful in the UK, a London and a Manchester showroom are needed,” says Allan Vad Nielsen, country director, Bestseller UK. “It shows a commitment to our customers. Now more than ever it is crucial we are close to our customers. “We currently have over 500 active accounts, and we aim to give them all the same experience when buying our products. Across all our Bestseller brands we have a sales team based in the North and South, and we feel it is key to being close to the customer. “Manchester has always been a hub for young fashion. Music and fashion have always influenced each other and we all know how Manchester has provided us with some of the most iconic British bands,” continues Vad Nielsen. “There has definitely been a resurgence recently, which you can easily pick up from the ever-increasing street style and fashion retailers. It will be the young fashion followers who have the most influence on our brands and how they do, so it’s crucial that we give our customers what they want. One thing we see in the UK is the pockets of trends that appear we believe that Manchester is one of the most influential cities in the UK after London, and can be the first to set the trend.” —
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LAVISH ALICE Lavish Alice is the brainchild of 25-year-old Matthew Newton, who started the label in 2011 as his graduation project at university. Little did he know at the time that he had just started the next big “It” label, with almost instantaneous success and accounts with the likes of Asos, Bank and Joy less than a year after launch. The brand is trend-led and “always with an eye on the catwalks”, as Newton explains, but without being a slave to them. “It’s about interpreting and re-editing the catwalk” he says. In addition to the big high-street accounts, Lavish Alice is currently stocked in 50 smaller indies, with a target to grow this number to 150 in 2014. The label offers an unconventional look, with particular investment having gone into quality control and good fit across sizes 6-18, while still staying affordable and commercial with an average RRP of £20-£50. The Lavish Alice girl as between 16 and 25 years, trend driven, independent, confident and “with a real love for life”. The brand has established a celebrity following and is planning more high-profile collaborations next year. Watch this space. —
DAISY STREET Daisy Street started out as an e-commerce site, but has recently launched a wholesale operation, with the initial presence on Asos getting off to a strong start. The brand is now looking to expand its stockist base across other independent boutiques, providing the latest catwalk and celebrity inspired trends on a fast turnaround. Pitched at the value end of the market, wholesale prices range from £3-£20, while the target group is the 18-30 age bracket. —
PARTY 21 Originally from Turkey, Party 21’s UK headquarters are in Manchester, from where the brand has been building a nice network of stockists ever since it launched in December last year. The label specialises in day to eveningwear, with its party dresses and glamorous gowns having particularly taken off. The vast 300-piece collection offers plenty of choices to buy the brand in different ways for different customer groups, with wholesale prices kept at a commercial price range from £20 to £120 with a 2.6 mark-up. The label is targeting customers aged 18-plus, and has been worn by the likes of Towie stars Amy Childs and Jessica Wright. The brand holds 80 per cent of the collection in stock, allowing for an immediate turnaround of styles. — >>>
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AKA Aka specialises in styles featuring digital printing with an influx of spray effect slogans, along with interesting third-party garment processes, giving dimension and depth to the range. The collection is predominantly jersey based, with a small introduction of woven pieces and jackets, with the brand having ambitions to expand the line with new product groups in the future. Currently Aka offers two collections a year but, from next year, this will be increased to four annual ranges. At the centre of the collection are styles featuring hybrid anarchy graffiti signage, as well as the Aka slogan, which has been treated to look like it has been sprayed on. Aka has set its sights on rapid growth, targeting key independents and trendy boutiques up and down the country, as well as expanding throughout Europe. —
KOO-TURE Koo-Ture has seen demand for its celebrity inspired styles grow season on season after having been set up in 2008 as a day to partywear collection. Today, the range not only takes inspiration from celebrities, but also red carpet functions, the party scene and catwalk trends, culminating in wearable and commercial collections that appeal to women aged 25-plus. The brand operates from short order and also holds a vast selection of styles from stock, ensuring that retailers can order new stock on a fast turnaround. Available in sizes 8-18, the range has been specifically cut to flatter the female form, and is therefore particularly popular with curvy girls who like to show off their silhouette. The brand has collaborated with Towie star Jessica Wright on a dedicated collection of dresses, ranging from elegant day dresses to glamorous evening gowns. —
DEAD LOVERS Launched last year, Dead Lovers was inspired by the rise of “selfies” and a society that loves taking images and Instagramming aspects of life and popular culture. Images and strong graphics are at the centre of the range, from animal kingdom prints to on-trend graphics. Aimed at the 16-40 age bracket, the brand offers streetwear that bridges the gap between dressing for the day and a night out, with an emphasis on quality and wearability. Look out for midi short-sleeved dresses, leggings, tees, skirt, sweatshirts and bomber jackets, which are at the centre of the collection. —
MIA BY MIA NISBET Ethical brand Mia by Mia Nisbet’s focus is on upcycling, with the brand having scooped several ethical fashion awards since its launch in 2008. The label’s signature style is urban streetwear, but always with a sustainable edge. The brand fuses recycled fabrics and traditional Malawian textiles to produce a collection that combines the richness of African textiles with Western styling. The designer works with producers in Malawi, with profits reinvested in communities there as well as in the training, equipment and infrastructure needed to increase market access and create sustainable livelihoods. The brand is pitched at the middle of the market, with wholesale prices ranging from £20 to £70. —
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ROCK & RELIGION
The brand was established earlier this year by a Manchester design house who saw a creative gap in the market for a premium label with exclusive styling, without the price tag usually associated with couture pieces. The brand fuses the edgy with the eclectic for a unique take on current trends, focusing on attention to detail, directional style and finish. Strong colour palettes, prints and grungy acid washes characterise the range, which runs as a signature through every piece. The philosophy is to be a “designer brand for less”, rocking grunge glamour and individual style. The label is aimed at the 18-35 age group at its core, and wants to establish itself as a mid-market and entry-level brand in higher-end stores. —
