- AFP |
The world's biggest watch fair will open in Switzerland this week, even as slumping exports of luxury Swiss timepieces appear to dash hopes of a market rebound. Global exports of Swiss watches slid 10 percent in February to 1.5 billion Swiss francs (1.5 billion dollars, 1.4 billion euros), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) said Tuesday.
The news cast a shadow over the looming Baselworld trade fair, which opens its doors to the media on Wednesday and to the public a day later. The giant gathering in the northern Swiss city of Basel is the highlight of the year for watch and jewellery makers, with hoards of retailers looking to fill their showcases with pricey bling.
Investors had been hoping this year's 45th edition would open on a more positive note amid signs that the market was stabilising and even on the verge o f a rebound after two years of deep crisis. C itigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet described Tuesday's export numbers as a "reality check". He said the figures showed there was "no underlying improvement" in the industry, despite a more "upbeat mood" from senior watch executives, and a more optimistic tone from the FHS in its January release.
Exports to Hong Kong, the biggest market for Swiss watches, slumped 12.1 percent last month. And exports to the United States, the second biggest market, plunged 26.2 percent. Most European markets also fell, and sales to Japan tumbled 17.3 percent. Exports to China, however, rose 6.7 percent year-on-year in February.
That represents some much-needed good news for the industry -- China was the main driver of several years of euphoric growth for Swiss watches, with Chinese consumers' thirst for luxury goods sparking a production boom. But the market suffered a severe hit after Beijing in 2013 began cracking down on corruption by banning extravagant gifts like expensive watches to public officials.
And since then the storm clouds have multiplied, with the pro-democracy Umbrella protests in Hong Kong also chipping away at sales, followed by a range of deadly terrorist attacks in European cities frightening off luxury-seeking Asian tourists. In 2016, Swiss watch exports shrank 9.9 percent, after contracting 3.3 percent a year earlier.
But in recent months, there were some indications the market was stabilising. Exports to China gradually inched back into positive terrain during the second half of 2016, and a number of markets around the world put on a healthy glow during the holiday season at the end of the year.
Watch makers themselves have also been making increasingly soothing sounds about the health of the market and justifying production hikes. Swatch Group chief Nick Hayek told reporters last week that he was now aiming for "healthy growth", driven particularly by China's growing middle class, which he said once again appeared hungry for consumption.
With uncertainty abound, Baselworld, which each year draws around 1,500 exhibitors and some 150,000 visitors, should help gauge the actual state of the luxury watch market. (AFP) group
Photos: Senator Excellence Panorama Date and Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase, Omega, Swatch Group
- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Jonathan Anderson is set to follow in the footsteps of Tim Coppens, Sir Paul Smith and Raf Simons as the next upcoming guest designer at Italian menswear trade show Pitto Uomo. “I'm honored to have been asked to show at Pitti Uomo,” said Anderson in a statement. "Florence’s aesthetic is beautiful, which will lend itself to be the perfect backdrop for the collection."
Founder and creative director of his own eponymous brand J.W Anderson and creative director at the LVMH-owned Spanish luxury brand Loewe, Anderson announced that he had been selected as a special guest designer for Pitti Uomo 92nd edition via his Instagram account.
"We have been keeping a careful eye on Jonathan Anderson’s career for several seasons," added Lapo Cianchi, Pitti Immagine Director of Communications and Events. "Above all, we are drawn to the creativity and eclecticism he expresses in his collections that are further enhanced by high-quality manufacturing and – in menswear -- by undisputable sartorial skill. The way he reinterprets elements from the contemporary art scene and from the youth culture, alternating emotional impact (such as out-of-scale volumes) and transgression that are projected towards anticipating the future leaving little room for nostalgia, is very interesting. And his shows are always surprising, with great communicative strength."
