The Next Chapter of Fashion Business: What’s after the shrinking Retail Stores?

“People don’t shop in stores any more.” This sentiment is becoming more and more of a reality.  According to WWD, over a thousand retail stores are closing this year and some of them are facing bankruptcy. Although some of our most familiar names such as American Apparel, GUESS, Abercrombie & Fitch and Macy’s are on the list, this news should surprise nobody.

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Courtesy of WWD.

Back in 2015, Robin Givhan, the fashion editor from The Washington Post came as guest speaker to Rutgers journalism school. She talked about her worry with the shocking speed of how luxury brands expand. They open stores in anywhere you can imagine, she said, it’s like every week, I get an email from Prada announcing they open new stores somewhere, from Macao to the fifth store in Shanghai. This criticism comes naturally given the whole idea of luxury brands is about how to ensure their products are verified and special. However, it is not just luxury brands that are being too aggressive in opening too many stores, it is an industry-wide problem. In response to the recent drop of shares, the CEO of Urban Outfitters Richard Hayne admitted the retail market is oversaturated and the retail bubble now bursts.

How big is big enough? Robin Givhan said it is the question a lot of brands have to ask themselves. But now the market seems to have already given the answer. Especially with the online shopping experience which is getting better and better, why would people want to go the stores when they can simply access to anything they want with their iPads? The retail stores is doomed to shrink. So, let’s go straight into the most desired question: what is the future of retail stores?

Robin Givhan said, the key of doing journalism in the digital age is to provide added value to readers.

“The shift is no longer about telling people what happen. But you have to give them added value. To tell them what happen, but also have to give them context, you have to give them some sense of what this means, to widen that lens and taught them about the culture, talk to them about the business. Because otherwise, you are repeating a tweet that they have read.”

The claim for added value is the same with retailers. You have to give people another reason to go to the physical stores when they can just get clothes online.

BREAKING | Fast-fashion giant H&M is launching a new retail brand called Arket. The retailer will be a “modern-day market that will offer essential products for men, women, children and home,” according to the company. It will sell Arket’s own products alongside a selection products from non-H&M brands. Arket’s first retail store will open in London in late summer or early autumn of this year. It will simultaneously start trading online in 18 European countries, with additional stores to follow in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich. Select Arket stores will include a café concept featuring ‘new Nordic’ cuisine. Stay tuned for more information as the story develops. [Link in bio] #hm #arket #fashion #style

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H&M just announced they are launching a new brand ARKET. The brand is to provide “clothes beyond trends,” as the creative director of ARKET Ulrika Bernhardtz said. A disposable fashion brand is now trying to develop a line for timeless clothing is one thing to notice. The other thing to notice is that,  the stores will include a café. The subtext? The retailer stores are trying to captivate consumers by creating a more social, more delightful shopping experience.

The millennials are digital natives. As our social interaction move to Instagram and Snapchat, the traffic is also moving to the social media and e-commerce. Having interaction with real people becomes an advantage of physical stores. The future of retail stores is to build a community with quality shopping experience.

What is the future of retail stores? H&M said, reclaiming human connection is a possibility.

#VBxTarget x VB victoriabeckham.com/target

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Target said, co-branding with celebrity is a possibility. Victoria Beckham (VB) recently announced that her new line designed for the US discount store retailer Target(VBxTarget) is out on April and all the prices stop at $70 . 

*Sees #VBxTarget lookbook* *Starts dance party*

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We don’t know how well these clothes are going to sell, but its ads campaign definitely creates a buzz among social media: who can resist the temptation when someone charge you $2,100 for a mint pleated skirt now is suddenly offering you outfits in a H&M price?

Excited! My secret filming with @j_corden airs tonight on the @latelateshow ! X vb

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Co-branding between mass-market retailers and luxury fashion designer is no new. Alexander Wang had collaborated with H&M in 2014, just a year before he left Balenciaga and focus more on his own brand.  But VB is also a celebrity and a mother of four children. In today’s celebrities-oriented and famous faces dominated fashion business, VB is undoubtably an ideal partner for Target. Retailers need to surprise their customers from time to time with incentives in order to build brand loyalty.

Referring back to VB’s history, she hasn’t shown any interest in developing affordable lines. For VB, this collaboration is more of an long term investment. The new line can increase the awareness of her brand among the Target’s customers. It gives leverage for the potential customers to choose VB’s brand over others when they become more powerful in purchasing luxury products.

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And VB didn’t forget to promote the idea of inclusivity and diversity with this collection. VBxTarget includes plus-sized models in the lookbook. 

This season’s catwalks were the most diverse ever, according to a new report. But as the definition of diversity broadens, do the numbers reflect a real rise in models of colour? Nearly 28 percent of models who walked the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris this season, were defined as diverse, the highest number recorded by online forum The Fashion Spot since it began compiling data two-and- a-half years ago. But while the findings show that diversity is increasing overall, so too has the definition of what it means to be a diverse model. This season, The Fashion Spot included age, size and transgender status in its definition of diversity. And while all categories certainly deserve recognition in the report, a direct comparison of the latest season’s numbers with last season’s, makes the industry’s progress appear greater than it actually is. Read the full story now on businessoffashion.com [Link in bio] #fashion #diversity

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Many voices have said that diversity is the theme of the 2017 New York Fashion Week. But the question of it is also loud: whether or not the casting directors were just checking the black girl box, the Asian girl box, the plus-sized model box? This criticism is not being nicky-picky.

We know that the calling for diversity and inclusivity is partly driven by the demand of market: the growing market in China, the neglected market of plus-sized man and woman. And we can sympathize with that as a business. But look at the cover of Vogue celebrating their 125 anniversary. It seems so beautiful with girls of different color, of different sizes standing together. 

But, isn’t it phony to use diversity and inclusivity as marketing strategy while the crew not only ask Ashley Graham to put her hand on her leg but also photoshop Gigi Hadid’s hand to cover Graham’s body? What’s the whole point of having a plus-sized model there and trying so hard to hide her body? Aren’t we going to have a more inclusive standard of beauty? Isn’t it ironic that this cover is to celebrate the fashion industry is making progress in having more black, Asian, plus-sized models? Let say, genuine inclusivity is wanted in this business.


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