Now in its second season, Neon Rose was launched by a private-label supplier to the high street, with the desire to create a fast-fashion brand that would be creative, affordable and on-trend. “When you supply the high street, there are always restrictions and specific briefs you have to work towards, and we felt passionate about fast fashion and wanted to create a brand where we could be as creative as we wanted,” says Amy Kumar, Neon Rose’s brand manager. The label offers new styles every two weeks, and it’s fair to say that only nine months from its launch, it has become a force in the fast-fashion arena. The collection offers styles that can be dressed up for the evening or dressed down for the day, and a vast choice of separates to mix and match for an individual look. Fabrics are a key part of the range, which plays with different material combinations and textures. The brand is aimed at the 16-25 age group and has been growing throughout UK independents and across Europe. It is also planning a further expansion of the range and launch into new territories over the next few seasons. —
OF THE REALM Premium leather specialist Of The Realm was launched for a/w 13 as the labour of love of a private-label supplier with 30 years’ experience of manufacturing fine leathers. Born out of a passion for leather and to give creativity free rein, Of the Realm combines classic, timeless silhouettes with modern and individual design that references current trends and catwalks without compromising wearability or longevity of the design. Garments are beautifully crafted with original treatments, cuts and applications, creating investment pieces suited for all occasions. Wholesale prices start from £130, with the brand aiming to be stocked in 100 high-profile boutiques in the UK and a network of prestige stockists abroad. —
Finest Knitwear Stock-Backed in: • Lambswool (shown) • Merino • Cashmere
T: 01450 363100 E: email@example.com www.hawickknitwear.com
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SHORT ORDER DEBATE —
RAPID RESPONSE Key industry players discuss the pros and cons of short order and shed light on the different aspects of fast fashion. — SABINA EBRAHIM, sales manager, Charli London
JENNY MACDONALD, founder, Ruby Rocks
Have you noticed an increased interest from retailers for short-order labels? Retailers are de-risking and relying more on stock service brands. They want to shift more risk onto the brand. Also, I think we are heading more towards an American style of delivery, where stores want deliveries almost on a monthly basis. What are the advantages of short order in your view? Short order allows the retailer to buy in styles that have performed well for them – and it’s good for us to keep in constant contact with the retailers. How has this influenced your operation and brand? We email packshot line sheets to our clients each week, updating them with stock levels. We run some items in-season only for short order, allowing us to spread our production over a longer time, which helps us logistically. We always keep our “essential” and “core” elements of the collection in stock. Do you feel short order is something specific to young fashion? I think it is changing. It should be a given that retailers can “repeat” on strong styles. How important is it for short-order brands to offer commercial price points? I would say that commercial and affordable items have the highest turnover – and there is definitely a market for basics available on short order. Do you see the short-order sector growing? Short order will become increasingly important. The internet and our stock inventory system has been useful, as we are able to blast out real-time stock levels and high-res images each week. Technology has facilitated a more instantaneous ordering process. What is the biggest challenge for short-order brands? Accurately forecasting the amount of stock required and which styles to carry for short order. What are your plans for the brand? We are continuing to offer short order, and are planning pre-collections and a high-summer and resort line.
Have you noticed an increased interest from retailers for short-order labels? Yes we have, but also for forward order with the larger retailers, and definitely for stock from the indies. We are short order predominantly, and we started to sell from stock early this year, so we can do immediate delivery. How has this influenced your operation and brand? We have increased our stock offering as the year has gone on. Because we do not have minimums, the stockists can order any shape in any print, so in effect this makes our range so wide. Do you feel short order is something specific to young fashion? No, definitely not – we have a wide range of short-order stockists. Short order is perfect for the stockists who do not want to commit themselves months and months ahead, tying up their cash flow and committing themselves to products that may not still be on trend by the time it comes to delivery. Retailers often criticise that the quality of short-order brands isn’t as good as forward-order labels – what’s your view? It depends what brand they are buying. I can only speak for Ruby Rocks as I know how the garments are made and the processes they go through. It takes time to make quality garments, of course, but we specialise in short order and know how to make the best quality product. Do you see the short-order sector becoming increasingly important and growing in the future? Definitely. Fast-changing trends will drive this, but there are so many genres of fashion now, that it will come down to the talent of the brands’ designers and the quality of product as to whether they survive the constantly changing world of fashion. If the brands are innovative with their designs and set the trends, they have nothing to worry about. >>>
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SHORT ORDER DEBATE —
FRANCESCA MILLEA, fast fashion sales manager, Red Alert Agency
OLIVIER COSTALAT, head of wholesale, Uttam London and Yumi
Have you noticed an increased interest from retailers for short-order labels? We represent brands for forward and short order, allowing us to move with the pace of the industry and react to new trends that emerge overnight. The concept of short-order labels was relatively new when we began representing in-season brands four years ago. Since then, although some buyers are still spending a similar amount with their core forward-order labels, there is less spend on the fringe labels, and there has definitely been a significant shift towards short order. As a result, our fast-fashion department has gone from strength to strength. Do you feel short order is something specific to young fashion? I think the younger generations are more trend-focused and interested more in affordable “throwaway” fashion, perhaps more so than the older generations. I do think, however, that with the huge variety of short-order brands in the market, they cater for everyone. Retailers sometimes criticise that the quality of short-order brands isn’t as good as forward-order labels – what’s your view? With lower price-point fast-fashion brands, you’re not expecting it to last for years and years; it’s much more about the look and trend than high quality. I would say, however, that increased competition on the high street in recent years has forced the whole fast-fashion business to improve the quality of the product. More so now than ever before, I feel you are getting a better quality product at a lower price point. Do you see the short-order sector growing in the future? I can see continued growth for the short-order sector – it is evident in the increase of mid-season ranges from the forward-order brands. I’m not sure the business will ever be entirely seasonless, but the demand for fresh product in store each week drives the importance of short order and will continue to do so, I believe.
