The retail impasse
Fashion business: the therapeutic obstinacy for an almost-dead patient
The retail impasse and the problems emerging in fashion these days revolve around two main topics: late deliveries and markdown strategies.
However, both issues are indicators of a fashion system that is basically dead, but everyone pretends not to see it. Or they refuse to accept it. So every operator in the field is on a kind of therapeutic obstinacy for a patient that is almost gone. And which, by the way, has a huge impact on the planet.
Two main points of the retail impasse
One: many stores have received a small percentage of the Spring-Summer pieces, which makes it complicated to assemble outfits. Why does this happen? Top brands monopolise good manufacturers. So smaller brands get materials late (for the same reason) and consequently are left as the last link of the chain. Therefore, they cannot deliver on time.
Two: markdown strategies and how to get rid of the stock in excess that stores keep purchasing. Even though retailers are perfectly aware that the number of people entering a store isn’t the same as in the pre-pandemic time, they don’t stop overstocking. Of course, it gets more complicated to sell discounted items! They are available online and offline throughout the year. Markdowns aren’t attractive anymore. And a discount isn’t the only reason people purchase a product.
The excessive stock policy is harmful to the planet and business. So, we must change it.
Can we find solutions to revive the fashion business?
These solutions need to experiment with new ways of operating the fashion business.
First: a dramatic reduction in consumption! Let’s face reality: if we do not consume less, much less, we can forget to have a future. So, there’s no point in procrastinating the change.
Second: a shift to artisanal garments and made-to-order clothes and accessories, having the chance to reorder during the season. It’s about choosing tailoring over mass-produced garments – quality over quantity.
If we want to overcome the retail impasse, overtreating fashion with more overproduction will take us nowhere. We need a completely different strategy: it’s a matter of reducing the number of pieces while providing a higher value.
Less but better.