The Business of Fashion Podcast
10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era

10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era

April 9, 2021

As retail stores begin to re-open this summer after a year of lockdown, Doug Stephens shares strategies for post-pandemic success from his new book, Resurrecting Retail.

 

Retail’s Darwinian shakeout over the last year has consolidated market power in the hands of dominant e-commerce players. But a brand, even if small, can still be mighty. The key is focus and finding a relevant niche, Doug Stephens said at VOICES 2020, previewing his new book, Resurrecting Retail, out on April 13.”

In the post-pandemic retail era, purpose will be the new positioning,” Stephens said. “What will be your brand’s reason for existing?” he asked.Stephens outlines 10 reasons why retail should exist in 2021 and beyond, from product education to activism.

  • “I see Covid-19 not as a mere accelerator, I see it as a threshold,” said Stephens. “As a unique wormhole in time where society as a whole is being pulled out of the industrial era and across the threshold of the digital age.” Though 2020 was challenging for a lot of retail companies, it has made the big ones like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com and Walmart even stronger and better prepared to capture more of the global retail economy.

  • Brands must think about purpose: what is the question your brand answers? Companies that succeed in the marketplace do this well. “When we buy Nike products, we’re buying a cultural point of view, and Nike answers a very specific consumer question. The question, of course, is ‘Who inspires me?’” Stephens said.

  • In the post-pandemic world, the media will no longer be just the message. “Every form of media now, that the consumer has exposure to, is no longer simply a call out to go to the store,” Stephens said. “Every form of media must be the store.”

 

Related Articles:

Take a Look Inside The Post-Pandemic Store

The New Rules of Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Tapping Into the Future of Physical Retail

 

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The Year That Changed the World

The Year That Changed the World

March 19, 2021

A year after coronavirus lockdowns swept the world, BoF’s Imran Amed looks back at a period of sweeping change in conversation with leading voices from inside and outside fashion.

Unraveling Kering’s Investment in Vestiaire Collective

Unraveling Kering’s Investment in Vestiaire Collective

March 5, 2021

Vestiaire Collective’s chief executive Max Bittner opens up about the resale platform’s big deal with the French luxury group.

 

This week, a new €178 million round of financing put Vestiaire Collective’s valuation above $1 billion and gave it a high-profile new partner in the form of Kering, one of the world’s leading luxury groups. Having acquired a 5 percent stake in the Paris-based resale company, Kering joined investors like Condé Nast, French private equity firm Eurazeo and tech-focused investment firm Tiger Global Management.

Though resale has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to the growth of platforms like Vestiaire Collective, luxury brands have been reticent to get involved. Kering’s investment marks a notable shift in attitude.

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Vestiaire Collectives’s chief executive, Max Bittner, sits down with BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed, to explain why Kering invested in the company and what that investment means for the company’s future, and why he believes the resale market is an exciting and fast-expanding sector.

”This is not a short term trend,” said Bittner. “This is something consumers are looking for. This is something especially young consumers are expecting from the brands they want to endorse. So, I think both us and the brands are realising consumers expect us.”

Related Articles:

Why Kering Invested in Vestiaire Collective

Should Luxury Build Resale Into Its Business Model?

The Resale Gold Rush Rolls On

 

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How Independent Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Crisis

How Independent Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Crisis

February 16, 2021

BoF’s Imran Amed discusses transparency, cooperation and disruption with Dries Van Noten, Anya Hindmarch and Stefano Martinetto, leaders of two early pandemic initiatives — The Forum and Rewiring Fashion — to share thinking on the role of independent fashion brands and retailers amidst the biggest crisis in the history of the modern fashion industry.

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Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop

Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop

February 5, 2021

A new era for Topshop is about to begin. On Monday, digital fashion retailer Asos purchased the high-street label, along with sister brands Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, for £295 million ($403 million). The deal ended months of speculation about Topshop’s future after parent Arcadia Group fell into administration last November, as BoF senior editorial associate Tamison O’Connor reported in a BoF Professional article breaking down why Asos needs Topshop.

“It’s been very sad for me to see them go through what they’ve been through in the last few months,” retail veteran and former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson told BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed on this week’s podcast.

Shepherdson discusses her time at Topshop when it was at the height of its success, the internal and external forces that caused the brand’s demise, before O’Connor weighs in on what the future might hold for the brand under Asos’ ownership.