How important is short order to your business? We are working on most of our brands under a forward-ordering business model, meaning that we offer two main collections per year as well as two capsule injection lines. This makes it possible for our customers to refresh their shop floor in-season with new and relevant merchandise. Have you noticed an increased interest from retailers for short-order labels? Short-order labels, mainly specialised in dresses, are indeed part of today’s retail landscape. However, in my opinion, short order is a reaction from retailers to past overstock situations and possible cash-flow restrictions. We emphasise how important it is for our clients to plan properly. Short order is not the one and only solution to today’s challenges. Do you feel short order is something specific to young fashion? Young fashion requires on-trend products. True fast fashion helps to capture current trends thanks to outstanding production lead times. Short order and fast fashion are two different things, though. Having said that, it is true that short-order labels are often positioned within the young fashion segment of the industry. Do you see the short-order sector growing in the future? Short order is not the one and only solution to today’s challenges. However, I foresee this market trend as persisting in the near future, providing that loan facilities to the small and medium-sized enterprises do not improve in the short-term. What is the biggest challenge for short-order brands? Make sure you are not stuck in the old way of doing things. It is of utmost importance that brands keep on evolving with the current difficult times.
TIM TAUBMAN, UK sales manager, Charlie Jade What are the advantages of short order in your opinion? One of the main advantages is being able to buy closer to the season, so boutiques can gauge their buying more effectively depending on the last couple of month’s sales rather than having to predict what the climate will be like in nine months’ time. By buying a style in smaller quantities and selling out, it allows boutiques to sell more items at full price rather than having large quantities of stock and having to go on Sale. Our monthly model also has the added benefit that it gives the customer a reason to come back to the boutique next month as there will be new styles that they have not seen, as opposed to just a re-stock of more of the same. We do not remanufacture. Once a month has passed, a print and style combination will not be re-run. Retailers sometimes criticise that the quality of short-order brands isn’t as good as forward-order labels – what’s your view? It may be true of brands that try to move to short order to test the
market. It would be a huge shift in production and supply capabilities for them. However, if you are set up as a short-order label and have an effective, well-managed supply chain in place with quality control, it should not be an issue. Do you see the short-order sector growing in the future? Yes. I think the reason is that a couple of poor summers of sales has led boutiques to question why they are committing to so much summer clothing nine months in advance without the ability to scale buying up and down as they would like closer to the season. Also due to the economic climate of the last five years, boutiques are having to manage cash flow more effectively, and short order allows this. What is the biggest challenge for short-order brands generally, and your brand specifically? One of the challenges is that it takes a sea-change in the buying pattern. Currently, boutiques are used to two buying seasons per year. With short order, the viewing times are different, and so additional visits to showrooms, shifts in trade show dates and so on would be needed. This is difficult, as boutiques and brands would struggle to double the number of viewings.
FURS C O AT S GILETS CAPES Exquisite ranges, original designs and the very finest of fabrics
SCARVES DEVORE ACCESSORIES Showroom Visits by appointment only.
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BRANDS TO WATCH —
SHORT CUTS WWB PROFILES THE SHORT-ORDER AND FAST-FASHION BRANDS TO WATCH. — CAMEO Established: 2010 The story: Oz label Cameo is the product of head designer Kathryn Forth and design assistant Siham Elmawey, who together create 11 directional collections a year and have accrued an impressive celebrity following, in addition to being stocked in high-profile boutiques across the globe. Signature style: Heavy but touch-soft fabrics, eye-catching prints and polished finishes encompass the Cameo signature aesthetic. Collection news: Each collection is based around a central theme, with inspiration taken from movies and music. The brand has also introduced a premium line within its monthly collections, including leather and silk pieces. Brand adjacencies: Finders Keepers, Scotch & Soda, Style Stalker Target customer: 20-40 Wholesale prices: £35-£65 Contact number: 020 7349 8887 FINDERS KEEPERS Established: 2009 The story: The Australian brand offers a fresh take on fast fashion, with 12 standalone collections a year. It has an impressive celebrity following, with the likes of Sienna Miller, Cara Delevigne, Rihanna and Kristen Stewart wearing the label. Signature style: Fashion-forward day to night separates and relaxed eveningwear. Collection news: The appointment of a new head design team – Kate Anderson and Amy Hicks – marks the evolution of the brand, with directional and playful collections featuring soft tailoring, neoprene structured separates, asymmetric dresses and sportswear-inspired pieces. Brand adjacencies: Sandro, Antipodium, Sonya By Sonya Rykiel Target customer: 25 Wholesale prices: £16-£79 Contact: 020 7725 5700
MOTHERMOODS Established: 2012 The story: Mothermoods originates from Thailand and is aimed at the style-conscious working mum with a busy lifestyle. Signature style: The brand uses natural fibres such as silk and cotton as well as chiffon and georgette. Collection news: Dresses are at the forefront of the collection with elegant and yet comfortable and practical styles. The colour scheme ranges from plum, lilac and sapphire to dusty grey and orange. Brand adjacencies: Sarah Seraphine Target customer: 25-plus Wholesale prices: price on request Contact: 0161 212 7590
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BRANDS TO WATCH — BELLFIELD
MRS POMERANZ Established: 2009 The story: Originating from Moscow, the brand was created by Dasha Pomeranz, who had a passion for collecting 50s dresses and running her vintage shop Good Bye London. She realised that the 50s silhouette was the most flattering cut of all, and decided to launch her own label based on this principle. Signature style: Fitted bodices, cinched-in waists and full skirts are at the core of the range. The brand only produces a small capsule collection for each drop, allowing it to ensure a high standard of quality. Collection news: Detachable collars and cuffs are key features, while pattern, tartan and Liberty prints also take centre stage. Brand adjacencies: Orla Kiely Target customer: 25-50 Wholesale prices: £85-£150 Contact: 07403 267772
Established: 2011 The story: Bellfield is the creation of a private-label supplier to the high street that saw a gap in the market for shorter lead times and commercially priced branded ranges. Signature style: A timeless womenswear aesthetic, taking inspiration from across the globe. Collection news: The brand’s outerwear has been particularly successful this season, with the tapestry bomber jacket, oversized denim parka and bright mountaineering jacket among the bestsellers. The range also includes chunky knits, new directional denim effects and trendy silhouettes across jerseywear. Brand adjacencies: Superdry, G-Star, Glamorous Target customer: 18-24 Wholesale prices: £6-£22 Contact: 020 7739 7620
CHARLIE JADE Established: 2009 The story: California brand Charlie Jade was set up to provide an affordable premium quality brand. In only three years it has seen rapid growth in the US, with over 700 boutique stockists and continued expansion. It recently launched to the UK with the aim of replicating the success over here. Signature style: A distinct Californian style defines the collection, with the label providing small runs of high-quality pieces in constantly changing prints. Collection news: The brand brings out monthly collections of 25-30 pieces, featuring everything from maxi dresses to playsuits and rompers to blouses. Brand adjacencies: Tibi, DvF, Farhi, Alice Temperley, Marilyn Moore Target customer: 25-45 Wholesale prices: £45-£95 Contact number: 020 7228 6818