The young designer, who first launched his own menswear label in 2008, is set present his label's Spring/Summer 2018 collection on the catwalk on June 14, during the celebrated trade fair in Florence. Seen as somewhat of a trail-blazer within the menswear sector, with inspirational sources ranging from Peter and the Wolf to dating apps like Tinder and Grindr, attendees can expect an a one-of-a-kind show, as Cianchi hinted.
- Regina Henkel |
“Future” was probably the word cited most often during EuroShop, the world’s largest trade show, which ran for five days and ended on 9 March in Düsseldorf. But the look of this retail future is uncertain. The only certainty is that retail will look much differently in the future than it does today.
The borders are becoming blurred – in every respect
The consensus in the fashion industry is that it will be facing major challenges in the coming years. The disruptions associated with digitalisation will fundamentally alter the design and function of conventional stores. The seasons will be reshaped due to climate change and people's passion for traveling and not least, because of the constant demand for new, fresh merchandise to be displayed in store. At the same time, product offerings are becoming increasingly diverse and creative, whereby clothing is designed to evoke emotions in combination with food, repair services, and so on.
More than ever before, sales clerks are required to take on the role of advisor and provider of inspiration. ”I believe that conventional sales clerks on the floor will all be replaced by stylists in a few years’ time”, says Raul Sanchez of Interstore, who used to be head of design at Jelmoli. The centre of attention will therefore shift to the changing rooms. Experts point out the importance of making these more appealing in the coming years, as this is where the purchase decision is made. At Schweitzer and Interstore, steps have been taken to the effect that the store of the future will only consist of a changing room. The customer will select the items of interest online in advance and come in to try them on in a comfortable, relaxing setting. The stores of the future will be smaller, because their function of actually fulfilling the whole transaction will diminish as a result of the online presence. Instead, they should focus on the real experience, evoke emotions and showcase the brand. That is to say: the ratio of surface area containing merchandise to convenience areas e.g. dedicated to the changing rooms will change considerably.
Flexibility: the store must change constantly
While in the past a store had to be redesigned every seven years according to an unwritten rule, this timeframe has increased drastically today. According to the industry, it is now necessary to redesign a store every three to four years. In order to finance this endeavour, store fitters are feverishly working on the development of modular, flexible store equipment elements, which can regularly be rearranged or expanded as necessary. For example, this means going to such lengths that all merchandise fixtures are mounted on the ceiling in the existing track lighting system at Vizona. As a result, no expensive constructions need to be mounted on the walls or the floor at all. The electricity for powering narrow LED strips that are integrated into the shelves and provide different moods of light is also accessible from the top. The trend toward flexibility continues with the mannequins, whose faces can be modified at lightning speed, using different eyes and lips for example, such as at Window in France.
Lighting: it all depends on the target audience
Light is perceived unconsciously, but it is nevertheless one of the key components of the store design. After all, lighting plays a crucial role in whether or not a customer feels comfortable in a shop. Only if he feels comfortable, is he then willing to linger for a while and only then will he make a purchase and return to the store. So far, so good. However, according to a recent study conducted by lighting specialist Zumtobel, different target groups have different expectations with regard to lighting. The focus of lighting on certain types of target groups, known as human centric lighting, was one of the innovations in the area of lighting. When designing the lighting concept for a store, it is therefore increasingly important to be cognizant of one’s target audience.
Digitalisation: from electronics to Big Data
Digitalisation in retail was among the main topics at the EuroShop. In the future, customers will increasingly expect all channels to be interconnected, irrespective of how the processes behind it are organised. Comprehensive IT solutions are required to achieve this. The digital dimension is not an “add-on”, but an integral component in the planning of the respective retail strategy and the store outfit. For example, it includes the supply of electricity to merchandise fixtures such as shelves, so that tablets or screens can be mounted on them. By now, store design specialist Vitra equips all merchandise fixtures with electronic connectors. ”We are not developing any more systems without electric connectors”, says Sebastian Nisi von Vitra.
