Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Growth is global...

The domestic outlook is bleak: the government's widespread spending cuts are all over the papers, we are all feeling the cold (literally) and retail sales are down for the second consecutive month in a row. But is the current frosty spell an indicator that it is set to be a long, cold winter?

Leaders within the retail industry gathered yesterday in Berlin for the World Retail Congress. Reuters reports that while most were downbeat about the outlook within the US and continental Europe, many were looking east for growth opportunities and in particular in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. Sir Stuart Rose suggested that businesses could use the Internet to test these new markets at relatively low cost.  Drapers confirmed that online is Marks & Spencer’s largest store and that Rose indicated that M&S will use its existing online platform as the launchpad into new international markets. “For international markets the advance guard will go first but we will still open stores,” he told the World Retail Congress.

M&S isn't the only British retailer following this strategy. Drapers reported yesterday on River Island's recent deal with ASOS which will make its trend-led collections available across 170 countries. So, while the UK outlook may be bleak, there are opportunities for growth overseas. Fashionista is looking forward to seeing British fashion businesses make the most of their headstart online to gain entry to new international markets.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

"Les Belges" at Paris Fashion Week

The Brussels Fashionista team was excited to have the opportunity to visit the Showroom "Les Belges" at the Paris Fashion Week.

For the first time, the Flanders Fashion Institute (FFI) and Wallonie-Bruxelles Design/Mode (WBDM) joined their forces to offer a common platform to young upcoming Belgian designers including NOOR D*IZAR, Marko Galovic and Schipper/Arques.

In total 14 designers, each with their own identity, presented their collections to international media and potential buyers. The Brussels Fashionista team was able to talk to most of the designers. All were aware that the key to success is not only talent, but a strong business sense - including understanding how best to protect their designs- are essential to make it in the competitive world of fashion. Their major concerns were reflected in their questions: "How can we protect our designs? How can we protect our brand? What are the legal implications of setting up an online store".

To help young emerging Belgian talent, the Brussels Fashionista team
will be working alongside the FFI to offer the much needed legal support to upcoming Belgian designers. Fashionista and the FFI will together, organize seminars for new design talent topics such as "Protection of creativity in Fashion" and "The opportunities and threats of online stores and social media". 

Fashionista is delighted to be working with the next generation of fashion designers on both sides of the Channel, both in the UK and Brussels.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

BIBA is back!

Times may be hard, but it's always nice to read a good news story for a change. Fashionista can't be the only person to notice that the legedary BIBA brand has been revived exclusively at House of Fraser. According to the Guardian, despite the current talk of spending custs and recession, the brand's relaunch has been a hit - with sales of more than £500,000 in the first fortnight.

The new range has been designed by Barbara Hulanicki, the founder of the original BIBA store in Kensington back in 1964. In fact the re-launch has gone so well, House of Fraser has suggested that they may launch stand alone stores. Let's hope the resurgence of the brand continues - it just goes to show that  certain brands can live on even without any trade, and be resuscitated with the right product. With the weather on the turn, Biba's faux-fur coats have caught Fashionista's eye!