RUBY PROM Established: 2008 The story: Ruby Prom was created by a mother-and-daughter duo, who saw a gap in the market for prom and partywear with a British spin. Signature style: Prom party and red-carpet dresses, ranging from flowing Grecian chiffons to full princess skirts, but always with a quirky fashion edge. Collection news: High necklines have featured increasingly in the range due to their popularity, with the collection a colourful array of tropical shades alongside nudes and classic blacks. Brand adjacencies: Forever Unique, Little Mistress Target customer: 15-25 Wholesale prices: £69-£104 Contact: 01909 774522 >>>
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BRANDS TO WATCH —
LOUCHE Established: 2007 The story: Louche is a London label that is looking to the capital for inspiration. The philosophy of the brand is that it’s designed by women for women, understanding their needs and with nods to catwalk trends without being a slave to them. Signature style: A vintage touch runs through the collections, with dresses a key product, featuring useful pockets, flattering cuts and eye-catching prints. Collection news: The brand has developed a separates offering within the collection, producing a new range of trouser fits, which are strong performers. Brand adjacencies: Fever, Darling, Maison Scotch, Emily & Fin Target customer: 25-35 Wholesale prices: £11-£45 Contact: 020 7091 1898
POPPY LUX Established: 2013 The story: Poppy Lux was launched in May by the team behind young fashion brand Sugarhill Boutique, with the aim to fill a gap in the market for girly, fun and yet edgy and cool standout pieces. Signature style: The label combines elements of girlish charm and bohemian flare with a touch of rock ’n’ roll and a fun and youthful vibe. Collection news: The brand offers six ranges a year and, as it grows, it is planning to increase the frequency of its lines. Look out for fashion-forward dresses, tops, skirts and standout party pieces. Brand adjacencies: Glamorous, Little Mistress, Goldie London, Lashes of London Wholesale prices: £8-£15 Contact: 01273 911393
JOIN Established: 1997 The story: Greek brand Join is the brainchild of mother and son Ioatta and Ioannis Konstantinou, who set out to offer a one-size collection that works from sizes 8 to 18 with on-trend and fashion-forward designs that flatter a multitude of women. Signature style: Draped silhouettes that are soft to the touch with a rich colour scheme, as well as timeless and practical for the demands of contemporary women. Collection news: Cocoon knit cardigans, boucle draped tops and velvet winter coats are among the predicted bestsellers for a/w 13. Brand adjacencies: Annette Goertz, Charli, Masai Target customer: 30-plus Wholesale prices: ¤27-¤127 Contact: 020 8349 7287
VOODOO VIXEN Established: 1992 The story: Voodoo Vixen originated in Camden at a time when unique personalities and eccentrics dominated the area, which was the key inspiration behind the label. Now, the brand is designed in LA and East London, with vintage influences still prevailing. Signature style: Flared dresses and reworked pieces from vintage archives. Collection news: The predicted bestseller for the season is the Flared Viven dress in wool with matching cape in green and yellow shades. Target customer: 18-40 Wholesale prices: £13-£25 Contact: 020 7702 3155
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FRONT ROW WWB TAKES A LOOK AT THE KEY TRENDS THAT EMERGED ON THE CATWALKS AT LONDON FASHION WEEK. —
An array of light blues dominated the catwalks this season, with everybody from David Koma through House of Holland to Jonathan Saunders picking up on the subtle elegance of these shades. Most designers chose to offset gentle pastels against accents of midnight blue or black, with lace or crochet panels particularly popular. Denim and chambray effects also featured, as seen at Holly Fulton, and added another dimension to the blue theme. —
Pringle of Scotland
Sister by Sibling
House of Holland
HUES OF BLUE
Collections took a futuristic direction this season, with shiny and textured materials taking centre stage and creating an outer-space feel. Silver and gold were the main colours and added interest to otherwise straight and minimalistic lines. While Julien Macdonald went for the high-glamour effect in dramatic evening dresses, Antonio Berardi proved that this trend is not out of this world, but very wearable indeed. —
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Sister by Sibling
Pringle of Scotland
SHEER TRANSPARENCY Spring/summer 2014 was also dominated by a wealth of see-through fabrics, which were cleverly utilised by most designers. Some opted for more subtle effects including Christopher Raeburn, who created a sports-luxe inspired feel with mesh jogging pants, while Pringle of Scotland played with crochet effects. Erdem created an interesting game of opposites, combining 3D-effect blouses with sheer fabrics, while Felder Felder, Sister by Sibling and Julien Macdonald made a more dramatic entrance. —
Erdem John Rocha
White was another colour that dominated the catwalks, proving to be the perfect backdrop for dramatic surface interest and contrasting textures. Silhouettes ranged from oversized and clean to feminine and ethereal, borrowing from other trends including transparent panels and metallic accents. Collars were key at Erdem, Christopher Kane and Bora Aksu, creating a subtle masculine effect, while Simone Rocha, Antonio Berardi and John Rocha opted for a more feminine and girly feel. —
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BUSINESS SOLUTIONS WWB asks experts in logistics, stock management and interiors to give their top tips for retail success. —
LOGISTICS Sue Perry-Whitehead is direct sales channel director at DHL
LOGISTICS ARE KEY FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS EXPANSION Businesses that export internationally are twice as likely to be successful as those that operate only in their domestic market, according to recent research from DHL and IHS. Having a diverse international customer base not only increases the potential reach of your products, but will make your business less vulnerable to fluctuations in one market. When we consider that the UK is the second most popular shopping “destination” for online shoppers overseas (after the US), there is huge potential for UK retailers of all sizes. And, if you have a fashion line that has global appeal, you have already started thinking of expanding into foreign markets. However, smaller businesses tend to be more cautious when it comes to thinking about exporting overseas, and minor setbacks can sometimes feel overwhelming. Exploiting the opportunities that international trade offers is exciting, but is unsurprisingly a more complex process than trading with the UK. Businesses need first to identify the requirements of any potential customer base – choosing the right market is key. Customs details, as well as import and export regulations, also need to be explored. It’s important to research how quickly customers in different markets expect their products to arrive. Common issues encountered by UK exporters of all sizes include counterfeiting, poor infrastructure, delayed distribution and problematic customs. Full background research on all of these aspects is strongly recommended. Surprisingly, the selection of the right logistics partner can sometimes be an afterthought in the midst of all the excitement surrounding expansion. Yet the right logistics partner is crucial to the success of any expansion overseas and they can give valuable guidance during all stages of the process. Smaller businesses in particular need a partner with considerable international experience to support them through what can be a minefield of infrastructure and cultural challenges. Businesses can then focus on other aspects of their enterprise, safe in the knowledge that their products will be delivered to these new markets through the best available channels. While the cost of finding a logistics partner that meets your needs is important, it shouldn’t be the overriding factor. Ensuring your product makes it to its destination safely and in line with your customers’ expectations is paramount. Getting the logistics for your business right from the start definitely gives your business a competitive advantage. A chat with someone who has experience of building relationships overseas can prove invaluable for identifying the best strategy in those first crucial weeks. Help is at hand – the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) website offers a range of services including an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and DHL gives free support and guidance to small businesses at www.dhlguide.co.uk.
