A Reality Check for Fashion Tech? | The Week Ahead, BoF Professional

Vogue Begin-Ups Report Outcomes

  • Newly public Warby Parker, in addition to Poshmark, ThredUp and The RealReal report quarterly outcomes this week

  • On-line gross sales present indicators of plateauing after surging through the pandemic

  • Shopify and Amazon just lately reported disappointing outcomes

For a lot of the final 18 months, e-commerce platforms and types have had the wind at their backs. First, the lockdowns drove a growth in on-line procuring. Then, the lifting of lockdowns sparked a spending spree at retailers on-line and off. However that part could also be coming to an finish, not less than for on-line procuring platforms. Amazon and Shopify reported disappointing gross sales for his or her most up-to-date quarters. The information hasn’t been all unhealthy for e-tailers: Revolve’s gross sales shocked on the upside, and principally on-line manufacturers like Warby Parker and Allbirds noticed big urge for food for his or her shares in current IPOs.

What’s this all imply for the manufacturers reporting outcomes this week? Warby Parker and Allbirds have offered traders on a long-term technique the place gross sales progress will more and more be pushed by a worldwide community of a whole lot of shops — whether or not they expertise just a few late-pandemic bumps is unlikely to vary that narrative. The trio of resale platforms within the highlight subsequent week are a special story: like Shopify sellers or Amazon, they benefitted from always-online customers. Nonetheless, they need to see renewed curiosity as prospects store for extra assorted post-pandemic wardrobes, and the long-term embrace of resale by youthful customers exhibits no indicators of slowing down.

The Backside Line: The query, as at all times, is how a lot they might want to spend to seek out these prospects. Even Revolve reported escalating advertising and marketing prices, and Apple’s new privateness necessities make it more durable to trace shopper tastes.

Change the Message

  • Singles Day, the Chinese language vacation on Nov. 11 become a procuring phenomenon by Alibaba, generated $134 billion for the nation’s retailers final yr

  • President Xi Jinping’s “frequent prosperity” marketing campaign has focused earnings inequality at a time when highly effective tech companies are underneath intense scrutiny by authorities regulators

  • Alibaba and rival JD have responded by barely firming down their feverish gross sales pitch or enjoying up sustainability and inclusion of their Singles Day advertising and marketing

Alibaba invented the present iteration of the Singles Day vacation, a multi-week procuring extravaganza that generates over $100 billion for Chinese language retailers. This yr, it’s maintaining an uncharacteristically low profile, or as little as an e-commerce large with a half-trillion-dollar market cap can muster. In keeping with Alibaba’s advertising and marketing, Singles Day is now all about sustainability and “supporting weak populations.” Alibaba’s shifting priorities come as the corporate is within the crosshairs of China’s authorities, which is reining in its tech giants and cracking down on earnings inequality. Singles Day is in some ways the nexus of each, therefore the brand new messaging (although Alibaba and its rivals are nonetheless going forward with the weeks of promotions, celeb endorsements and different staples of the occasion). Some analysts say the strain on Alibaba, in addition to rival behemoth JD, creates a possibility for smaller retailers.

The Backside Line: It’s additionally price contemplating the sustainability message itself, impartial of its attainable origins. Retailers of all sizes, and all around the world, see inexperienced advertising and marketing as a instrument to win buyer loyalty. However customers more and more demand actual motion to cut back waste and struggle local weather change to again up the advert copy. A sustainable Singles Day could also be a troublesome promote.

The CFDA Awards

  • The CFDA Awards return, in individual and hosted by Emily Blunt, on Nov. 10

  • First-time nominees embody Worry of God’s Jerry Lorenzo, Theophilio’s Edvin Thompson and Khiry’s Jameel Mohammed

  • The present is the most recent to return after a 2020 hiatus; The Vogue Awards in London will even be held as a bodily occasion on the finish of the month

It’s been a troublesome stretch for American style. Even earlier than the pandemic, designers struggled to construct their companies in a global panorama dominated by European conglomerates and a crowd of on-line start-ups competing for patrons at residence. Final summer time’s protests introduced the business’s variety shortcomings to the fore. The CFDA, tasked with supporting designers and customarily advocating for the business, can’t repair these issues, however it does have just a few levers it might pull. An in-person New York Vogue Week in September helped style transfer past the pandemic, and The CFDA Awards, again as a bodily occasion for the primary time since 2019, are one other car for that. Among the many nominees are designers seen as attainable future customary bearers (Telfar Clemens, Emily Adams Bode, Peter Do), Individuals who’ve just lately discovered a measure of worldwide success (Jerry Lorenzo, Mike Amiri) and the veteran boldface names on the scene (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Gabriela Hearst, Thom Browne).

The Backside Line: Bodily occasions received’t save American style, however their speedy return is an indication of their continued worth to the business.

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