A more current PAPPA new Director and a new calendar concept… Meeting with a cutting edge team whose mission is to support designer brands during the post-crisis period and renew the legitimacy of women’s ready-to-wear as an indispensable

market. See as follows.

FashionUnited: PAPP will host the event at the Palais Brongniart (Place de la Bourse) for two days on the 4th and 5th of July this year, Paris Fashion Days. What are the advantages of this event?

Muriel Piaser, new Director of PAPP trade fairs: Paris Fashion Days (PFD) and its commercial platform Before By July give designer brands a very strong positioning at a key moment of the year. We are heading towards this new project, which meets both the market and the brands’ expectations. Apart from Fashion Week, there is no “women’s” event. Not only does Paris Fashion Days come a few days ahead of the Bread & Butter trade fair and Haute Couture week, but it is also just at the time that buyers place their first orders. It is a unique opportunity for the brands to present their pre-collections.

A more current PAPPFU: Who is the target audience for Paris Fashion Days?

MP: Brands who need to establish themselves via their image outside of Fashion Week. We can’t enter into direct competition with Fashion Week, but we can offer designers a shop window, in particular for secondary collections, which are the brands’ business. I am thinking of Ventcouver’s diffusion line, “Anglomania” by Vivienne Westwood and "JC/DC" de Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

FU: Your collaboration with IMG Fashion UK which organises Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and Berlin as well as the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, it’s a coup...

MP: We have a sizeable new business partner. Our two-year partnership IMG Fashion UK [editor’s note: leader in, amongst other things, catwalk show production] is going to give us access to international recognition. It is the first time that the group has come to Paris. As well as international sponsorship, it will be in charge of advising and strategy.

FU: So this is not about competing with the PAPP trade fair in September at the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles, which will be undertaking renovations from early 2011. Is there a positive to this negative perhaps…

Jean-Pierre Mocho, Chairman of the French Federation of women’s ready-to-wear and Chairman of the Board of Sodes, the company which organises the Paris ready-to-wear trade fair (PAPP): All I would say is that the point is not to sell square metres to brands. What is important, even for an appointment outside of the trade fair, is to appear on the international calendar.

FU: What is the main strength of the PAPP group?

J-P M: To be able to offer brands representation in Paris, New York and Tokyo. The Train and The Box trade fairs in New York as well as our partnership with the Showroom 7 fair allows us to bring our European vision into play. “European-style” coherence among the collections is appreciated. At a time when Fashion Weeks overlap we try to anticipate the role of the French Federation of women’s ready-to-wear and to be present.
We remain attentive to changes in the consumer and in the market. The latest studies on textile consumption show that consumers are looking above all for creativity and quality. With Paris Fashion Days we aim to respond to this desire for fashion that translates into a product, but also into a thoughtful purchase.

FU: You feel that the PAPP team is full of energy and the desire to engage more closely with the brands.

MP: The launch of Paris Fashion Days at the Palais Brongniart bears witness to our desire to offer designer brands a complete package which includes a stand space as well as the catwalk production (fitting, make-up, hair and stage production), advice on intellectual property and counterfeiting issues. Among those who have responded positively to the invitation to Paris Fashion Days, so far we have Hache / Ter et Bantine, Anglomania / Vivienne Westwood, Chemins blancs, Ventcouvert and Lener Fabrique for coats. To be continued...

From our correspondent in Paris

New Look is looking upFashion retailer New Look is in its 40th year and presented strong results for the 52 weeks to 27th March 2010, its revenue went up with 10.7% to £1,463.6m. The underlying operating profit increased with 17.7% to £163m and the Group’s

like-for-like sales growth went up with 1.2%, of which the UK like-for-like sales +5.0%. Following the market conditions in Ireland and France, the international like-for-like sales dropped with 12%.

The UK market share increased to 5.2% from 4.7 % (Source: Kantar Worldpanel Fashion), consolidating position as number two in UK with 61 store openings across the Group. This including 16 in the UK and taking the total up to 1,108 with a total trading footage of 5.5m sq ft. On a whole, New Look’s cash generation went up with 2.9% to £224m. For the future £100m will be reinvested in the business and an upgrade programme will be launched for existing stores. No refinancing requirements are set before 2015.