  • Topshop’s decline was a long-time coming, Shepherdson said, reflecting on her time at the brand. She joined Arcadia as a young graduate and worked her way up the ranks as a buyer, spearheading Topshop’s transformation into a fashion destination. But she left the company in 2006 as Philip Green, who bought Arcadia Group in 2002, became more involved in the business. “He was an asset stripper, more than anything else. He bought businesses, and then sold them again,” she said. “My philosophy was that you would make sure that you designed and bought something that was so amazing that no one would be able to resist it.”

 

  • Asos’ ambition to capitalise on the newly acquired Arcadia brands and customer databases will depend on establishing a strong and independent identities for Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT on the Asos platform, O’Connor said.

 

  • O’Connor goes on to explain how the British high street’s transformation into a largely online market has been accelerated by the pandemic, having brought long-struggling British retailers like Debenhams and Arcadia Group to their knees.

     

 

Related Articles:

Why Asos Needs Topshop

Why Digital Fashion Companies Are Buying Up Tired Brands

The Rise and Fall of Topshop: What Went Wrong

 

 

 

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What Extended Lockdowns and Slow Vaccine Distribution Mean for the Fashion Business

What Extended Lockdowns and Slow Vaccine Distribution Mean for the Fashion Business

January 21, 2021

BoF’s Imran Amed and McKinsey’s Achim Berg discuss what the fashion industry can expect as the world continues to battle Covid-19.

With coronavirus cases surging in most of Europe, extended lockdowns show no immediate sign of easing, while in the US ongoing political and social unrest is set against a backdrop of widespread Covid-19 infections. For fashion, the repercussions will be felt for years to come, but the extent of the impact will largely depend on the handling of such crises over the course of the next year.In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed and Achim Berg, global leader of McKinsey’s apparel, fashion and luxury group, discuss the key trends laid out in BoF and McKinsey’s joint annual report, The State of Fashion 2021, in light of recent developments.
  • While experts had warned that the winter months would be challenging, super-spreading virus mutations in Brazil, South Africa and the UK have further complicated matters. “It’s fair to say that we expected lockdowns, we expected restrictions, but we didn’t expect them that early, and we didn’t expect them to take that long,” said Berg, adding that these developments might indicate a slower-than-anticipated recovery for fashion.
  • The closing of physical retail and low consumer confidence has hit retailers both with and without e-commerce hard. “Even if online is growing at 50 percent, you cannot compensate for physical retail,” said Berg. But it’s not all bad news. “The moment things normalise, I think people want to have the shopping experience again,” he added.
  • Stores reliant on tourists for a large portion of their sales are reeling from losses as flights stay grounded, but there is also cause for optimism. “It’s a whole new game, but it’s also an opportunity” said Berg. “I would argue that because in some locations it was easy to serve international customers, they didn’t put [enough] emphasis on serving local consumers.”
 
 
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Dries Van Noten on Opening a Store During a Pandemic

Dries Van Noten on Opening a Store During a Pandemic

October 29, 2020
BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with the Belgian designer about his new community-centred art hub and why the clothing store could do with a makeover.
 
LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s been just over two weeks since Dries Van Noten opened his latest store in downtown Los Angeles — a 8,500-square-foot, multi-storey building intended as a hub for art, fashion, music and community. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, the Belgian designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the inspiration behind his new brick-and-mortar venture and his plans for future fashion weeks.
  • It may seem counterintuitive to debut a new store during a pandemic, when shops are open one day and forced to close the next, but Van Noten’s latest venture is an attempt to reimagine what brick and mortar can be. “Stores become very static. I wanted to have more of a youth club, where people can just come in… and do things,” he said. He recently had four local artists come in and repaint the walls in an homage to street art.
  • One of the rooms in Van Noten’s store serves as an archive of unsold garments from the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. It was inspired by the idea to slow down the fashion industry. “We have a room for men and a room for women where you have a selection of pieces from old collections.”
  • When looking to the future, Van Noten reflects on the possibility of combining fashion shows with alternative ways to present collections — like fashion films or lookbooks. “By the time we go back to fashion shows, perhaps the fashion shows will be changed,” Van Noten said. “It felt not right to see — in the times we are in — a fashion show.”

 

Related Articles:
At Dries Van Noten, New Ways of Seeing
Dries Van Noten Proposes Reset to Fashion’s Deliveries and Discounting Calendar
What Happened to Rethinking the Fashion System?

 

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Craig Green Says, ‘Fashion Can Come From Anywhere’

Craig Green Says, ‘Fashion Can Come From Anywhere’

September 17, 2020
The designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about his ongoing Moncler collaboration and his dream of designing a wardrobe classic.
 
