February 5, 2013

Fashion's Superpowers

The retail arena is shifting so much from one day to the next that it's hard to keep up! Sights that were once solely on Europe and the U.S. have now shifted to include Asia and South America, as new emerging markets dominate the scene. The world's super powers are changing so who should you keep an eye out for now?

photo via zimbio

Despite the European crisis, Germany continues to stand strong with more than three quarters of consumers feeling optimistic about what's to come in 2013. International retailers seem to be feeling the same as their rapid expansion into Germany is nowhere near slowing down. Shops are popping up all over the country from Berlin to Frankfurt to Hamburg and Munich as brands like Primark, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Barbour, Club Monaco, Belstaff and Moncler, among many many more, push growth. Meanwhile, U.K. based retailers like Debenham's and Topman recently launched online stores in the country.

photo via WWD

We began to see a fashion presence from India all over the Spring 2013 runway, which is just one of many signs reflecting India's growing strength as a market. With the launch of the first Indian Apparel trade show here in NY and an increasing number of India-based NGO's in effect like Project Renaissance, Indian textile exports are about to see a major global boom. Over the past few months, major retailers have moved into the world's second most populated country like Superdry in Mumbai and Roberto Cavalli launching in New Delhi. Not to mention, Loreal plans to heavily focus on the Indian market as they invest over $200 million in manufacturing, distribution and research and development. Keep an eye out for this one!

photo via NY Times

Africa is another source of major design inspiration exhibited not only on the runway from the past few seasons but heavily at this season's fabric trade shows as well. This promising market, which is developing similarly to that of China and most recently Brazil, definitely has a lot of potential, but it just isn't quite there yet. While the money seems to be there, the wealthy invest it elsewhere in Europe or New York, rather than back into their native land. Despite, retail and tourism are developing and the population has the ability to remain plugged into the latest trends via the internet. We recommend you get your fill with a pair of vintage-looking "Made in Africa" Sawa sneakers sold at J.Crew now!

photo via WWD

Latin America is also on the watch list as Sephora, who just opened their 6th store in Mexico City in November, looks to add at least 50 new stores to the region by 2016. The major makeup specialty chain which has been expanding in Brazil as well, plans to launch three more stores in Sao Paulo over the next few months. For a beauty obsessed culture like that of Latin America, it is no surprise that Sephora has set their sights here and eventually looks to scout out other countries to possibly include Argentina, Colombia and Chile.

photo via British UK

Last November we attended a panel discussion at FIT discussing the growing influences of Swedish fashion in the global community. From the successes of IKEA, H&M and Acne, contemporary Scandinavian design is more established than ever. And now, a new exhibit, Fashion Scandinavia: Contemporary Cool is launching at the Somerset House on the first day of London Fashion Week displaying 56 up and coming Scandinavian designers.

photo via NY Times

We discussed the changing conditions in China's factories a few weeks ago and despite things looking up for employees, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find people to fill these full-time factory positions. The problem resides in the growing number of recent college grads who are holding out for work in offices rather than pursuing well paid factory jobs. This new status factor is leading to major unemployment for those of the educated and a growing desperation by factories to find skilled labor to fill up payroll. While the growth of education is only creating a larger gap in China's employment, maybe the beginning of labour unions will help draw back workers as manufacturers that contract companies like that of Apple begin to exercise representation.

The world is more globally connected than ever before and with that, influences can come from anywhere. One thing is for sure, fashion is directly linked to these growing markets and is an excellent indicator of where we should shift our focus with everywhere from China, Japan, India and Africa influencing the runway. However, on the production side, as future generations in China become more educated and lose their desire to work in factories, manufacturing jobs will continue to shift elsewhere to other developing economies, like India and Southeast Asia. Not to mention, there will definitely be more of a presence from Brazil and the rest of Latin America taking a stance here in the U.S. throughout the next year or so. Eventually, the time will come for the likes of India, Africa and Russia as well so stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
MBF Trend Talk by MBF Trend Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at mbf-trendtalk.blogspot.com.