PACKAGING James Hardy is head of Europe at Alibaba
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL WHEN IT COMES TO PACKAGING Retailers who sell their goods via their own website or an online marketplace have different packaging needs from a high-street shop, as their goods must be shipped domestically and, in some cases, internationally. There are key considerations to be made when posting your products to customers: 1. Pretty packaging can last long distances You don’t have to go for a uniform plain box for mail-order items. There are multiple packaging options available that are both durable and attractive for the recipient. Spend time to find the wrapping that best reflects your brand and products. 2. Be as unique as your products If you’re selling one-of-a-kind or quirky products, why not reflect that in the way you post the items? You can sketch out your unique designs for a manufacturer to produce, or use specialist services to find the right maker. For instance, AliSourcePro, a free service offered by Alibaba.com, allows you to submit a detailed buying request to potential packaging suppliers, ensuring that 10 quality packaging manufacturers will bid for your business, and come back to you with their quotes within 48 hours. 3. Pay attention to the small details Adding attractive labels, coloured tissue wrap and decorative ribbon to your mail-order deliveries will help make you stand out. This is all the more important for e-tailers who may never meet their customers in person. Showing that thought and care has gone into how you deliver your goods reflects well on your brand and makes receiving the goods a more exciting experience. Happy customers will return to your site again and again, so it’s worth the extra care and attention. 4. Be clear on delivery times and costs This point is particularly important if you are shipping goods abroad. Make sure you have clear shipping times and costs stated on your website and in order confirmations. If delivery times or costs change at all, for example due to an unexpected postal strike or snow storm, be sure to keep your customers informed. There is nothing worse for a consumer than wondering where their goods are, and having to chase the retailer. Being one step ahead and providing up-to-date information reduces the risk of disappointment due to unavoidable delays. 5. If in doubt, ask your customers As the saying goes, the customer is always right, so if you want to find out how you’re doing, or how you can improve packaging services – ask them. Utilising social media and email channels helps to build a relationship with your customer base and asking their views shows they are important to you.
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EPOS AND STOCK MANAGEMENT Michael Bloom is director at Top to Toe
INTELLIGENT STOCK MANAGEMENT IS VITAL You may not realise it but you’re in a very special business. From a stock management perspective, it’s very different to almost all other retail businesses. For most other retailers a product is just that, a single product. This means that any one item stands alone – it’s not specifically related to any other. A Daily Mail newspaper is not related to a Sunday Times; it’s completely separate. We all understand clothing and footwear so well, however, that we may overlook the implications of how radically different it is – because, in clothing and footwear, an item does not stand alone. Items in different sizes and colours are all tied together into something we generally call a product or line. Each size and colour is part of a something bigger than itself. But, at the same time, it’s not exactly the same as any other size and colour variant. It’s in some ways the same, but in some ways different. This difference completely changes the way a stock management system should be designed for clothing and footwear retailers, because it fundamentally changes how the system is used. For example, if a newsagent’s shop assistant cannot scan a barcode and needs to look up the product on their till, it’s simple – find the product and record the sale. Even on a busy day, their estimated chance of identifying the right product is probably well above 99 per cent. Result? Accurate stock and sale information. For a fashion retailer, however, it’s not so easy. Let’s say the assistant needed to sell a pair of Levi’s 501s without a barcode label. First, find Levi’s 501s on the till, then get the list of all its sizes, colours and fits (this could be a list of 100 variants that fill a few pages of the screen), and then move from page to page until they spot the right colour, size and fit variant. Estimated chance of success on a busy day? Eighty five per cent. Result? Incorrect stock and inaccurate sale information. For a fashion retailer, however, when a wrong sale is recorded, it is much worse than it would be for the newsagent. For the newsagent, if the wrong newspaper is entered as being sold, it has limited consequences, because they will often have more stock of that same paper. For the fashion retailer, with limited stock for any one size and colour combination, once the figures go wrong the retailer is in potentially deep water – stock information is inaccurate while sales figures cannot be trusted. Modern shopping has made this situation worse. Before the days of transactional websites, your customer could not buy what wasn’t available – but now, if your website says it’s available, customers order, pay and expect delivery. Understanding the vital difference between “retail” and “clothing and footwear retail” should inform every part of your stock management decision process. Knowing how to solve the size and colour problem and what you should be looking for in a stock management system is the key.
