Displaying items by tag: Autumn 2020

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 16:04

ChicGeek Comment The To-Wear List

to wear list wearing old favourites in wardrobe

Forget all this overblown hubris on buying resale, most people will be sustainable, in the short term, by simply rediscovering their own wardrobes. Regardless of size, we all have favourites we haven’t worn for a long time and are itching to get back out again. This ‘To-Wear’ list is a mental check list which grows ever longer the more we think about it. If you’re a lover of fashion, you’ll have plenty of items you can’t wait to get on your back again. Add a few future looking events and your To-Wear list keeps getting bigger and bigger.

So, if we’re busy wearing all of our old favourites, what will this mean for new fashion sales?

Admittedly, after each lock down there is a flood of pent up demand. Even this week, as the Welsh lock down ended, there were reports of long queues outside stores in the Welsh capital. One woman told BBC News she was getting it all done now in case of shop closures in the event of a return to lockdown measures. Public Health Wales' coronavirus incident director Dr Giri Shankar warned, "We do worry sometimes when we see such large number of queues outside shopping centres, outside pubs pars, cafes and restaurants.” He said we would see the effect of that “in the next couple of weeks”.

A few post-lockdown photo opportunities outside the nearest Primark and people buying necessities soon fizzles out. I’m talking about items for special events or things you love and hold on to.

The longer life takes to get back to normal, the longer our To-Wear lists become. It will be nearly a twelve months break since we wore our best clothes, add in a few extra lockdown, knockdown online purchases and we won’t need anything new for a while. Well, that’s how it feels.

While new fashion purchases could suffer while consumers work through their To-Wear lists, many people have money burning a hole in their pockets. Consumerism isn’t dead as those long queues testify.

Many people on lockdown have accumulated a lump sum of saved income to potentially splash on a once-in-a-lifetime purchase like a watch, a piece of jewellery or some art. According to data retail analysts GfK, a global leader in data and analytics, watch sales were on course for a perfect V-shaped recovery before the second national lockdown. By the end of October, the total value of sales at all price points for the whole of Great Britain over the first 10 months of the year was just 15.6% below the same period in 2019. And this was without tourist spending.

The average price paid for every watch sold in Great Britain fuelled a rise in the overall value of sales by 34.4% in October 2020. Average transaction values rocketed by 57% in the month, far higher than the increase in prices of 19.5%. Ecommerce revenue rose by 63.1% in October, up 40.3% for the 10 months since January. London saw a large lockdown bounce back in October, with sales rising by one third.

These figures clearly illustrate a demand for more expensive watches and how people are spending on considered purchases like watches even during all this turmoil. Money that would have been spent on fashion items is going into buying premium items like these. Items like watches require the confidence of having a lump sum, even just for the deposit. Lockdown has given people this opportunity.

The To-Wear list could delay the returning of fashion sales to pre-lockdown levels for a while. Many of our clothes are seasonal and we’ve missed out on nearly all four this past year. The anticipation of wearing our favourite things is an exciting prospect. The kind of items you never want to get rid of and every wear is a reminder how much you like it.

This rediscovery will be fun for a while, but then we’ll be bored again, and off it all starts, but it’s definitely something we’ve all been thinking about. We could wear them them at home, afterall, but it's not the same, Once we’ve worked through our old favourites we’ll be looking for something new, no doubt. Crazily, many of us don’t even remember what we own any more, and this could definitely propel people into thinking about what and how much they own.

What's on your To-Wear list?

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Published in Comment
Tuesday, 10 November 2020 16:06

Menswear Product Of The Week The Down Duffle Coat

Gloverall Descente menswear product of the week best duffle coatThis was the coat getting the most attention during the AW20 trade shows. From Florence to Paris, I saw many men’s buyers and press trying this on and oooing and aring with the best of them.

Left & Below - Descente x Gloverall Down Duffle - £1300

Descente Ltd. is a Japanese sports clothing and accessories company, formed in 1935, when Takeo Ishimoto started the company in Osaka as Ishimoto Shoten. The company logo depicts 3 basic skiing techniques - traverse, schuss and side-slip. It’s another one of those under-the-radar Japanese brands producing minimal yet beautiful product.

