Fashion from a consumer point of view and the relationship between bricks and clicks!

Today I have my second guest blog from my right hand lady (assistant) Melissa Watson who is also one of the LDC fashionista. As someone who is in her twenties it is worth reading what and how she and her friends think and do when they ‘shop fashion’! Thank you Mel for a great blog!

The fashion industry is worth £26billion to the UK’s economy, which is an increase of 22% since 2009 (British Fashion Council) but what is driving the increase in profit? According to research by Oxford Economics the number of jobs in the industry is down by 2.4% since 4 years ago, but with an increase in wholesale production as well as other factors such as tourism and financial services playing a part, the fashion industry is still booming.

Personally the amount of high street shopping I do has dramatically declined over the past 3 years, I’m much more likely to purchase an item of clothing online after stumbling across an advert that has popped up at the corner of my web browser, or if I am planning to go to a specific event such as a friends birthday I will look online for inspiration, then head straight to the local high street on my lunch break with an outfit and budget in mind.

My wardrobe is mainly made up of items from River Island, Topshop, H&M, Primark, Crew Clothing, Next and Jack Wills with a few bits and pieces from Abercrombie & Fitch thrown in for good measure (purchased solely from my trips to America over the years!). Most of the retailers I have mentioned have seen a slight increase in retail units across Great Britain over the last 12 months (H&M +9%, Primark +3%, River Island +1%, Crew Clothing +1%) but this does not necessarily mean that these stores are on the high street. River Island, Primark and H&M have opened a majority of their new stores in Shopping Centres which is less than surprising when you see the likes of Westfield, Trinity Leeds opening their doors over the last couple of years, with more to come.

As for online fashion, this is bigger than ever with fashion giants such as Net-A-Porter.com , Asos.com and boohoo.com making big money and expanding their marketing campaigns and online offer at rapid speed. With high rents threatening our much beloved high street retailers, online fashion has been the star of the show for some time now. Coming from an online retail background and starting the first 8 years of my career in the mail order department of a luxury retailer, this has shown me how quickly demand can grow and how reasonably simple it is to accommodate this growth using the space and resources that you have available…. even if you are a small business.

I personally feel that it is very important to keep a balance of online and high street retailers, to ensure that the fashion industry is accessible to everyone. I accept that older generations are getting used to online shopping (mostly because my 67 year old grandmother regularly purchases shoes and clothes on her iPad!!), but whether you are popping into Burberry on a Saturday afternoon to splash the cash on a £2,000 tote bag, or legging it to Primark after work to grab 3 pairs of tights for £3,the experience of walking into a shop empty handed and walking out 5 minutes later with a something in your hands can never be replicated online.

All in all, fashion is big part of all of our lives whether we like it or not. You cannot go a day without opening the papers and seeing images of immaculate looking celebrities supporting their favourite designer at the Met Gala Ball or models and fashion bloggers bursting with excitement about London fashion week. I often stumble across online debates about ‘what celebrity looks hot and which one does not’ on news websites…. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me! But the fact is the fashion industry is here to stay! 

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