SHOP FIT Heidi Easton is PR and communications manager at the Shop & Display Equipment Association (SDEA)
MAKE YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN WORK For somebody who has natural design creativity and flair, the art of good store design may be simple. But for most of us, designing an exciting store can be tough. You may have thousands of different products to display in a compact space. You may be fearful of losing existing customers or missing a valuable sale, and have certainly never considered your store as a work of art before. Does this sound familiar? Setting up a shop is not an easy option these days. The competition is vast, the sophistication and demands are intense and, to make matters worse, the continued difficult economic climate means consumer confidence and spend are low. Even the muscles of the multiples, flexed and toned to perfection, are struggling for survival. Getting the right mix is essential. You must be aware of the trends and be prepared to apply them to your business, boasting both unique products and unique in-store interior. A modern, minimal interior backed up by good customer service is the answer, and works every time. It gives the customer more space to shop, both physically and emotionally, and in turn allows the products to stand out, increasing sales and securing repeat business. Follow these top 10 tips for independent retail success: 1. Strip out the clutter to create a clean and spacious environment where the customer feels comfortable and wants to stay longer. 2. Branding is vital – whether you are an independent or multiple chain store, the overall design must reflect your corporate identity, brand heritage and outlook. 3. Consider the products that you stock and how they fit together, which colours and styles work best together, what they convey and what you want to get across to the public. 4. Identify your target market and aim your product displays and shop fittings at them. For instance, if your target audience is young, the store needs to be bright and bold, fashionable and trendy. If you’re attracting the 30-40 somethings, it should be more stylish and elegant with a contemporary edge. For an older clientele, go for classic colours and themes with a twist. 5. Choose a relevant theme, create a unique feature, enlarge upon it and make it the very essence of your shop. You could do this using props and accessories. Be flamboyant and quirky, or use fittings and fixtures to help convey the store’s overall outlook. 6. Stunning windows bring the shoppers in. Be creative, use lots of colour and have fun. When the shop is closed it continues to work, so it needs to be powerful. 7. Good lighting is essential. It has the ability to make or break a great store layout. Bright lighting is imperative for successful display, way finding and the feel-good factor. There are a number of thriving retailers that use dramatic, theatrical lighting within dark stores as part of their inherent identity such as Desigual, Superdry, All Saints, but there is no place for a poorly lit store. 8. Smells and tastes are also important. No one wants to enter a foul-smelling store, or changing area. 9. For the perfect retail mix, add a variety of in-store events, special offers and customer loyalty benefits to ensure additional footfall and sales in quiet times. 10. Good customer service – there’s absolutely no point in investing in your store interior unless you invest in your staff. Polite and courteous staff, well informed about the product, and willing to help and offer advice when necessary will win every time.
46 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
RETAIL SOLUTIONS WWB looks at the ways retailers can create a successful in-store experience, highlighting some of the key brands specialising in visual merchandising and store presentation. — PROPORTION LONDON Mannequin and bust form manufacturer Proportion London presents a range of new developments, split into women’s, men’s and childrenswear categories. In the womenswear offer, there are a number of new additions, including jeans legs, underwear forms, three-quarter bodies and short torsos – all of which can be used for shelf display or mounted onto telescopic base stands. Retailers can also expect to see 12 new female mannequin poses and three male poses, completing the wardrobe of visual merchandising product. www.proportionlondon.com —
PEERLESS DESIGNS Peerless Designs continues to offer the latest innovations in display and shop-fitting systems for the fashion sector, with a wide range of perimeter fixtures, fittings and mid-floor furniture. In addition to its standard systems, the brand also offers a bespoke manufacturing service, designed for individual project solutions, with large and small projects welcome. www.peerlessdesigns.com —
DECOWOERNER DecoWoerner, Europe’s largest retailer and wholesale supplier for visual merchandising and decorations, is a one-stop shop for visual merchandising props and decorations. One highlight this year is the “giant” poster stand, measuring 150 x 100 cm. The classic design of the double-sided poster stand is an ideal advertising prop. Features include a foldable base frame, silver anodised aluminium and a rust-free, stable back wall with zinc-plated sheet steel. www.decowoerner.com —
PROPRESS One of the leading suppliers in clothing steamers and accessories, Propress also offers a selection of fashion trolleys and mobile garment rails. The brand’s Soopl Garment Rail (pictured), for example, is stable, easy to use and lightweight, while the Mobilefold is a patented design, ideal to fold shirts, sweatshirts, trousers and towels easily and quickly. Built to last, the mobile garment folding table is constructed specifically for commercial use with a steel frame, snag-resistant plastic panels and pliable joints, making it both flexible and durable. www.propress.co.uk —
R E T A I L D I S P L AY SYSTEMS Freshen your our exciting retail fixtures for fashion showrooms.
interior with collection of and furniture shops and
P E E R L E S S D E S I G N S L I M I T E D Te l 020 8362 8500 w w w. p e e r l e s s d e s i g n s . c o m
48 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
RETAIL DIARY After the predictable Back to School dip in trade at the end of August and the slow build up to autumn, it’s always a relief to return to business as usual and get immersed in the familiar fabric of the a/w collections in October. — Regular drops work best for us both in terms of cash flow and the consistent injection of new, fresh stock on the rails. Ironically, on the occasion where cash-flow has delayed a delivery further, it tends to coincide with a more appropriate, cooler temperature for receiving the heavy woollies. We’ve always been a “buy now, wear tomorrow” rather than a “buy this little beauty and save it for a special occasion” type of shop. Smart-casualwear that draws admiring comments has always been our ethos, although we’ve expanded and adapted as we’ve gone along. After several requests for summer dresses, we’ve bought a new collection of dresses for just that purpose for s/s 14. It will inject something different into the shop, which we know is what our customers want. Our customers frequently remind us that they want to feel different in our boutique. They expect the shopping experience to be different to the high street, and this includes the in-store music. We did away with the PRS licence paying music a while ago in favour of the Amazing Instore music deal, which literally is just that. We have fresh, mood-lifting tunes humming in the background and several genres to choose from – effectively independent music tailored for independent shops. What’s more, I estimate that we save £350-£500 on the kit (the iPod dock and speakers we used to have that broke) and no longer need to listen to the dulcet tones of Will Young and Michael Bublé all day long (as much as my mother and I love them both). I don’t want our customers to hear (even if it’s only subliminally) the same tunes each time they visit us. In fact, I tweeted Ian (of Amazing Instore) in the summer to say how I was craving some summer tunes. He didn’t miss a beat and uploaded some to my account that I could play immediately. We’ll be looking to revamp the music once again for the a/w season to match the new collections and warm everyone up. Natalie Peters is the owner of Amabo Boutique in Lytham St Annes and is a member of the Fashion Association of Britain (FAB) www.fashionassociationof britain.co.uk.