This tie-up with Gloverall will be for the Japanese market foremost, but we can all enjoy its tech fabrics in the signature, classic Duffle coat style. I’ve gone for Gloverall’s signature ‘stone’, but it also comes in navy with this striking high-vis orange lining.

Gloverall Descente menswear product of the week best duffle coatMade from a uniquely developed CEBONNER® Horns Nylon fabric, it has a natural wool-like feel and features high water repellence. The Parahood system, uniquely developed by Descente, stops the water pooling inside the hood as it is compactly stored. A ‘Para-zip’ is easily accessible ensuring the hood can be released rapidly in one movement plus it features the internal hiking straps first showcased in Gloverall’s SS20 collection.

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Published in Men

Luke Edward Hall for Gant double breasted corduroy jacket

He has previously done collections/collaborations with John Smedley, Kurt Geiger, Rowing Blazers, Habitat, Anthropologie, Lucy Folk, Richard Ginori, Stubbs & Wootton, and now GANT is added to the list. The man in question is Luke Edward Hall, a modern day Hockney with the eye for colour to match.

When GANT’s current Global Artistic Director, Christopher Bastin, return last year, the brand was due some quirky direction. I’ve always been a fan of what he did at the now defunct GANT Rugger brand.

"This collection takes its inspiration from my home in the English countryside, and how I spend weekends there with friends. From jumpers and tweed coats for stalking through fields to 1970s-inspired velvet suits and silk shirts for candlelit dinners, it’s ruggedly elegant and very English.” says Edward Hall.

Luke Edward Hall for Gant double breasted corduroy jacketHe does the same thing for everybody, but that’s okay, because I like it. It’s the same eclectic rift as Gucci.

The standout piece is this cosy corduroy DB in rich reddy brown with brass buttons. It’s a shame they didn’t include one of Luke Edward Hall’s classical heads as pictured. They could have made it detachable. That aside, this is a classic and lifetime wearable piece.

Just add a pink dahlia!

Left & Below - Luke Edward Hall For GANT - Corduroy Blazer - £400

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Published in Men
Wednesday, 04 November 2020 13:23

ChicGeek Comment How Will Fashion Wake?

how will fashion wake post covidHibernation, coma, mothballed; however you want to label it, fashion would have been in a very deep sleep before all of this is over. Even if we’re being optimistic, and life returns to a sense of normality in the spring, it would have been nearly a full year of disruption. Fashion would continue to be affected well into 2021, without fashion and trade shows in at that time to show AW22 and and we would be not fully back to normal until spring 2022 at the earliest, when the fashion cycle would have resumed.

Left - Sleeping Beauty woke up to something good, but what about fashion?

In the classic fairytale, when the princess was cursed to sleep for a hundred years she was awakened by a handsome prince, but what will be waiting for ‘fashion’ and what state or style will it be in?

Let’s recap where we were at the beginning of this disaster. All the Kering brands - Saint Laurent, Gucci, Balenciaga - were flying. Gucci was slowing but still steaming ahead and was hopeful on becoming the world’s largest luxury brand. Bottega Veneta was gaining momentum and hype was translating into sales.

At LVMH, Louis Vuitton was still the major cash cow, Dior seemed to be doing well in sales rather than critical success and Celine was doing a stealth commercialism which, I’m sure, was being reflected in sales and exactly what Slimane was hired for and what he did previously at Saint Laurent. The main style was a mix of Gucci’s dress-up maximalism and embellishment and contemporary sportswear based on fugly chunky trainers and overpriced loungewear.

So, what can we predict for the future?

It might be worth casting an eye back in history. We’re told by the Bank of England boffins that this will be biggest recession in 300 years. Based on the bank's own best estimate and historical data, the coronavirus crisis could push the British economy into the fastest and deepest recession not seen since the huge economic slump of 1706 and the Great Frost of 1709. This was a baroque period at the beginning of Georgian Britain when fashion designers became more recognisable and fashion magazines appeared for the first time. While we’re too far away to know the minutiae of hemline changes, but it was certainly the beginning of a new era of British style and design.