New Look is looking upNewLook.com moved from fifth to third biggest UK on-line fashion retailer with 4.1% market share. The website operated across 24 markets at year-end and approaches two millions hits per week, with 1.3m orders taken last year.

The international presence of New Look extended from eight to 12 countries with store openings in the Netherlands, Egypt, Singapore and Poland. Actions are being taken to address challenging market conditions in Ireland and France. More than 1,900 new jobs created during the year, taking number of people employed by the Group to over 22,000.

On what's been behind New Look’s growth Carl McPhail, New Look Chief Executive, commented: “I think we sit as a business absolutely in that sweet spot of value and fashion and it’s what the consumer requires of us. Although trading has been very difficult, we’ve probably been in recession for two years now, New Look has got a unique brand positioning. A combination of absolutely value which we deliver for our consumer, but also fashion. We’ve got in-house design that delivers great fashion for our consumer and then newness. People want to see newness in the stores on a weekly basis. 10 percent of the products that we sell are new and on a six to eight week cycle we change all of the products in the stores."

Image: New Look

Shopping in the eurozoneAlthough the UK’s economic recovery is underway, the situation remains fragile and the risks of a relapse cannot be ignored, warns the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in its recent Economic Forecast. The BCC, the national body for

businesses, says that the worsening eurozone debt crisis and upheavals in global financial markets will increase the threats facing the UK.

The forecast assumes that the new coalition government will adopt more forceful measures to slash the UK’s budget deficit through public spending cuts and tax increases – VAT, for instance, is predicted to be raised to 20% within the next 18 months – which is likely to impact on fashion retailers.

Shopping in the eurozoneDavid Frost, Director General of the BCC, commented: “The UK economy is now recovering. But, the improvement is fragile, businesses large and small are still facing considerable pressures, and there are significant risks posed by the current crisis in the eurozone.”

He said: “To ensure this recovery lasts, the government must demonstrate an unwavering determination to support the vital role of wealth-creating businesses. Rebalancing the economy towards the private sector must be at the very heart of June’s emergency budget – with businesses encouraged to invest, grow and create jobs.”

“The coalition must avoid new business taxes and measures that might damage enterprise and entrepreneurship. They will have to think very carefully about what their exact plans are around Capital Gains Tax and the scrapping of certain corporation tax allowances that incentivise investment,” he added.

Commenting, Mike Flanagan, CEO of Clothesource Limited, told just-style.com: “According to official statistics, the EU as a whole has seen higher clothing sales (up 2% in 2008 and 1.2% in 2009) while US sales have been in decline.”

Flanagan added: “Overall, Europe really hasn't had the recession in clothing sales that the US has suffered. The spate of retail bankruptcies - from Arcandor to Woolworths - was provoked by creditors pulling support during the banking crisis, not by collapsing sales.”

High clothing sales could be set to change with a government rigidly focused on cutting debt; a concern also on the mind of Flanagan: “For the first year or so (and possibly longer) public spending cuts mean fewer people with cash in their pockets” to splash out.

Tax rises could also prompt the UK’s largest employer to face hefty costs and undermine its ability to maintain and create jobs. David Kern, BCC Chief Economist, shed light on this point: “Unless our labour market remains flexible and adaptable during the recovery, there is a risk that low productivity will persist, damaging the UK’s medium-term growth prospects. To achieve a sustainable improvement in Britain’s productive potential, recent adverse trends in the labour market must be reversed. Inactivity needs to decline, full-time employment must grow, and private sector employment has to increase.”

H! by Henry Holland reveals new face from competitionFiona Kennedy has been unveiled as the new face of the Debenhams' designer collaboration H! by Henry Holland high-summer swimwear range. Spotted by Henry Holland himself, Henry commented, "Fiona caught my eye immediately with her entry for our original

'Find a Face' competition. She looks lively, happy and fun so I thought she'd be the perfect girl to represent the new H! swim range."

H! by Henry Holland reveals new face from competitionFiona entered a competition to have her face included in a one-off print designed by Henry Holland and used on a handbag and scarf in the Autumn H! by Henry Holland range. Henry was impressed with Fiona's entry and decided to approach her to model his high summer swim range.

