The Corona pandemic has already left a deep mark on the retail landscape. The devastating consequences it will have for the textile and clothing industry worldwide cannot yet be fully assessed. What many people already agree on, however, is that the orders rhythm and delivery dates should change after the corona crisis. Many voices from the retail trade and also from the brand side are already arguing for concrete dates. However, there are also companies that see things differently. The industry is not in complete agreement.

 

Frank Brüggemann, Camel Active’s managing director of product & wholesale, says, “Now is the right time to bring topics such as orders or seasonal rhythm back into focus. Not only we at Camel Active, but also several initiatives from industry and trade are currently dealing with these topics. We all have to consider today whether it makes sense to deliver autumn goods already in July or spring collections in January. We now have the chance to talk about when is the right time for the consumer to buy the goods in the area. Our goal is very clear: to control the merchandise in line with demand (ready-to-wear concept) and thus generate more sales for retailers.”

Frank Brüggemann
Photo: Camel Active
Frank Brüggemann
Milos Ivkovic, managing director of Ivko Woman, also agrees with Brüggemann’s opinion: "We definitely see a big chance to reset some timings in our business which were during the past decade mostly developed and dictated by the fast rhythm of a part of our industry. We feel, that there is now a possibility to come back to establish a life cycle of a collection that is more driven by its actual value than by a mentality that is just looking for quick novelties. As a smaller company however, we are not the ones who can set this new thinking and make it successful by ourselves. It needs a majority of players in our industry to start walking on this new road.”


Patrick Stupp, CEO Rich & Royal: "Even before Corona, we have been thinking about order and delivery dates in a more market-oriented way. We have adjusted the order and delivery dates to the "real" course of the year, strengthened the later delivery dates and steered the goods in line with the sales trend of the year. We continue to check this and make further adjustments if necessary."

Patrick Stupp
Photo: Rich & Royal
Patrick Stupp
"The current situation illustrates what particularly sustainable brands have been demanding for years: a more sustainable, independent and slower industry", says Christoph Otto, labelmanager of sustainable brand Green Berlin. He continues: "So far, Green Berlin has been acting quite independently of set deadlines and the well-known fashion cycle, which is why we also advocate a flexible design of a new "cycle". Fixed dates and deadlines hardly play a role for us when it comes to production, design and delivery. We consciously choose this independence to keep our ecological footprint as small as possible and to promote conscious fashion consumption. The development of our collection has taken almost two years until the final sales launch in February 2020. Time that was really worth it, however."
From left: Rap artist Marteria and Christoph Otto
Photo: Green Berlin
From left: Rap artist Marteria and Christoph Otto
Katharina Staub, co-founder of Swiss sportswear brand Ina Kess is sure that “if the lockdowns have to be repeated, which currently nobody knows, then planning will be very difficult for all sides.” They plead for more flexibility at all ends. In concrete terms, this means that, from producers through the production and delivery of partial productions, from brands to pause/postpone parts of collections, and from retailers, that there is a more pronounced cooperation in inventory management with suppliers.
From left: Katharina and Isabelle Staub, sisters and founders of Ina Kess
Photo: Ina Kess
From left: Katharina and Isabelle Staub, sisters and founders of Ina Kess
And which new dates/rhythms would then be conceivable and logical? (For order and delivery dates)? Ivkovic favors that the fall/winter deliveries should start in August and can take place until end of October, whereas the spring/summer deliveries should start in February and last until end of April. He says: “Accordingly the pre-order rhythm can be adjusted to sales campaigns in August and September for spring/summer and February and March for fall/winter deliveries. In between the main seasons, there can still be room for small flash collections.”

 

Brüggemann can imagine postponing the seasons back by four weeks. He says: “We are currently planning the delivery of our first delivery date for the autumn/winter collection 2020 at the end of August, so that the start of the a/w 2020 season can take place at the beginning of September. Thus, starting with the coming season, the entire delivery rhythm can be postponed by four weeks.”

 

Antonio Porta Canto, CEO of UNISA, has a different opinion: “Delivery dates will be basically the same. Perhaps we can assume that customers accept a two-week delay at the most. And I think most people expect an overall reduction of around 20-25% from the previous winter.”


Rich & Royal supplies 10 collections per year plus flash capsules. Patrick Stupp: "We believe that it is always the season and that the customer is always in need of the latest, fashionable, new goods. It is not new: the right goods at the right time in the right quantity. This is how we work together with retailers to develop the necessary inventory turnover date, which is also so important in our premium segment and ensures liquidity. The longer the product is at the POS, the less attractive and up-to-date it is. This is why longer sales periods are counterproductive and reduce the inventory turnover date. In July I don't need thick jackets and in December I don't need summer goods. But what you urgently need are new impulses and the right amount of goods."

And what about trade-show dates? Many trade fairs have already been cancelled or postponed. Does it make sense to also talk about changed trade fair dates in general after the crisis? Porta Cantosays, “I do not see it necessary to delay the trade fairs dates because, for the footwear sector, they are already scheduled for the end of August and during the month of September. I don't think that should be changed, that would not help the fashion industry in any way.”



“Basically, one should also think about the ‘right’ order period: when does the trade have what sales experience from the current season and can stock which delivery months via the two order rounds relevant for us. The collection development process and the lead times of the supply chain should also be considered. The trade fair dates should then also be aligned with these. From our point of view, we could certainly start two weeks later, but this cannot be postponed much later due to the above-mentioned topics. We are curious to see how the trade fairs position themselves for the next date,” says Brüggemann.

Ivkovic notes: “For some European fairs that used to take place already mid June, beginning of July it would be enough to take place mid July/end of July. Italy has already–speaking for womenswear–a later schedule (e.g. White is in February & September). Also in US or Russia, the trade fairs are scheduled much later.”


"From our point of view, there need not be any new dates for the fairs. The brands present their kick-off collections and show how the themes are designed. Then you have to judge how market-driven and seasonally appropriate they are", says Patrick Stupp.


Katharina Staub sees the increasing importance of online trade shows: “It is difficult to plan the feasibility of trade fairs, should such a pandemic occur again. In any case, there should always be some kind of online trade fair where visitors could view the collections online and be in direct contact with the brands. This in turn would be an opportunity for trade fair visitors who would then be able to ‘attend’ the fair without physically being on site.”




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