Fashion is back in fashion! It’s the most promising sign for not only this season, but for all the coming seasons as well. As brands have sadly learned, added function and sustainability are not points of product differentiation - not for long.
Premiere Vision (Paris, Sept 17-19) got off to a fast start, with strong turnout from Chinese and Korean teams having a clear presence at the fair.
The mood at the fair was busy and bustling. Realistically, you have to either focus on making next season better or get left behind. Today, there are far too many brands competing for the same pool of consumers to allow anyone to be complacent. If you’re not moving ahead, you’ll get left behind.
The Brits were keeping a stiff upper lip. No one really knows what will happen on October 31st - the big Brexit deadline - so they are just carrying on as normal.
PV offered a wealth of fabulous fabrics but very much geared to the high-end market (international designers and premium brands). No surprise - the Italian mills were extremely busy.
The performance sector is starting to lose its luster. Most of the fabrics on show lacked excitement. Now the focus is clearly shifting towards fashion.
The fair featured an interesting “Smart” area that focused on sustainability and recycled. Everyone wants to get into recycled trend, not just PES (polyester), but also cotton and wool. The high street brands were all looking at this. The suppliers in this area are sincere in their beliefs - and the high street brands believe they have to have a segment of this to show that they too are helping save the planet! However consumer buy-in is still mainly from the outdoor sector or a smaller niche sector that is very eco-conscious.
Otherwise, sustainability (which most consumers use interchangeably with eco-friendly) is fast becoming a given, not a unique selling point.
The question for industry will be how to grow sales in the face of a trend towards buying less and recycling?
The next big focus looks to be transparency. Avery Dennison have developed labels with QR clothes which tell the customer where there garments were made and also how to dispose of them at end of life.
But do consumers really care? We think that most consumers want to know that the people making their clothes are paid fairly and have good working conditions and not just living on a bowl of rice a week! (a common misconception in the UK and Europe). However, realistically, people are more concerned with their own problems.
For the coming seasons, consumers will be putting quality first, backed by good style, with the expectation that brands are using cleaner and more socially responsible manufacturing practices.
We Recommend Premiere Vision Paris: For massive creativity, this is the place to go! The fair pulls together a wide range of the top international mills under one roof. Althought the fair is big, it's well organized and designers and buyers can work the fair with ease.