Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Seasoned or Unseasoned?

One of the most interesting impacts of e-commerce in fashion has been the creation of the tantalizing prospect of no longer being bound to the formula of two seasonal collections a year. With the increasing popularity of the micro seasons of Pre-Fall, Holiday, and Resort the industry has been moving in the direction of an almost year round parade of new fashion. However the labels that are partaking in this constant creation have and need a great deal of resources to satiate the appetite that has been created. Producing six collections a year is not something that is possible for most brands.
Jolibe is no longer producing seasonal collections.

That model is not the only way that labels of any size or standing can take advantage of the new constant hunger for fashion. Emerging designers or smaller labels can create two to four new pieces a month for their own online stores for twelve months a year if they choose to. Or they could create three of four capsule collections a year for themselves or for an e-commerce partner. The level of flexibility that has suddenly been dropped in designers laps is staggering. How does a brand decide what specific e-commerce strategy they are going to adopt?
Isabel Toledo stopped producing seasonal collections in 1998.

The first thing that must be decided is if online sales are a primary or simply corollary part of your revenue. If you are going to be pursuing brick & mortar boutiques then you have to create two larger collections a year. That means that your e-commerce strategy is supportive of your main effort of promoting and selling in September & October and February & March and must be created with that in mind. If however you plan to make the web your primary source of income the factors that shape your approach are how much money and help you have to make your clothes. The two approaches discussed in the preceding paragraph are a possibility as are online collaborations with boutiques or accessory producers. Whatever is decided upon the brand must do detailed, conservative mathematical projections of profits. If you overestimate your expenses and underestimate your profits and it still works then it is a viable strategy. The only option that is not an option is to not have any online sales presence. To not take advantage of the internet is foolish and simply unacceptable for every brand. It's the 21st Century, not the 20th act like it.
An Edun dress created exclusively for Net-A-Porter.

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