As many of us have been reading over the last few months, there has been a major downturn in the business of major fashion retailers across the country. BCBG, BeBe, The Limited, Macys, American Apparel, Vince, and Sears are all closing stores. What is happening here? Don’t people still need clothes?
As a young-ish consumer to me the answer is clear. The modern consumer is looking for a completely different experience than what these companies are offering. They want to feel an emotional connection when buying.
At the core of the issue is this fact: major fashion houses tailor their styles to the needs of the major retailers and major retailers have taken their eye of the ball. Most major retailers are so price conscious and so risk adverse they have hamstrung themselves and now find themselves in a creative black hole. Fashion consumers are more often looking for “new”, “cool”, and “fun” than these major retailers give them credit for. Instead customers who walk around Macy’s see the same styles knocked off year after year.
Big retailers have to change the way they think to survive and fashion houses should push them. Sure new styles have a greater chance of flopping but they also can turn into the next bubble or bomber jacket. More than that, at least you give the consumer the feeling they are seeing something new and exciting.
When it comes down to it fashion is supposed to be fun, creative, and artistic and most of all make you feel good when you try on the clothes.
Large fashion house should set aside some time to take a look at the designers you can find on Instagram or with small websites going direct to consumers. Their sales might not be huge but they have the freedom and bravery to produce amazing new product. I think the fashion houses will be impressed - I know I am.