The latest news from the industry —
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS FOR DARCY B
SELFRIDGES DOES GIRLS’ DAY OUT Earlier this month, Selfridges collaborated with style blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble, who held a presentation at the store, highlighting the a/w accessory trends for DKNY. Customers were treated to drinks and canapés, while Lau gave an overview of what will be key for the season. Guests had the chance to meet and greet Lau and ask personal styling questions, as well as shop the latest DKNY collection. An embroiderer was also on hand to personalise scarves, which were available as gifts with purchases of a DKNY handbags on the night. —
Suffolk indie Darcy B is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with a customer evening in its Woodbridge store. The company operates three branches, with clothing stores in Woodbridge and Framlingham stocking the likes of Versace Jeans, Marilyn Moore, Wolford, Save The Queen and Luis Civit, as well as homeware store Darcy B’s Little Mermaid. Owner Denise Potter says she can’t believe it’s been 10 years since the opening, and that she’s looking forward to many more years of successful trading. “My main milestone? To be still here after ten years,” she says. —
49 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT OF BEING A RETAILER? —
COFFEE MORNING AT BOUDOIR FEMME Cambridge boutique Boudoir Femme recently took part in The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support, which turned out to be not only a great day for the charity, but also one of its strongest trading days of the year. Home-baked cakes and coffee were on offer, while customers could browse the collections on show and receive a 15 per cent discount on the day. “It was a great feeling to be part of such a fantastic event, knowing that across the country people were coming together over a cup of coffee to raise money for such a great cause,” says owner Pippa Sandison. —
LISA SHAPIRO “For me, retail is all Co-owner, Ursula & about the customer – Odette, Leigh-on-Sea passing on the passion for our beautiful collections to them. Making them feel and look amazing. I love this business.” —
WINNERS NAMED FOR INDIE DAY COMPETITION Ten independent businesses will soon have access to one-to-one mentoring sessions with retail business mentor Rowland Gee, former CEO of Moss Bros. They will also have access to a business diagnostic tool to help them analyse where their business has room for improvement. The competition was run in the summer as part of the Independents’ Day campaign. Clothing and footwear retailer Ruth George, owner of indie Eden in Edinburgh, joined the ranks of the 10 winners, which covered all cross sections of retail. —
MY FAVOURITE SHOP... EMPORIO CLOTHING by Graham Wilson, sales director, Johnstons of Elgin
Emporio Clothing 33 Friar Street, Worcester WR1 2NA Established: 1987 Owner: Paula Jauncey Brands stocked: Paul Smith, Joseph, Diane Von Furstenberg, Schumacher “The shop is in Friar street in Worcester, a really nice old part of Worcester town centre. Paula has designed the shop to incorporate the feel of this part of the town inside as well as out, holding on to brick and wood incorporated with wrought iron hanging. The store has a fabulous atmosphere from when you walk through the door. Paula and her staff are great, whether they are dealing with new or existing clients, with fantastic attention to detail with regard to the customer’s needs and wants. The shop constantly evolves, and has been consistently evolving for the 15 years I have been visiting.” —
KATE WALTON Owner, Havetolove, Newcastle
“I am lucky and love the diversity of owning a retail business, working in-store mixed with buying trips. Every day is different. Ultimately, my favourite aspect would be the regular satisfied customers we have.” —
FIONA SANDERSON “I love so much of it. Owner, Feather & The buzz of finding a new brand at a trade Stitch, Richmond show in Paris or Copenhagen is exciting. Then seeing it sell out is even better!” —
VANESSA COLLEN MD, Collen & Clare, Southwold
“I think it has to be the sheer variety of each and every day that comes from our customers, suppliers and staff. While in theory a cycle is repeated each year, it is never the same and offers new challenges and experiences every time.” —
50 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
ADVICE Industry experts answer your retail questions —
HOW CAN I CAPITALISE ON THE FESTIVE SEASON WITH EMAIL MARKETING?
HOW DOES NEW SICK PAY RULING AFFECT EMPLOYERS?
Now is the time to be conducting important audits of your email marketing campaigns to capitalise on the Christmas retail season. Here are three key points to remember:
To what extent a worker on long-term sick leave, who has been unable to take holiday due to sickness, is entitled to carry forward accrued but untaken holiday to a subsequent leave year has been hotly debated in courts throughout Europe.
Forms for mobile devices: Test function and usability of forms on smartphones and tablets. Ensure that the forms render properly, correctly capture data points and are easy for the potential subscriber to use. Customise forms for mobile devices and plan to promote them in your stores to increase subscriber acquisition and help the customer to take advantage of both in-store and online shopping opportunities. Site load time is a huge factor in a mobile user experience; so if you are linking to your site, make sure that it can handle the increased traffic. Review the 2012 communication plan: At this stage, you have reviewed mailing data from Christmas 2012 and pencilled in a few ideas for your 2013 communication plan. Review the best and worst performing campaigns, promotions that were or were not successful and how timing affected the performance of your messages. This information can be vital in getting a jump on this year’s holiday season. Find the gaps between your intentions and the reality of what was sent last year. Did you veer off course because of underperformance, technical issues or resource limitations? Build the 2013 Christmas communication plan: A well-built communication plan should include, at a minimum, the following: - Mailing name, send date and day of week - Subject line options - Promotion information – goal, actual and difference for open, click and conversion rate - Segment to be mailed – goal, actual and difference for revenue Although numerous reports will be generated over the Christmas period, documenting your mailing plan will help you track progress, measure performance, troubleshoot issues and provide a record of the season when you start planning for the 2014 holiday period. By following these guidelines and planning now, you can maximise the return on investment of your Christmas email marketing campaigns. —
Kestrel Lemen is a marketing strategist at Bronto Software. Email fieldworksmarketing.co.uk.