Sasha Nagalingham, swimwear buyer at Debenhams, said, "At 5'4" Fiona might not meet traditional criteria for a professional model, but she is beautiful, a natural on set and has a great personality – she’s
someone the H! customer will really relate to.

"Looking at the images she produced, you wouldn't think for a moment Fiona had never set foot in front of a camera."

Fiona Kennedy, said, "I was a little dazed when I got the call - it was completely unexpected.  I've never done anything remotely like this before.

"I'm a secret nerd, with a naturally small frame and never in a million years would I have thought I'd be modeling swimwear, especially for such big names like Henry Holland or Debenhams.

"On the day, I was extremely nervous, but after a couple of hours I just let my hair down and got in to the swing of things - it ended up being so much fun"

Fiona has written a blog for Debenhams about her day, what she thinks of the collection and how she feels about being spotted by Henry Holland.

The Henry Holland range includes bikinis and cut-out swimsuits in eye-catching photographic floral prints complimented by cute dresses and pinafore cover up pieces.

The H! by Henry Holland high summer swim and holiday collection has been specifically designed to appeal to the 17 - 25 year old age range and is a young designer fashion brand that translates the House Of Holland brand to the high street.

Like all Debenhams' designer collaborations, H! by Henry Holland will be a permanent feature within the department store. The collection is priced from £5 to £60.

Debenhams launched the designer fashion collaboration concept in Autumn 1993, something that is much imitated today. The retailer still differs from much of the high street as these partnerships are a
permanent addition to its offer.

Brighton brings Sloth ClothingAfter designing for many household names in fashion, Jonathan Mitchell launched his own innovative streetwear label by the name of Sloth Clothing.The collection is well received by critics and is currently being trialled in selected stores and available online.

Brighton brings Sloth Clothing

Mitchell’s last collection sold over 6 million items of clothing worldwide for the Puma brand. 2009 saw his Puma collections sell worldwide whilst he simultaneously had collections featuring across the UK from Next and Timberland.


After five years at the Puma HQ in Nuremberg Germany, Mitchell returned home to Brighton in 2008 and to launch his own company ‘Brighton Fresh Design Solutions’.

On the collection Jonathan Mitchell comments: “All Sloth products are hand printed locally and most are only made when orders have been received, allowing the freedom for the customer to request their own personal customisation, including different graphic colours and deciding which base style they would like to have them printed on.”

Brighton Fresh and Sloth Clothing also offers professional t-shirt printing and freelance design services, and are interested in helping local people to create their own fashion lines. Sloth will be launched
officially at the Margin Trade Show this August.

Shoppers shun stores with poor returns policiesPoor returns experiences lead to 58% of online shoppers permanently shunning outlets. New research released by Collect+ sends a warning to retailers of the cost of failing to provide an effective returns process. The poll of 2,000 online shoppers

reveals that 58% of shoppers, once they have had a bad experience with deliveries or returns will abandon that online retailer permanently.

Shoppers shun stores with poor returns policiesCollectively, around £1.3bn worth of goods is returned each year. However, research released today reveals that one in ten (12%) online shoppers have been left out of pocket as result of poor returns policies which left them unable to return unwanted goods in time for a refund.

The research highlights for the first time the frustrations of online shopping which has grown into an industry worth £49.8bn annually[3]. The hassle of returning goods to the local post office tops the list of complaints, with over a quarter (28%) of shoppers citing this as a frustration, closely followed by the cost of postage (18%) with the most of those questioned (59%) feeling such returns should be free.

Mark Lewis, Collect+ CEO said:“The hassle and cost of online returns has been the dark secret of retail for too long, with our research showing that shoppers are abandoning outlets that fail to get it right. Modern shoppers are demanding returns processes that match their lifestyles and will no longer tolerate queuing at their local post office to return defective or unwanted goods.”

The lack of choice and convenience in returns is leading to an astonishing 20% of unwanted goods dumped at the local charity shop or thrown into the bin. Shoppers from London and Yorkshire were the most likely to regularly return online purchases closely followed by Scotland and the South East.