The most popular comparison has been with Spanish Flu in 1918-19. After that came the Roaring Twenties, one of the most modern and dynamic decades of the 20th century. After WWII we got Christian Dior’s New Look. And while it was a feminine look back, it propelled fashion forward into the next decade and was hugely influential.

China luxury fashion gdp

The troubles of the 1970s gave us punk and the recession of the early 90s was reflected in American Grunge.

The most recent 2008 financial crash was all about the rise of China, and, undoubtedly, the growth in billon dollar brands and the associated logos and status.

Right - GDP growth of the world's three biggest economies - USA, Japan & China

While this is all simplistic, it offers some form of hope.

During the 20th century many economists cited the 'Hemline Theory'. It being the current fashion’s skirt length are a predictor of stock market direction. According to the theory, if short skirts are growing in popularity, it means the markets are going to go up.

Probably lucky everybody is wearing tracksuits right now.

And then there’s the ‘Lipstick Effect’, which is when consumers still spend money on small indulgences during recessions, economic downturns. For this reason, companies that benefit from the lipstick effect tend to be resilient even during economic downturns.

Market research firm Kline found evidence for the lipstick effect through four recessions from 1973 to 2001. Though during the financial crisis of 2008 lipstick sales dipped disproving this theory. Add a face mask and it doesn’t look like lipstick sales will be picking up anytime soon...

So, where does that leave any predictions post-COVID?

Here goes:

1) China will dominate even more. GDP Annual Growth Rate in China averaged 9.23 percent from 1989 until 2020. China’s gross domestic product expanded by 4.9 percent over the third quarter of 2020 on rising trade and consumption. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is “putting China’s economy back toward its pre-coronavirus trajectory half a year after the pandemic gutted its economy.” Brands are using China and Asia to currently support their businesses and as such more products will be tailored to these markets. China will fuel the growth in ‘Power Brands’ owned by the big groups and events like the Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams exhibition opening in Shanghai, following its success in Paris and London, will help to further educate and create this branding magic within this market.

2) Fashion will be more woke when it wakes, but the progress we were making on greening fashion will slow as many firms fight for survival and any expensive new initiatives will be put on the back burner. This is a fight for survival so we’ll see inexpensive greenwashing.

3) We’ll see a whole raft of new start-ups in the middle of next year, to launch later on that year, or in 2022. Many will be kitchen table brands with a strong and individual personality behind them.

4) Local will continue to be a focus and we’ll see more ‘luxury’ Bond Street type brands consider smaller stores in affluent neighbourhoods and design them in a less international and generic style and more of the locale.

5) They’ll be a slower reaction to the bad quality of most ‘luxury’ fashion, which will further fuel ‘fast fashion’.

On a purely aesthetic level, will people continue to want the escapist approach from brands like Gucci and what we saw during the glam 1970s downturn, or will we see a more austere and minimal look mirroring the rise in unemployment and shrinking of people’s disposable incomes? Well just have to see. Whatever happens it can't be too literal or obvious. The consumer is more sophisticated than that.

Fashion is too big now to follow the dictatorial approach of hemlines and lipsticks theories of the previous century. But, what is positive is the desire for consumption. That hasn't gone anyway. While remaining, big brands will try and monopolise for a while, we’ll see fast growing start-ups, from the most unexpected of places, give them a run for their money in a less competitive landscape which will have plenty of scope for growth due to brands disappearing.

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Published in Comment

Diagou reseller DiorDespite the unprecedented turbulence in the world’s retail markets the luxury conglomerates reported strong bounce back results this month. Both LVMH and Kering, two of the world’s largest luxury goods groups, reported extremely strong sales in the third quarter of 2020.

Left - Dior AW20 - Many luxury brands no longer have limits on how much people can buy

Considering many people aren’t even leaving the house, letting alone travelling, it was surprising to see that LVMH saw sales at its fashion and leather goods division rise 12 per cent to €5.9 billion. This was much higher than market expectations and saw standout performances from the Louis Vuitton and Dior houses. The LVMH results said Christian Dior “showed remarkable momentum.” while Louis Vuitton “continued to display exceptional momentum and creativity”.