LONDON, United Kingdom — Known for his intricate seaming and detailed designs, Craig Green is currently hard at work on his Spring/Summer 2021 collection — which he is aiming to reveal in October. This time, however, it won’t be in a fashion show format. Rather, Green is exploring alternative ways of showcasing his collection that he feels are more appropriate to the times. “The way everything changed so suddenly shows you can’t really plan for anything,” Green told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Green and Blanks reflect on the designer’s ongoing collaboration with Moncler, his love of problem-solving, and his dream of designing a wardrobe classic.
  • Protection and functionality are the two words that come to Green’s mind when he thinks of Moncler, so it was crucial to incorporate them into the collections he continues to design for the heritage skiwear label. “The first collection we did with Moncler, I thought it would be interesting to think about the most obvious imagery that we associate with [the brand] like mountains and the outdoors,” the designer said. The initial partnership gave birth to many years of collaboration that most recently saw Green reimagining Moncler’s staple winter jackets into wearable art for Collection 5, which launched last December.
  • “Fashion can come from anywhere and can come from anyone,” said Green. “You have an idea of what fashion as a career will be, and then you discover designers who are so uncompromising in what they do and so individual in their voice.” For Green, it is problem-solving that continues to draw him to fashion; the endless possibilities of constructing new shapes and silhouettes using a range of textiles and patterns.
  • Green’s ultimate goal is to design a wardrobe classic, like a Burberry trench coat. But for Green, the staple is more likely to be a workwear jacket. “For a brand or designer to create one of those items is really an achievement,” said Green. “I have great respect for designers that own wardrobe classics.”
 
 

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Welcome to Retail Reborn from The Business of Fashion | Trailer

Welcome to Retail Reborn from The Business of Fashion | Trailer

September 14, 2020

In an exclusive new series from The Business of Fashion in partnership with Brookfield Properties, Doug Stephens and BoF investigate the seismic shifts transforming the retail ecosystem. From the post-pandemic consumer psyches to increased risk and growing calls for responsibility, BoF identifies the forces transforming the retail market and what they mean for the global industry.

The Retail Reborn Podcast launches on Tuesday 15 September. Subscribe now to never miss an episode.

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Farfetch’s José Neves Says Profitability Is Still Possible in 2021

Farfetch’s José Neves Says Profitability Is Still Possible in 2021

July 9, 2020

LONDON, United Kingdom —For Farfetch Founder and Chief Executive José Neves, the last six months have not only been about protecting his own business from the fallout of Covid-19, but also supporting the hundreds of boutiques around the world — from China, Japan and Korea to the Middle East and Europe — that sell their goods online through the luxury marketplace.

“We've been able to support the boutiques and the brands on the platform at crucial time where online is, for many, the main channel and for some... the only channel,” Neves told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast.

But as Neves explained, more challenges lie ahead for Farfetch and the global fashion industry at large.

  • Neves described the platform’s performance as “very solid,” and expects to see an acceleration in its second quarter, with year over year growth of 25-30%. Part of this success can be attributed to the business shifting its focus to markets where consumer sentiment has started to recover, according to Neves.
  • But Farfetch is still losing money, and investors and market analysts have questioned the company's recent acquisition of New Guards Group (NGG). The acquisition may have bolstered profitability, but it took the business in an unexpected direction: actually owning the brands it sells on its platform. But Neves said he remains “confident” that Farfetch will achieve profitability by 2021 — a goal it outlined last year, and that the NGG business is a brand platform in its own right.
  • The luxury industry has been bracing for what has been called “the mother of all sales,” as retailers are forced to drastically discount their surplus of spring merchandise. Some observers have pointed to Farfetch as a regular culprit with respect to the industry's discounting addiction even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Neves says the discounting decisions are made by the brands and the retailers themselves, and that Farfetch is simply the platform they use to go to the market, but acknowledges that deep discounting is a systemic industry problem.
  • Neves believes the fashion industry will finally reckon with its wasteful and unsustainable business practices — and partially because it can also reduce costs. “I do think the industry had an oversupply problem, which is an environmental problem as well," he said. “Platforms have a responsibility to… incentivise customers to shop consciously. By doing that you create an incentive for brands to be more conscious or to be totally ethical and sustainable if they can.”

 

Related Articles:

A Cloudy Picture at Farfetch

Farfetch Signals Growing Ambitions in Resale

Why Farfetch's Free-Spending Ways Have Some Investors Concerned

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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