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Shoe brands adopt fast-fashion strategy
29.06.2016 6771

Shoe brands adopt fast-fashion strategy

The term fast-fashion or "fast fashion" implies a company's quick response to the trends of the fashion world in the mass market segment. The phenomenon has already become common on the clothing market - the first to use this strategy in the clothing segment were the designers of the Spanish brand Zara, as well as the Swedish fashion chain H&M. Today the experts of the footwear market predict the adaptation of this strategy in the footwear industry.

“The shopping strategy is changing,” comments Giovanni Laezza, Managing Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, the organizer of one of Italy's leading shoe exhibitions, Expo Riva Schuh. - Companies are looking for alternative ways of development to compete internationally. For example, a number of luxury brands are considering launching collections for the middle price segment, along with their main collection, where the quality guaranteed by the brand can be offered at a lower price and with a faster reaction to market needs. Today, with the world of shoes and accessories, the same thing happens as happened with the world of clothes with the advent of fast-fashion. ”

The development of fast-fashion in the shoe market has become one of the main topics for discussion at the Expo Riva Schuh in June; for the Russian shoe market, this topic also becomes relevant.

One of the conditions for adapting a fast-fashion strategy in the shoe industry is the company's ability to provide quick response and restructuring of the production process and logistics. It is not so simple to create such a system for the production of shoes - it is problematic to reduce the time period due to the specifics of the product, shoes have more nuances and iterations compared to clothing production, but in general, according to the players in the shoe market, this is possible.

“To produce a classic boat you need about 95 operations! We have examples where one factory sewed 15 models in a week, about 500 pairs, while the weekly production was preceded by the production of breadboard models, presentation samples, then control samples, a “size range”, and so on for each article, until you bring the model to perfection . First of all, I am talking about the mid-price segment, provided that our shoes are developed at 20 factories. Many brands in the low segment, and some on average buy ready-made shoes, just branding it, in this case the time is much shorter, ”- comments on Portal shoe brand founder Aleko Iliopulo. He notes that for his fast-fashion brand it is not only the speed of arrival of models on the shelves, but also a quick response to trends. “We do not wait for all brands to have this or that trend, if we like a certain direction, we are ready to take risks. The concept of fast fashion involves regular updating of the collection. To do this, it is simply necessary to release new models more often, to a lesser extent, and we are moving towards this, ”says Iliopulo.

The director of the Econika brand Alina Stepanova agrees that fast fashion may become a trend in the development of the shoe market in the near future, however, in her opinion, for this, the company must provide certain conditions - it requires a constantly working team of designers in production and a well-functioning and a flexible logistics system. “Today, the fast-fashion strategy in Russia is more developed in the low price segment, but global trends tell us about the effectiveness of fast-fashion in the middle and premium segments as well. People in the modern world value emotions more than quality. A change of collection within the season, especially in accessories and off-season shoe groups, stimulates frequent shopping, reflects the need to update impressions and inspiration. We are considering the application of this strategy, we consider it promising. For its implementation, we will need structural and process changes that are currently being worked out, ”she says.

Of course, not all shoe companies, as well as not all brands of the mid-price segment in the clothing market, are ready to adopt the successful experience of Zara and H&M. So, according to Yulia Dyutei, head of marketing and PR at Geox Russia, the philosophy of the Geox shoe brand is inherently far from the fast-fashion strategy. “GEOX has never been aiming for this as our product concept is primarily focused on quality and durability,” she notes.

Nevertheless, according to Yulia Dyutey, this strategy is absolutely acceptable for the shoe industry, as well as for the entire fashion market, although there are certain obstacles to its development in the shoe industry. “A significant reduction in delivery times is most often impossible, since these costs directly depend on the geographical coverage of the brand, as well as due to limited financial resources. The increase in the cost of production per unit cost due to the increase in supply is not just impractical, but also contradicts the “fast fashion” concept itself, since the products of this segment should be affordable for the mass buyer, ”she comments. Julia Dutyei believes that the success of the fast-fashion strategy in the shoe business depends primarily on the internal organization of the company, on how mobile it is, on what conditions it works with factories, how many there are and where they are located, on the geography of supplies and other nuances business structure.

Galina Kravchenko, the leading expert of the Fashion Consulting Group on assortment and forecasting trends, the head of the FCG representative office - FASHIONSNOOPS says that the assortment of fast Fashion shoes in most large international brands that already practice this approach to the formation of new collections takes no more than 15% . 

In particular, this approach is used, for example, by international footwear market players: Aldo, Dune, Nine West. “Fast models like this are like cherries on the cake that draw attention to the rest of the product range,” she says. Companies typically rely on used pads and materials to enable rapid change. Only slightly changes are made in designs, decor, accessories, material color, prints and patterns, heel design, etc.  

According to the expert, it is possible to shorten the time period for the introduction of new models of footwear, provided that footwear production is close to the component market. It is more difficult to implement the concept of fast fashion in shoes than in clothes. This is due, first of all, to the longer production time of the components and the product itself. Therefore, in the practice of Russian vertical companies engaged in both the development / production and retail of their own product, this approach is still difficult to implement. In general, the concept of using fast fashion as a reaction to fast trends is part of the assortment management system. To be able to implement such a prompt response, all "cogs" in the company's management and technologies must work harmoniously. This speed is created due to a refined work process at all stages of assortment management: analytics-development-implementation-production-logistics-sales. 


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