Kering too reported better than expected results. Revenue in the third quarter totalled €3.72 billion, a fall of 4.3 per cent, but representing only a decline of 1.2 per cent in comparable terms. This represented a sharp rebound after second-quarter comparable sales had plunged by 43.7 per cent.

Kering’s main cash cow, Gucci, saw revenues rise sharply in the third quarter, compared with Q2, with revenue only down 12.1 per cent, whilst retail sales were down 4 per cent on a comparable basis. Gucci reported a 43.7 per cent rise in North America and a 10.6 per cent growth in Asia-Pacific. LVMH too saw strong spending and growth in Asia and the US.

What could be behind this huge recovery surge?

Luxury companies always had a good ‘problem' in the Chinese phenomenon of ‘Daigou’. Daigou or 'Surrogate Shopping' is a term used to describe the cross-border exporting in which an individual or a syndicated group of exporters outside China purchases commodities for customers in China. Often these are luxury goods from big-name designer houses. The main reason Diagou exists is because of the price differential in the Chinese market and buying abroad is often far cheaper even after the middle men take their cut. There is a huge amount of money to be made because of the volumes and value of the goods.

Many luxury companies tried to limit the amounts sold to Diagou so as to preserve their exclusivity and not flood the market. Rarity and scarcity naturally make things more desirable. But, it appears that some of the biggest fashion houses have opened the floodgates to these buyers and organisations, no longer limiting the amounts they can purchase. Having buyers queuing up and wanting to buy as much as you can give them looks like a temptation few brands could resist as they saw their sales fall off a cliff due to COVID 19.

At the end of 2018 it was announced that Kering was ending its joint venture with Yoox Net-a-Porter and taking charge of the e-commerce for its brands including Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta. The partnership was slated for renewal in 2020, by which time Kering’s digital operation, which looked after Gucci separately, would have, hopefully, matured to an advanced level.

Diagou reseller Dior

While many of the world’s busiest luxury streets have been quiet since the beginning of 2020, Kering has been using its stores to process online orders rather than its warehouse in Bologna, as it had done previously.

Right - Diagou sending Dior gifts to China?

These ‘distance sales’ are up 25 to 30 per cent throughout the group and, according to an unnamed source, they are now letting the Korean and Chinese Diagou traders buy everything they want.

“The fact that the traders are now allowed to get what they want definitely helps those brands. Even at Dior, they can buy without restrictions now.” they say.

“Some companies do it everywhere. Particularly Louis Vuitton. And Dior. For the Kering Group, before the confinement, they had vague procedures that were changing depending on what items were selling. For example, for whatever reasons, some stores were selling huge amounts of the same item (usually cheaper leather goods with a logo, like pouches). When that happened, some accounts were flagged by the directors. There is a system at Kering called ‘Luce’ where you can see who bought a particular item. Every time, a trader would come, the sales assistant had to check their purchase history.

"At one point, they also checked that the credit card they use matched their profile name. (Companies would send different people who would all use the same company card. That was flagged during audits). After the confinement, every company has relaxed the procedures. I know some traders and they told me that for instance, at Gucci or Moncler, there are no limits on items purchased.

“Even Dior doesn’t do limits of items anymore. Although I hear that Louis Vuitton and Goyard still check accounts. At Saint Laurent, there is a limit of 3 of the same item per transaction. (But they can come every day and buy 3 items - they couldn’t do that before). I understand it is happening everywhere. Also, brands like Dior have resumed doing export sales. But Saint Laurent still refuse export sales unless the client has a good reason (if there is no store in their country that carries what they want to buy). It used to be a huge market for the brands until about 2 years ago when they decided to stop it all ‘to protect the markets in Asia and the Middle East’ mostly.”

Export sales are by a foreign buyer asking for it to be shipped to their territory from a store overseas. The Korean and Chinese traders often buy closer to home in other Asian markets. The Koreans are now the biggest traders selling into China.

“When they used to call stores and ask for an export sale, they would be able to have the VAT off and the European price.” says the source.