Big Data has also arrived in the fixed stores. In the past, it was the privilege of online players to generate data regarding their target group in a way that enabled them to obtain valuable insights with regard to marketing and the merchandise portfolio. In contrast, the fixed store was considered a black box by many. With the help of thermal imaging cameras and so-called heat maps, store operators are now also able to generate data in their shops and to measure for instance the customer frequency in different places of the store at different times of day and to find out which marketing strategies are most effective in which target group. Nowadays, these cameras are even capable of establishing people's gender. In addition, the aim is to identify logos and determine clothing styles in order to obtain information that is as accurate as possible about their target group.
Visual merchandising: uniqueness is compulsory
The visual merchandising halls featuring the store display models and new merchandise presentation ideas are always a optical highlight of the EuroShop. Metallic sheen was the favourite among the new designs, followed by graphic elements in the trendy colours of the 1980s. While Dutch mannequin producer Hans Boodt drew his inspiration from the elegance of the 1920s, Window Mannequin in France developed a brand-new method for creating customised lifelike mannequins. It is based on a technology that is used in animated movies, where a human body is captured three-dimensionally in seconds with a multitude of cameras and reconstructed within several days by means of robots. This method enables a brand to commission unique, lifelike mannequins. Ralph Hutchings, art director at Window elaborates: ”brands spend large amounts of money for the right model and for their own store design – particularly in the luxury segment. So when it comes to mannequins, why should they resort to cookie-cutter solutions?"
High demand for information
EuroShop, which takes place only once every three years, has evolved from a conventional trade show to an innovation platform and a forum for discussion for new trade ideas. This is also demonstrated by the extensive program of presentations. For the first time, 2,367 exhibitors from 61 countries presented their merchandise on nearly 128,000 square meters in 18 instead of 16 halls, making it the biggest version of the EuroShop in its 50-year history.
Photos: by Regina Henkel, FashionUnited
- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Birmingham fashion trade fair Moda is set to launch a new area this August dedicated to lingerie, swimwear, activewear and intimate apparel. Known as Moda Body/Active, the new section will replace the previous Moda Lingerie & Swimwear, which was alongside of Moda since February 2016.
“There are now so few boundaries between the intimate, active and everyday wardrobe, and we’re going to be reflecting that with a brand new area at Moda for August,” commented Moda’s Penny Robinson, who will be heading up the Moda Body/Active area in a statement. “Activewear has been one of the biggest stories in fashion for the last two years and is already part of the Moda offer, but going forward we want to create a concept where lingerie, bodywear, swimwear and activewear can all be seen in the broader context of fashion and lifestyle.”
The new area, which will debut at Moda's summer edition running from August 6 to 8, will also feature live content to showcase the ways retailers can tap into the growing 'wellness' trend. In addition, it will also feature a larger range of men's swimwear and underwear, focusing on specialist stores and independents menswear retailers. Items on show at the new area will also be featured on the Moda catwalk, which is set to move to a new location adjacent to the womenswear, menswear and body/active areas of the trade fair.
“Since the launch of Moda Lingerie & Swimwear back in 2010 we’ve continued to adapt the event to the needs of the intimate apparel industry, and in 2016 created a completely separate show environment for the sector,” added ITE Moda portfolio director Nick Cook. “As the industry has changed however it’s become clear that this format no longer suits the requirements of many of the show’s core brands, and we’re therefore excited to be launching a new concept in which this vibrant sector of the market can be integrated into the broader Moda event.”
Photo: Courtesy of Moda
- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Three years after Amsterdam Denim Days was launched in the capital of the Netherlands - an annual showcase which sees thousands of denim lovers and enthusiasts flock to the city to engage in a number of events - comes the debut of its American counterpart: New York Denim Days.
Set to take place from September 30 to October 1 at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street, New York Denim Days aims to bring together the world's leading denim insiders, designers and brands with denim consumers under one roof. "The energy and inspiration we all get from the successful and influential Amsterdam Denim Days is immense. We can’t wait to launch an all-American version for style-setting, indigo-devoted New Yorkers," said Lucel van den Hoeven, founder of Amsterdam Denim Days.
