Facebook's Impact on Fashion and Kohl's Setting Industry Standards
FACEBOOK'S IMPACT ON FASHION
Cambridge Analytica's misuse of Facebook data belonging to 50 million users could have more impact on the fashion community than initially expected. Since its acknowledgment of improper data usage, the company has lost $100 billion in market value, even after Mark Zuckerberg's vow to "fix Facebook."
Facebook is integral to the marketing strategies of fashion brands big and small, who routinely spend a large percentage on advertising, use content publishing to drive brand awareness, and connect with their digital community. As public perception of the social platform continues to decline, the question is whether users will actually cease using Facebook. So far, there hasn't been a major decline in usage, but the situation is still evolving.
DIGITAL SHIFTS TO IN-STORE
ThredUp, the online consignment marketplace, is looking to increase its share of the retail pie. As resale culture continues to rise, the digital retailer sees its current ten store count increasing to an operation of over 100 locations in the future. While some secondhand retailers like Second Time Around have struggled, the market is alive and well and projected to grow to $33 billion by 2021.
The shift to a brick-and-mortar focus is fueled by ThredUp's value in consumer convenience. The company sends out a bag for sellers to fill with used clothing to mail back, then its in-house team selects inventory based on the store region to cater to buyer's interests. “People are busy, and our value is in being as convenient as possible for the customer," said CEO James Reinhart.
And ThredUp isn't alone in its store expansion, as peer-to-peer secondhand marketplace Depop is also opening its first store in LA this spring, with others to follow. We're loving the ways that these companies are reinventing traditional retail models.
THE SNEAKER BOOM
Streetwear has been a functioning subculture for decades, and its recent burst in consumer interest has meant a major boost for sports footwear, with the category growing 46% in 2017 (versus the rest of footwear at only 13%).
Sneaker culture has gone mainstream, and brands are investing in long-term partnerships to produce limited-edition collaborations, a model primed and proven for success. The concern with being unique and owning exclusive products is high among Gen Z, who are more likely to spend with luxury retailers.
A willingness to pay a premium for exclusivity may give leverage to companies like Nordstrom, who recently announced an in-store partnership with Stadium Goods, but the momentum of digital players like Amazon still means traditional footwear retailers face an uphill fight. As the sneaker craze hits its climax, sports brands must focus on selecting retail partners that add sustainable value, similar to Nike's partnership with Stitch Fix.
KOHL'S SETS A FAST FASHION STANDARD
Retailers are pivoting away from traditional merchandising models as consumers are increasingly fashion trend savvy. And despite its mid-tier status, Kohl's is adopting a supply chain strategy similar to fast fashion giants like Zara, in order to push designs from factories to stores within shorter timeframes.
Moving production to the Western Hemisphere versus Asia and running smaller sample test orders has led Kohl's to believe its secret sauce is paying off. Last quarter its fast-turnaround apparel outperformed comparable products by about 2.5 percent. “We had to move faster as a company because we see the whole world is moving faster,” said 20-year Kohl's supply chain partner, Li & Fung.
With these improvements, Kohl's is serving as a case study for other large footprint retailers who are struggling to implement broad changes to their supply chain efforts.
THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT
Virgil Abloh has been announced as the new artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. The designer garnered attention with his most recent collaboration, Off-White™ x Nike, and is set to replace Kim Jones, who announced his departure from the French heritage house.
Abloh's elation to begin the next chapter of design and luxury at a brand he claims to "represent the pinnacle of luxury" couldn't be contained, as he considers the opportunity as the stuff of his wildest dreams.
His debut collection for Louis Vuitton will be presented during Paris Men's Fashion Week this June.