Many Daigou are or work with sales staff, using their staff discount as an extra price differential. But, it is not really possible anymore at some brands, like YSL, because they've put a limit on staff purchases. However, the limits are not imposed throughout the Kering group and Gucci doesn’t have limits. I regularly see or hear of people buying the same products. The directors have started to flag it.” says the source.

“One would think the procedures would be the same throughout the group, but it varies drastically and depends on the CEO/ Director’s decision. There are so many odd decisions though. For instance, I heard that Gucci had cancelled the VIP discounts ... which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Diagou reseller YSL China Chinese consumer Covid luxury brandsThere are limits in the stores but not online for Kering.... which is beyond stupid. Again, something that doesn’t make sense.

“At Kering, there is a separate online system called 'Sellsy' which is like ordering online, but through the store stock. The directors can check the accounts and stop some people from buying (if they suspect that it is for resale), but the traders can call the stores (if they cannot find items in the website) and use a different name. The credit card used cannot be checked by the stores.” says the source.

Left - Saint Laurent AW20

“Although they are starting to check the accounts again. I heard that one Korean trader got flagged and is not allowed to buy anymore. But I am sure he still does.... using various names. Some clients have more than a dozen profiles.... with same email but variations of their name. Quite surreal.” the source says.

Speaking to a Diagou reseller in China, via WeChat, they say they have direct cooperation with many of the brands, but nothing is ever ‘official’. Louis Vuitton is the best seller, followed by Dior, then Gucci. They say that COVID 19 has forced the luxury goods companies into this loose cooperation. 

As for the end consumer, “Most of the clients don’t know anything about luxury. They just want to show off”. says the owner of the Diagou store on WeChat. “They don’t even have passports.”

Asked which products were most in demand at the moment and from which brands. “Every season is different. Which one is best depends how we promote.” they say.

Diagou buy and then export the goods themselves with their commission priced in. It will be interesting how the UK Tax Free shopping changes - Read more here - alters things for Daigou buying in the UK. But, then, the vast majority of reselling sales are made in more localised markets to China, hence the huge uplift in Asia.

What it does signify is the continued huge demand for named luxury goods. Which is a good sign for the industry overall.

Daigou has always been a game of cat and mouse for the brands. In one respect, this great demand is flattering for any brand, but they also want to be extremely protective of their image and how their goods are sold. COVID 19 was a massive jolt for any business and it’s understandable why many brands panicked and became more relaxed about knowingly selling to Daigou for resale into China. It could explain some of the huge bounce back in Q3 sales.

COVID created a vacuum and distorted the balance between buyer and seller. The luxury brands have turned the taps on for the Daigou market. Just don’t expect them to be on for too long.

Buy TheChicGeek's latest book FashionWankers - HERE

Published in Comment
Wednesday, 21 October 2020 12:17

Label To Know Triumph Lifestyle

Label to know Triumph Lifestyle motorcycles

Drawing inspiration from 100 years of British history, engineering and culture, Triumph Lifestyle, is a new menswear brand providing clothing for those 'who appreciate quality of craftsmanship and iconic classics’.

A premium ‘moto -inspired’ clothing brand brought to you by the legendary Triumph Motorcycles, the new Autumn/Winter 20 collection, its second, offers a mix of reimagined wardrobe staples produced in the finest fabrics.

The collection combines iconic styles, incorporating staple vintage details from the original Triumph Motorcycle archives, such as original biker Talon zips and D pocket jackets.

This season features a selection of premium cotton jersey and tees starting with hand drawn designs inspired by the Triumph Motorcycles archives based on a 1950s Triumph Motorcycles instruction manual and moto track racing to include slub yarns, textural weaves, heavy twill and retro piques.

Left & Below - Triumph Lifestyle - Prices range from £25 - £650

Label to know Triumph Lifestyle motorcycles

TheChicGeek says, “When motoring brands move into clothing or ‘lifestyle’ it can often go either way. I saw this at a Berlin menswear trade show in January and I was instantly impressed by the quality. The prices aren’t cheap - it’s obviously chasing the Belstaff customer - but, neither is it crazy. Being privately owned, Triumph clearly want to do justice to the brand in this new enterprise and this looks like it has had careful thought and curation rather than just lazily sticking the name onto everything. *looks at Ferrari*

Moto-wear is very popular with an older, but want-to-look-younger-for-longer demographic of men and they have money to spend. While not groundbreaking, these are the types of clothes many guys want to wear and invest in." 