A series of events is scheduled to take place during the two day denim festival, including interactive displays and workshops from brands, designers and denim-mill sharing their work alongside in-store events, a vintage denim marker as well as panels and parties, which all aim to offer consumers direct access to their favourite denim brands and influencers. The full schedule for the debut New York Denim Days is set to be announced shortly.
Amsterdam Denim Days was first launched in Amsterdam three years ago by the House of Denim, Jean School and HTNK, an recruitment and consultancy firm together with denim supply chain trade fair the Kingpins show, "As a collaborator in Amsterdam Denim Days, I have had the great pleasure to see an incredible concept resonate with an audience and grow each season," commented Andrew Olah, founder of the Kingpins Show, and co-founder of New York Denim Days.
"We believe that denim lovers stateside are ready for a denim festival of their own. There is so much passion for denim here, so many great resources, personalities and craftsmen that will help us make New York Denim Days a must-attend event for the denim community." Amsterdam Denim Days upcoming edition is set to take place from April 17 to 23.
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Best of Britannia, the trade and consumer show which celebrates established and emerging British talent, has confirmed that it will hold its next London edition in the former Boiler House of the Truman Brewery in Spitalfields, east London.
Moving from Victoria House, the new space offers 25,000 square feet of brand space, alongside an outdoor courtyard that will be able to provide street food and cocktails, organisers said.
The event will take place on October 12 and 13 and will once again showcase hundreds of the “best in British designers and makers”, and this year the event will combine two days of “concentrated trade activity, networking, and a bespoke customer evening”.
In a short statement, organisers said: “The BOB Team have spent the past three months consolidating and augmenting our trade buyer database and forging alliances with key trade and industry partners to provide a concerted and strategic campaigning approach, to in turn, ensure a highly targeted, bespoke attendee list.”
In 2016, the Best of Britannia event hosted more than 150 brands across menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, footwear, accessories, jewellery, cycling, motoring, and home furnishings, as well as showcasing food and drink, and a wellbeing area.
Best of Britannia will take place from October 12-13 at the Truman Brewery in Spitalfields.
- Jackie Mallon |
The three-day childrenswear trade show welcomed designers from the U.S., Spain, Italy, the U.K. among other countries, to present their new apparel, shoes and accessories collections. According to data provided by euromonitor.com, childrenswear accounts for 12 percent of the apparel market but, in the last five years, its growth has outpaced both men’s and womenswear. In 2016 it grew by 6 percent to be worth 31.6 million dollars compared to 4 percent in 2014, and this pattern is predicted to steadily continue until 2020. This can be attributed to a number of factors: rising birth rates, parents in developing markets having more disposable income than ever before, parents choosing to have children later in life, the rise in popularity of junior influencers like Prince George and Blue Ivy, and Instagram sensations such as four-year-old Farouk James.
So the 200 brands exhibiting at Playtime have reason to be optimistic. The athleisure trend in adult apparel wasn’t in great evidence at the fair, despite the qualities of comfort and practicality being prerequisites of kids’ clothing. There was however a noticeable prioritizing of well-crafted timeless basics (like variants of Prince George’s famous navy v-neck sweater) and an almost universal appreciation of organic, fair trade fabrics and practices.
Nami, who now lives in Belgrade, Serbia, and Miriam who lives in Melbourne, Australia, met over twenty years ago while studying at Rhode Island School of Design and, after an international career working in womenswear, launched their childrenswear line, Kin––“There are a lot of Skype sessions!” They make all their pieces in India and are happy to explain why: “Our fabrics are all sustainable wool and cotton; we use block printing which is a craft there that’s unfortunately dying out but which creates no waste, unlike screen printing. The printer carves the wooden block and then uses it as a stamp; perfectly efficient. Our dyes are non-toxic so none of them will end up coloring the rivers which is what happens with the traditional harsh chemical dyeing processes. The Indian factories can do embellishment like no other. Those skills are just undeniable to their culture so there’s a harmony to that.”
