Fashionable Milan expert Evgeny Ersh about the crisis of the fashion industry
What does Italy mean to you? For me, Italy is fashion, and Milan is the capital and heart of the fashion industry. How is the f ashion industry doing during the quarantine period? What changes affected her? And what will happen next?
The answers to these and many other questions were given by the commercial manager of the Milan showroom “IFD – International Fashion Diffusion” Yevgeny Yorsh , who shared his experience before and during the crisis and offered his vision of the industry model in the era of COVID-19.
Virus hit the fashion industry
What fashion will be after quarantine remains to be seen. Every day there are meetings at which it is decided what the system will be. What changes must all global fashion houses make to weather this global crisis. But, indeed, quarantine hit fashion very hard.-industry. She, like no one, suffered due to the isolation of people who, in these difficult times, thought about how to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones, not die of hunger and stock up on essential products. How to save your business and not be left without a job, and also not leave your subordinates without work, how to pay rent, salaries and so on. And no one at that moment thought how to buy a dress from the latest collection or a python bag. Therefore, all new collections, on which a huge number of designers, managers, tailors, technologists and others worked, who spent half a year of their lives, a lot of energy, strength and ideas to create a new collection, were forced to be forgotten during this period. All this will never make it to the boutiques.
What happened in Milan before quarantine
I, as a manager, made appointments in the show-room in Milan, presented new collections, along with many buyers, we all chose, ordered and entered orders into the system. We selected the right assortment for each client. We took into account the weather conditions of the country, region, and so on. After all, a buyer from the United Arab Emirates for the winter will not order boots with natural fur, and a buyer from Siberia will not order light loafers . Therefore, fashion houses develop huge collections and exhibit them in their showrooms so that everyone can order what they need in the boutique. And so, all this work was in vain, because as soon as we finished thesession, as soon as all orders have been placed and entered into the system of fashion houses, before launching all this into production, they must be confirmed with a thirty percent prepayment, and after that fashion houses begin to purchase the required amount of fabrics and accessories. Dye over all these fabrics, print and produce. And now, at this most important moment, COVID-19 begins in our country, they announce that the virus has penetrated from China to Europe and one of the first countries in Europe, it turns out to be Italy. This is understandable, because people from all over the world came here during this period for orders. During this period, there was Milan Fashion Week, the famous Micam shoe exhibition , followed immediately by the White. Plus tourists from all over the world. So, Italy took the brunt and was one of the first. So, it is at this moment, or rather, at the end of February and at the beginning of March, that all fashion houses put into production orders for the next WF 20-21 season, when, at this very moment, customers, that is, boutique owners, must buy out summer SS20, which were ordered in the same way half a year ago. And at the same time, the COVID-19 epidemic begins. The fashion world just froze in horror from these events. Fashion houses did not know what to do, because the law determines to close all boutiques, shopping centers. The streets are dying, there are no people.
Budget and collection pre-orders are cancelled.
Customers are refusing to confirm orders for next winter WF20-21. Someone asks to confirm without prepayment, someone asks for discounts. Someone cuts budgets and reduces orders. There is a commotion, a panic. Well, this is not the worst thing, the fact is that summer orders are already ready, but customers do not have time to redeem them, which is why boutiques are closing, borders are closing and factories are closing. Accordingly, clients (boutique owners) do not have money to confirm winter orders and at the same time to buy out summer collections. There are reductions of 40-60% of the budget. Many begin to close because they can not stand such events. From this moment, the fashion world begins to change, look for an alternative, reduce collections, reduce the number of outlets (we know that there are several outlets in a season – the pre-collection of the season, the main collection of the season,fashion to a collection from the catwalk, and so on, all sorts of capsule collections, collaborations are being developed) All this is done to constantly update the assortment in boutiques.
What will happen to Fashion Week in Italy
Now this season, the pre-collections have been canceled, the main collections have been moved to the second half of July and September. Men’s fashion weeks will not be held in the summer, but they plan to merge with the women’s week and everything will be held in September. Also, there are searches for alternative ways of working. Most buyers will not be able to fly to Milan for orders, especially in July, as it will be impossible to do so due to lack of flights. Many countries are still banned from flying to Italy. But the buying session is already starting. It is not yet known who will be able to fly in September.
The work of Fashion Houses in a crisis
Therefore, all fashion houses create their own online ordering programs. The manager will be able to access these programs, get acquainted with the collection live at the presentation and also get acquainted with the program for online orders. He will be able to create a personal code for each client and send a link to the client ( buyer ). Thus, the owner of the boutique or his buyer will be able, sitting in the office, to place an order without leaving their city. Everything, as before, will be confidential information for the privacy of the fashion house. Nobody but the buyers, will not be able to see new collections and place an order. Everything is as before, but online. Also, it should be noted that new platforms for these online orders are being created. And even virtual multi-brand showrooms in 3D format. When, likewise, a fashion house signs a contract with such a platform. There are a lot of them being developed now and one of them is called Joor . You walk around the showroom virtuallyand look at collections. If you like one of the brands presented in this virtual showroom, you go in and start choosing things by category, color, size and ordering. This information is obtained by the manager, advises the client and places the order. As soon as you have finished forming your order, confirm it to the manager, he automatically goes to the credit department of the brand, they issue a proforma invoice and make a request for an advance payment. And then, everything is as usual. Unfortunately, due to confidentiality, I cannot name the brands and companies, but many felt that this saves a lot of campaign costs.
Buyer budget cuts _
If the client is large and he has a chain of stores, then you need to send abroad (Milan, Paris, London, Berlin, New York, and so on), send more than 10 – 20 buyers and pay for flights, hotels, food and travel expenses . All this costs companies a large budget, we are talking about millions of euros, I repeat, when the company is large and there are many buyers in the state. If you are the owner of one boutique and you have 2-3 buyers , there are, of course, less expenses, but they are also there. So, they talked about it, everyone was thinking how to make the sales company less costly.
Brands in Italy reopen
Online orders, virtual showrooms, and so on… These were only distant plans, which half a year ago were only dreams and it took more than one year to implement them. COVID-19 has forced this to happen at short notice. And of course, it is impossible to understand the beauty of the collection from the picture, touch the fabric, ask for a live model in a live showroomtry on a thing and see its cut, texture, the author’s idea, which the manager will immediately tell about. Look at the color map not on paper, but already pre-dyed pieces of fabric. If these are bags, shoes or just a leather product, then touch the dressing of the leather and select the desired dressing technology. View the shades of its coloring. Pay attention to firmware technologies and so on… After all, fashion is an art, it is ancient traditions and the latest technologies. This whole industry, which no 3D picture and even 300 D, if they come up with one, can not be compared with a living touch to the high. For the next season of SS21 – this next summer, many major fashion houses will find that budgets will drop by 40-50%, which will force them to cut staff accordingly.
When and under what conditions can the fashion industry return to its former course?
I really hope that all these innovations will not supplant the traditions that the fashion industry has been proud of for centuries. I hope the buyersthey will always come to the showrooms of Milan and we, managers, will be able to convey to them the main philosophy of this or that fashion house. That we will be able to tell, as before, about each tradition, technology and material with a soul. Only then will all this be appreciated and in demand. Otherwise, everything will become the same and soulless. But to return to normal rhythms, the fashion world needs at least two more seasons, which means one year. And what this year can take root of all the innovations, what will remain as before, only time will show us. But, the fashion world will never be the same again, it will be divided into before COVID-19 and after COVID-19. And, which one is better, we will be able to answer at least a year later.
Welcome , my friend! I’m International Journalist and I write travel news, fashion articles and make interview with interesting, public persons from the all world.