Label to know Triumph Lifestyle motorcyclesBuy TheChicGeek's new book FashionWankers - HERE 

Published in Labels To Know

menswear product to buy now stefan cooke embroidered slashed jumper

British designer, Stefan Cooke, along with partner Jake Burt, has been stealthily building up his menswear business. The Crawley-born Central Saint Martins alum won the H&M designer prize in 2017 and has been on the calendar of LFWM ever since.

He has been producing lots of desirable pieces - see the male peplum trend - including this crafty looking embroidered flower jumper with bold, stylish slashes. Wear with a bright base layer.

It also comes in navy.

menswear product to buy now stefan cooke embroidered slashed jumper

Left - Farfetch - Stefan Cooke - Slash Floral-Embroidered Jumper - £645

Below - Stefan Cooke AW20 at LFWM

Buy TheChicGeek's new book FashionWankers - HERE

menswear trends aw20 fw20 stefan cooke

Published in Men

menswear product to buy now stefan cooke embroidered slashed jumper

British designer, Stefan Cooke, along with partner Jake Burt, has been stealthily building up his menswear business. The Crawley-born Central Saint Martins alum won the H&M designer prize in 2017 and has been on the calendar of LFWM ever since.

He has been producing lots of desirable pieces - see the male peplum trend - including this crafty looking embroidered flower jumper with bold, stylish slashes. Wear with a bright base layer.

It also comes in navy.

menswear product to buy now stefan cooke embroidered slashed jumper

Left - Farfetch - Stefan Cooke - Slash Floral-Embroidered Jumper - £645

Below - Stefan Cooke AW20 at LFWM

Buy TheChicGeek's new book FashionWankers - HERE

menswear trends aw20 fw20 stefan cooke

Published in Fashion
Monday, 21 September 2020 15:13

Menswear Product Of The Week The Conran Blue Jacket

Drakes blue suede chore jacket Terence Conran blue

Britain recently lost one of its retail and design kings, Sir Terence Conran, who was famed for his love of cobalt blue. From his shirts to his socks, this knight loved his French blue workwear or 'bleu de travail’. He actually has his own blue called Pantone 072 C, aka Conran Blue.

It help you celebrate this giant of British style, Drake’s has a thick suede ‘Chore’ jacket in this striking blue primary. Made in Italy with horn buttons, it also has a touch of the Hockney’s about it, which I’m sure Terence would have appreciated even more. Wearing this will never be a chore.

Left & Below - Drake’s - Chore Jacket - £1195

Buy TheChicGeek's new book FashionWankers - HERE

Drakes blue suede chore jacket Terence Conran blue

Published in Men
Wednesday, 16 September 2020 17:04

Menswear Product Of The Week The Shiny Winter Sandal

Joseph Cheaney Richard Biedul sandal collaboration

Being a geek, it goes without saying that we like a sandal and sock combo. And, we don’t let cold weather stop us when getting our geek footwear on.

Left & Below - Cheaney X Richard Biedul - Vetri - £325

Part of a new capsule collection with English shoemaker, Joseph Cheaney, and, solicitor/model turned artistic director, Richard Biedul, is this elegant 'Vietri' sandal in black rub off hi shine.

This T-Bar sandal, also known as a Gurkha sandal, has something of the jelly and fisherman sandal too and I’m all over it. The high-shine takes it up a notch.

Biedul is a man of good taste and has become one of the most photographed men during London Fashion Week Men’s both on and off the catwalk. This is a man who knows how to rock a suit or Oxford Bag trouser and further proof of his expert eye for detail is seen this new collaboration. I’m sold.

www.cheaney.co.uk

Buy TheChicGeek's new book FashionWankers - HERE

Joseph Cheaney Richard Biedul sandal collaboration

Published in Men
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