“We also work with a Bolivian woman who hand-knits our alpaca pieces as part of a cooperative,” says Miriam. “It’s good to know that women, many of them mothers, can work from home and be independent.” Kin make styles for both mother and child, but the designers don’t identify with the “mini me” idea of dressing one’s children in fussy adult styles. “We are selective. Our shapes are geometric and we avoid standardization of pattern making,” says Nami. “But at the end of the day, we design for people, and some of them just happen to be small.” Meanwhile Miriam proudly lifts the hem of a dress to display the care label printed with the words Be kind to your kin.
Kindness in kidswear seems to be the overriding trend. New label Viverano, showing at Playtime for the first time, partners with CHETNA, an organization which establishes infrastructure and ensures ethical standards in some of India’s most impoverished areas where a mere decade ago families had been left starving and the environment decimated after aggressive GMO cotton farming killed the soil and contaminated the water. Now the organization has created a robust community of smallholder organic cotton farmers. Fledgeling knitwear label Mouse In The House has similar motivations and describe their wares as “ethical heirlooms,” boasting “All sales are reinvested in makers’ communities.”
This promise of essential at-oneness with the various levels of the manufacturing chain seems to have organically led to a large-scale rejection of extraneous detailing: the clichéd frills, sparkly embellishments and tutu shapes for girls seem to be on the wane in favor of a cleaner aesthetic exemplified by Amsterdam-based Gray Label, which sells itself as “Organic apparel for the little minimalist.” A rustic homespun feeling pervaded many collections and dominant color palettes were earthy and vegetable-hued, with classic notes of navy and bottle green.
The back-to-basics approach even extended to children’s toys, specifically the range of paper dolls by NYC-based company Of Unusual Kind, whose Austrian founder Anja Kroencke draws each doll by hand and sells them with a selection of outfits and accessories. They provide what she calls, “a beautiful handcrafted respite from technology.”
Now that’s what I call Playtime.
By contributing guest editor Jackie Mallon, who is on the teaching faculty of several NYC fashion programmes and is the author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Title image from MITH.com; Farouk James from his Facebook; all other photographs by Jackie Mallon for FashionUnited
- Vivian Hendriksz |
Pure London kicked off in high spirits on Sunday, as press, buyers and visitors flocked to Olympia London for the bi-annual fashion trade fair. Pure welcomed over 800 women’s wear and men’s wear exhibitors, ranging from up and coming designers to established fashion brands, who showcased their upcoming Autumn/Winter 2017-2018 women’s wear, men’s wear, footwear, accessories and handbags. 60 percent of the brand line-up for this season are international, with a number of brands opting to exhibit exclusively at Pure. Newness, exclusivity and relevance in the brands showing as well as the seminar line-up are just a few of the key factors that helped bring in buyers from Asos, House of Fraser and The Dressing Room.
Were you unable to attend Pure London in person this season, or are you curious to see what the show looks like? Fret not, as FashionUnited has rounded up a series of photographs and show highlights of Pure London AW 17 edition for you below.
Alexandra Shulman takes to the stage on Day 1
One of the key moments to take place during Pure this season saw current Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, take to the main stage to share her industry insights. She began her keynote speech with a recount of her first interview for Vogue in 1992, before moving on to discuss other hot topics occurring within the industry, such as the bricks and clicks debate and increasing competition on the high street. Shulman encouraged independent retailers to constantly ask themselves ‘what is the extra thing you can do to make your customer attach to you’.
She then went on to discuss the changes to the fashion week calendars and timetables are affecting the industry, the ‘see now, buy now’ debate. Although Shulman believes the ‘jury is still out’ when it comes to which tactic is the most successful, she stressed the importance of digital channels, such as Instagram, as well as brands and retailers need to create excitement and deliver demanding customer expectations, whatever the product. Her two most important pieces of advice during her talk were: ‘Why me?’ and ‘What can I bring that is new to the party?’
