Comes an article from the Wall Street Journal last week on “slow fashion” entitled Tracking the Trouser Cycle. Unfortunately, the WSJ incorrectly identifies slow fashion as “an antidote to fast fashion, keeping the same styles around from season to season” but fast fashion doesn’t mean rapidly changing styles. It generally means fast cycle time to delivery. Profiled is Slowear, described as “a luxury clothing maker based outside of Venice” but the company’s website says “Slowear is not a brand but a brand of brands” and the project is “a group of high-end companies gathers [sic] to offer a range of complementary products that are similar in style, quality and strong brand identity”.
Contradictions aside, the article describes a very real phenomenon of men’s shopping -and maybe you don’t care if you’re doing women’s apparel but you should because women are shopping more like men every day. The article describes purchasers of men’s luxury goods as being “leery of adopting new styles. They more often remain faithful customers of a single company, once they find something that fits and looks good.” I’d say that also describes women more and more often these days and most likely to continue in certain demographies as the population ages within the luxury staple goods categories.
While the fast-fashion push is being embraced by many companies today, a backlash is brewing. Filson, a 110-year-old clothing maker known for its staple wools and cottons, now is backtracking after adding more fashionable clothing in the fall of 2005. Customers responded so poorly to the changes that the company hired a new president and chief executive, Bill Kulczycki, to shift the strategy into reverse by eliminating the new sportswear and leather jackets and restoring the focus on products like the “Tin Cruiser” jacket, which was patented in 1914. “It was a major backlash,” says Mr. Kulczycki.
New, forward-looking fashions are coming at shoppers so fast and furiously that some customers have reached “burn-out,” says David Wolfe, a creative director at the Doneger Group fashion industry consultants in New York. He points to Slowear.
One thing not mentioned in the article was sizing changes. While Slowear and others intend to keep their customers forever, are their sizing scales being pushed toward an increasing median? I’d think less slowly; men in that demography tend to maintain their weight but still, maturation forces changes in skeletal structures. Were there an identical push in women’s wear, I’d think sizing changes would be more pronounced.
Just curious, do many of you also shop like this? Do you tend to stick to brands and silhouettes within them if it is possible? Have your shopping habits changed as you’ve aged?