What are the top trends fashion consultants are following?

Effects of the coronavirus to the supply chain.

The coronavirus struck at the start of the AW20 buying season, effecting most catwalk shows. All saw and felt this and this will continue to have knock-on effects.

How will this effect be felt?

Simple. Without the shows, collections weren’t viewed in full or in person. Delayed appointments took place by video and this can normally result in smaller sales orders, as the sales rep won’t have had their time to shine, persuade and sell. As a result, this means smaller orders which mean less revenue to factories who are already suffering. How will they survive?

Now let’s look at the current season.

As a fashion wholesale consultant, I am feeling the effects first hand. In trying to sell the new season (AW20), orders aren’t being written, even new accounts are not being opened as most of SS20 is late for most retailers. With most retailers placing around min 50% (as great as 100%) of their production through china, they are being hit hard. No workers, no production, equals no stock.

What are the future effects of this for brands? Cancellation of sales orders because of lateness or late production of stock, meaning less time to sell the stock in season, which equals dead stock. Either of these scenarios will affect the next season and the season after that, as both will mean a poor rate of sale (ROS). When planning the season ahead, poor ROS will mean a smaller order volume will be placed. This will take seasons, years to recoup and grow to the current state of the business.

For new brands looking to launch, this is a really uncertain time. My fashion consulting advice would be, only launch in a local market where your business is based or if you want to look at a global market you need to thoroughly research that market and build a detailed plan, ensuring you have a time buffer built into these plans.

Here is a reference. This graph shows the size of the Chinese manufacturing market by meters. This shows the existing focus placed on production out of China. We need to create greater balance and less risk.
Textile production in China from December 2018 to December 2019. (in billion meters)

Is fashion week no longer going to be the start of the buying calendar?

It scares me to think of the long-term effect of the coronavirus to our industry. But maybe it has played an important part in the shake-up we have needed. By this I am talking about the start of the buying process, the major catwalk shows in London, Paris, NYC, and Milan.

Cautiously, a lot of sales appointments were not conducted after the shows this year. Meaning video call appointments were made instead. Consequently, this was viewed in a negative light.

Is this really a negative?

In the world we exist in now should designers or buyers be flying around the world so vicariously to attend every show and appointment? That is not very eco, is it?

Therefore moving to video calling, could be the best result for all. It allows flexibility, a greater amount of people to attend and less cost.

Likewise, this has led others to questions if catwalk shows should happen. Could brands show via video, via lookbook and host video appointments instead? Is there a need for all the excess?

I believe that the virus has pushed traditionalists into new territory. And I really hope to see this continue into a new, eco-approach to the start of the buying season.

Great read and reference to this topic.

Circular economy.

The hottest topic at the end of 2019 was clothing rental, however, this sales channel isn’t right for all brands. So the question is; how can everyday brands join the circular economy?

I believe the best options presented to brands in 2020 is:

  • Circular Design.
  • Recycling Initiatives for the consumer.

Circular Design.
Brands should look at what their core style is in their business, and focus on that. It is your bestseller for a reason, so how can you keep reinventing it? Therefore, the challenge to designers is to remain relevant and on-trend but without releasing 100’s of options monthly. Above all the future of the world requires us to make a change, and if this means stripping back the options within each range and challenging every design that is sketched then that is what is needed. As a brand you need to ask yourself; what is needed? What is too much and what is just right? I would encourage brands to only design what your customers want and love – that way you have a better chance of extending its lifecycle and love!

Recycling initiatives.
Give your customers the initiative to join you in your circular economy movement.
Offer them:

  • 5 – 10% off their next order if they return their used product.
  • Encourage your customers to pass on their loved items to someone else. Encourage them to join the resale market.
  • Offer repair services. Define your capabilities within this offer.
  • Encourage them through clear marketing to look after their packing from their online order, as it will be reused.


Great read and reference to this topic.

"Moving to video calling could be the best result for all. It allows flexibility, a greater amount of people to attend and less cost. "


Sustainability, the forever changing goalpost.

As a new brand joining the market you need to be sustainable, to give yourself the best opportunity to grow globally. For an established brand, you need to work to input sustainability one step at a time. This may be simply replacing cotton to organic or you could work to change one product category at a time. But this does need to happen.

The rules around sustainability keep changing, by this I mean the % of something that makes you a sustainable brand. So my advice, always aim for 100%.

As a consultant, I would encourage all brands in today’s climate to be sustainable in which to grow. Furthermore, most 3rd party e-commerce platforms won’t work with you unless you are sustainable, and you need them to grow globally. Based on a source: McKinsey new age of the consumer US survey 2019; Younger generations increasingly state that they will pay more for products that have the least negative impact on the environment.

A fantastic designer who has been sustainable for years is Stella McCartney. She fully supports this trend through the fabric she uses but also supports this trend by working with foundations and charities within her reach. Hence, be inspired by those that do it so well!

Stella McCartney AW20 campaign.


I would love to hear from you?

What are your brands top trends and focuses for 2020? & have you had to re-evaluate since the coronavirus struck?

Post your comments below and thanks for reading this post.

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