Despite apparently ephemeral, light-hearted and image-driven the fashion world often shows its ability to support those facing difficult moments.
Especially for the exceptional spreading of COVID-19 many companies and brands including Manila Grace, Diesel, Geox, Georgio Armani, Eurojersey, Ralph Lauren and Canada Goose have started solidarity actions toward professionals, hospitals and institutions fighting against the epidemic. Others converted part of their production or involved partners in manufacturing medical masks and gowns as, for instance, Miroglio Group, Prada, Kering Group, Inditex Group, H&M, Calzedonia, Gucci, Mango, Tagliatore, Kanoa, Marzotto Group, Giorgio Armani, Canada Goose and many others “competing” in a solidarity contest where simply participating already means winning.
Despite this generosity supporting those fighting on the frontlines, the whole industry is also facing quite some difficulties. Many stores were forced to close (read our two reportages here and here) already weeks ago, as companies and manufacturers have been doing afterwards. SI has asked some brands in the sector how they see the situation, how they are supporting retailers practically and face problems they might have in paying rents and fabrics.
“The situation is serious for Italian fashion industry entrepreneurs,” commented Enzo Fusco, owner, FGF Industry, Italy. “We have difficulties in cashing credits for the summer season. We will also have problems when we will deliver next winter and s/s 2021, we are already working at now. We will have to face two years of delirium and don’t know how many companies will survive all this. We also hope the Italian Government supports our value chain as other governments are doing in other States like France and Spain.”
The outdoor apparel specialist has closed all its retail stores in North America and Europe until at least March 31, though not its e-commerce channels. In Greater China, retail stores remain open as the brand’s store in Tokyo, though it will stay open with a reduced schedule, while its Canada in-house production facilities will be closed as of March 17 for at least a two-week period.
Other brands have started implementing special programs aimed at supporting their trading partners with a number of measures. Among them, for instance, the German brand Rich& Royal has launched its “We act Royal!” solidarity program.
"Partnership is the basis of our business relations and an important part of our corporate culture. We are stopping all deliveries of goods for the delivery dates March, April and May, as well as NOS articles with immediate effect. We will resume delivery as soon as the shops open again, but we will postpone our delivery dates due to the lockdown,” commented Denis and Patrick Stupp, owners, Rich & Royal. “To relieve the situation, we also decided to cancel the June collection free of charge. All liabilities from invoicing March, 1st to May 2020, have been increased with an additional 30 days value date. For deliveries of the March to April collections, after opening of the shops, we offer an additional goodwill exchange of 10%.”
Other players have started focusing on flexible strategies aimed at meeting their clients’ present difficult situation. US/Argentinean Love Binetti brand is among them. The collection is donating 10% of on-line purchases to non profits helping those in need during COVID-19 among other initiatives.
“We are acting in different directions in order to support our clients,” commented Diego Binetti, president and creative director Binetti Inc/Love Binetti. “We have clients accepting our spring orders and others we are working on a later delivery. Our deliveries can be postponed or can be held until further notice. We work with exciting clients that already have terms with but also with new clients as they requested it.”
Entrepreneurs might also have other problems to face like, for instance, managing fabric suppliers and rents to be paid for own stores. “At the moment our fabric suppliers, factories and consultants are helping us with more generous terms until we are all on better footing,” commented Binetti. “This is an opportunity for global compassion and support.”
Also Denham sees positive developments: “We are comforted by the great support from our vendors. We are all in this together and appreciate that we will succeed together if we work together. Our mills and vendors have been very accommodating, we hope for the same support from our landlords, although we have no news on this yet.”
Confindustria Moda, Italian association grouping together most category associations of the country’s fashion value chain, has recently sent a letter to landlords asking not to request rents from brands. “The fear is that stores’ opening is further postponed and despite companies will not still be selling they will have to pay rents anyway,” commented Claudio Marenzi, Confindustria Moda’s president. Marenzi, in the sector’s name, asked to suspend the payment of stores’ rents and renegotiate contracts’ economic conditions until normal commercial, tourist and residential fluxes re-establish themselves. The letter was signed by over 50 companies, including Moncler, Herno, Valentino, Dainese, Trussardi and many others. Confindustria Moda represents 66,000 enterprises, 580,000 workers and a total of €95.5 billion revenues from companies that, after the Italian Government imposed the closing stores, were forced to close their facilities, too and don’t know when they will be allowed to open again.