“It was great to have Alexandra Shulman at Pure London, a fantastic opportunity to listen to someone who is so respected in the industry,” commented Deryane Tadd, Owner of The Dressing Room, St Albans. “She gave such a warm, engaging and insightful speech that was clearly in tune with and relevant to our business..”
This edition saw Pure London’s recently launched men division triple in size from its debut in 2016, with over 150 men’s wear brands from over 23 different countries, including France, Portugal and Hong Kong exhibiting exclusively at Pure Man. “I’m really excited to see the diversity of brands showcasing in Pure Man for AW17,” commented Adam Gough, Head of Menswear at Pure. “We have designers from over all over the world showcasing their latest offering, bringing together a great mix of different styles and trends. We have plenty of Pure Man exclusives that I’m sure will excite the buyers looking for something fresh.”
New and upcoming designers exhibiting in Pure Man’s Emerging Brands section, including Studio Mulder, 40 Colori and Suedebird. In addition, Pure Men new, inaugural sub-section, entitled Concept, is home to premium and bespoke men’s wear collections from 150 Yards Ahead, Arc Minute, Arstides Vanis, Night Addict, Telm London and The Tie Co. Other men’s wear brands showing include Berwich, Remus Uomo, Cheap Monday, Brave Soul, Bellfield, Dedicated Brand, Casual Friday and Original Penguin.
Pure London AW 17/18 Show Highlights
Other show highlights include Pure London catwalk shows, which were divided by theme this year, WSGN’s Sara Maggioni buyer briefings which explored future fashion trends and a seminar led by Sacha Wilkins, also known as Liberty London Girl on how brands should work with the right social media influencers. Pure London AW17-18 is set to run today and tomorrow from 9:30 am to 16:00 pm on Tuesday, February 14 at Olympia London.
Photos courtesy of Pure London
- Sara Ehlers |
This year, sourcing event Kingpins has announced it’s going to get involved with the political stance of fashion. Going to Washington D.C. for a live-stream event, the trade show is planning to discuss the intermix of politics and fashion and how it can affect businesses.
Known for its trade events in Amsterdam and New York, Kingpins focuses on denim and textiles in the fashion industry. In a recent announcement from the trade event, Kingspin has decided to host a live panel from Washington, D.C. discussing how NAFTA, TPP, and a Trump presidency may affect the global textile industry. The live-stream will be on February 9 at 10AM including a short panel. The panel will consist of president of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA); Augustine Tantillo, president and chief executive of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO); and Robert Antoshak, managing director of Olah Inc.
The sourcing events allows others to attend the live show through a link. This is the first episode of Kingspins exploring the relationship between government policies and the textile/fashion industries. Currently, Kingpins has not announced when its next episode will be specifically. However, this currently show will delve mostly into President Donald Trump’s politicies and trade deals that affect the fashion climate.
- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - LondonEdge, the fashion trade show for alternative fashion and youth subcultures, is set to launched a new addition to the event this season, namely the LondonEdge Awards.
Set to run from February 12 to 13 at the Business Design Center in Islington, LondonEdge aims to celebrate creative and original exhibitors at its debut awards ceremony. The team behind the tradeshow has developed a series of accolades to honour the best brands across the board, ranging from newcomers to established heritage brands.
Each award nominee is set to be judged by a panel, consisting of members of press, leading buyers and key influences. The awards has been split into different categories including Best Retro Clothing Brand, Best Alternative Clothing Brand and Influencers Choice Award. The winners of the awards will be announced during the LondonEdge launch party on the evening of February 12 and are set to receive a LondonEdge engraved trophy.
“It’s going to be great. This time the awards will be a chilled and fun affair voted prior to the show and delivered at the opening party," said LondonEdge Director Carole Hunter in a statement. "We’re looking to develop the idea further next season and beyond. Just wish we could give all of our exhibitors a trophy!"