The European Working Time Directive (the Directive) governs this area of law and was implemented in the UK by way of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). Workers in the UK are entitled to 28 days annual leave per year: • 20 days “ordinary” annual leave (regulation 13, WTR), a right guaranteed by the Directive. • 8 days “additional” annual leave (regulation 13A, WTR), a right under domestic legislation only. It is established law that ordinary annual leave can be carried over by workers on long-term sick leave, but not whether the “additional” eight days could be carried over. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) gave its view in Sood Enterprises v Healy. Mr Healy was on sick leave from July 2010 until June 2011. He had taken 11 days’ holiday out of his 28-day entitlement in 2010 and had accrued 14 days’ holiday in 2011, when his employment ended. He received no payment in lieu of accrued holiday on termination of his employment and brought unpaid holiday claims. The employment tribunal relied on the EAT decision in NHS Leeds v Larner, in which the EAT found that a worker who was signed off sick for the entire leave year was presumed not to have been well enough to exercise what the ECJ has described as the “right to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure” and could carry over the full 28-day holiday entitlement to the next leave year. The EAT, however, held instead that regulation 13A of the WTR did not allow for the carrying over or payment in lieu of the additional eight days’ entitlement. Therefore it was only up to 20 days ordinary annual leave that could be carried forward. This decision is good news for employers as it goes some way to reducing the potentially high cost of accrued holiday pay for departing staff after long periods of sick leave. The Coalition has indicated that when the WTR are amended in line with recent ECJ decisions on holiday and sickness, its intention is to enshrine the principle in Sood in the amended legislation, and this judgment should go some way to push government in the right direction. —
Joanna Chatterton is a partner in the Fashion Law Group at Fox Williams LLP, specialising in employment law. Email email@example.com or call 020 7614 2617.
Garments that won’t hang about. The steamer that will.
For more information Tel: 020 8417 0660
52 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
FOR SALE MILLINERY
15O HATS AND FACINATORS.
Sale due to retirement Brands include Nigel Raymont, Hat Box, etc.
For more details contact: Daphne on 01559 363454.
STEAMERS AND IRONS
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53 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
NAMES AND NUMBERS Ahilya 020 8969 2650 www.ahilya.com Aka 07814 239699 Bellfield 020 7739 7620 www.bellfieldclothing.com Cameo 020 7349 8887 www.cameothelabel.com.au Charlie Jade 020 7228 6818 www.charliejadebrand.com Charli London 020 8440 1321 www.charli.co.uk Daisy Street 0161 883 0047 www.daisystreet.co.uk Dead Lovers 0161 235 5289 Finders Keepers 020 7725 5700 www.finderskeepersthelabel.com.au Join 020 8349 7287 www.joinclothes.com Koo-Ture 0161 834 6281 www.koo-ture.com Lavish Alice www.lavishalice.com Louche 020 7091 1898 www.louchelondon.com Marc Cain 020 7436 0705 www.marc-cain.com Mia by Mia Nisbet 07734 450315 www.fashionbymia.com Mothermoods 0161 212 7590 www.mothermoods.com Mrs Pomeranz 07403 267772 www.mrspomeranz.bigcartel.com Neon Rose 0161 235 5289 www.neonrose.co.uk Of The Realm 0161 829 0752 www.oftherealm.co.uk Party 21 0161 834 6509 www.party21uk.com Poppy Lux 01273 911393 www.poppylux.com Rock & Religion 0161 236 7710 Ruby Prom 01909 774522 www.rubyprom.com Ruby Rocks 07973 718301 www.rubyrocks.com Voodoo Vixen 020 7702 3155 Wondaland 020 7434 4050 www.wondaland.co.uk
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54 WOMENSWEAR BUYER — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL —
CLAIRE MERRY The founder and designer of “it” lingerie brand Dirty Pretty Things confesses her obsession with lingerie, high fashion and her plans for the brand. —
You started out as a lingerie model – what prompted you to take the leap into lingerie design? I am a lingerie addict; even now, five years into having my own business, I still can’t get enough of the endless possibilities of lingerie design. I believe that if you are wearing sensational lingerie you have kick-started a positive day. I love the detail and trying to create high fashion on a small scale. Do you feel there is an increasing crossover between lingerie and RTW fashion? I think the crossover between lingerie and RTW fashion is becoming more and more apparent. When I started Dirty Pretty Things, I was setting out to achieve a more fashion-forward lingerie brand. And, with continual bestselling pieces, such as our bodies worn in the day and night, I think women feel more confident to embrace lingerie as outerwear. I continually try to push the boundaries between fashion and lingerie. Collaborations with creative and influential people such as jewellery designer Stephen Webster and urban artist Goldie are adding to this. What’s the USP of your brand? We always have a “dirty” and “pretty” side to our collections, which has been hugely successful for our retailers. I know that some days I feel more “girly” and some days more “vamp”. We create in-house prints and look for interesting new colourways and textures each season, making our lingerie fun and eye-catching. You have created a new swimwear line for spring/summer 20 14 – what will it look like? We are very excited for our swimwear range to hit stores in November. It’s a graphically strong collection, with powerful prints and contrasting colours seen on a range of one-pieces, bikinis and loungewear – keeping in line with our strong brand identity. Other than that, we are currently working on our diffusion line Flirty Pretty Things, with the hope to launch for a/w 14. This collection will be of a much lower price point and range from a B to H cup. —
INSIDER: Who is your style icon? Joan Jett [American rock artist]. I love her rock ’n’ roll look, and am drawing inspiration from her style for my next collection. — Which fashion designer do you admire? Vivienne Westwood. Her quirkiness and eccentricities both personally and shown in her designs make her a favourite to follow season on season. — What’s the best piece of industry advice you’ve ever been given? Treat those who work for you and with you how you would like to be treated. Your longevity and reputation will speak for itself. — What’s the one fashion item you can’t live without? My dark tortoiseshell crystal Chanel sunglasses. The school run would be even more horrendous without them.
1 9 - 2 1 J A N U A R Y 2 014 S C O O P - I N T E R N AT I O N A L . C O M LONDON Venues: Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY Phillips, Howick Place, SW1P 1BB Image: Catarina Vasconcelos. From the project “Metaphor or sadness inside out”, video and photography 2013