The impact of shopper frustration on retailer brand loyalty is evident from the research. One in three (30%) shoppers holds the retailer directly responsible for a poor delivery or returns experience. The research also shows that many shoppers may abandon the purchase before checkout, with half of online shoppers (47%) always checking the returns policy before purchase.

Keith Basnett, Chief Operating Officer at Shop Direct Group commented: “At Shop Direct Group, customer choice is important to us and we offer a wide range of delivery and collection options, giving our customers maximum flexibility and convenience. Collect+ has added to our comprehensive returns service and gives us a significant advantage over other retailers. It is the crucial last mile of any e-retail experience and if it is not right it can have a major impact on our reputation.

“This is an area in which our customers appreciate clarity and choice and it is crucial to offer convenient alternatives for those that cannot afford to wait at home for deliveries during working hours.”

Click, buy, collectOnline sales may not be growing as fast as some industry observers had expected, but the number of shoppers reserving or buying productsonline before picking up in store is outstripping forecasts, reports the Financial Times.

The convenience of ordering online andthen collecting the goods when you want – rather than waiting for the postman to call – is proving to be very popular. As a result, even online-only retailers are trying to find ways to establish some sort of presence on the high street.

Click, buy, collectThis week Asos, the online fashion retailer, announced it was in talks with high street retailers that would let its customers pick up parcels at their shops.

“A lot of people forget that home delivery is not always that convenient if you’re not at home to receive a parcel or you have to miss work to wait at home,” said Tony Stockil, chief executive of
Javelin, the e-commerce consultancy that works for most of the top-10 UK retailers.

He predicts that by 2020 there will be almost as many web-to-store transactions as store-only purchases, but online sales delivered directly to customers, which are about 7 per cent of all sales, will
only reach 14 per cent.

When online retail first took off, people suggested a number of ways to avoid the problems of home delivery, from secure boxes outside every house to pick-up points at corner shops. But collecting shopping directly from the retailer has proved to be by far the most popular way of avoiding deliveries. This is one area where bricks and mortar retailers have an advantage over online retailers, who usually benefit from not having the heavy fixed costs of a retail estate.

Argos, owned by Home Retail Group, led the way by transferring its telephone ordering business to the internet in 2002 and now almost a quarter of its total sales are made through its click and collect
service, compared with 10 per cent ordered online and delivered to customers’ homes.

Web-to-store cuts the cost of delivery as retailers can use their existing delivery networks and group parcels together.

It also increases in-store sales as once customers are through the doors, they tend to buy more. “There are definitely incremental sales otherwise we wouldn’t be putting the money in,” said Dave Hughes, director of Marks and Spencer Direct, which is still rolling out the service but so far has 13 per cent of online orders picked up in stores.

John Lewis has 20 per cent of its online orders collected in store.

Portobello Art & Design WeekendLondon's Portobello Road is to become home to a new Art & Design Market next weekend. The infamous street of vintage design is launching a new creative space at Portobello Market, dedicated to nurturing young and established artists from London and beyond.

The market will run on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 5pm and at launch will present between 20-30 stalls showcasing art and design from a wide range of talent.  Market Operator, Maurice Nixon said “The market is already renowned for its vintage fashion and young designers and with this new area we hope to encourage new talent from the disciplines of art and design as well as aid the regeneration of the area beneath the Westway flyover. We want to keep the market fresh and vibrant and encourage new visitors to the area.”

Portobello Art & Design WeekendThe Art & Design Market is curated by Keh Hui Ng. He has been working in London as an artist, designer and curator since 2005.  Having recently completed a Masters degree in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins, Keh is now focusing on the launch and curation of Portobello Art & Design Market. Keh said “I am delighted to have the opportunity to curate the space under the Westway. It’s the perfect ‘urban’ location’ for a collaboration of artists and we anticipate a lot of interest from the existing visitors to Portobello and from a new art and design audience.”

Portobello Art & Design Market has already attracted a great number of talented artists, particularly notable stallholders in residence for the inaugural market including designer Robert Cary Williams.

The new market will be situated at Acklam Square, under the Westway flyover on the junction between Portobello Road and Acklam Road. If you are interested in having your own stall contact [email protected]

Image: Portobello Road