The crisis is slowly changing our consciousness, our habits and addictions. This is most clearly seen in fashion. At first glance, people started to dress easier. Is it really? Our correspondent asked the general director of the Association of Fashion Industry Enterprises (APRIM) Maria Smorchkova to tell about the "crisis fashion".
In the West, entrepreneurs are very sensitive to all changes in the conjuncture. Right now "anti-crisis fashion" has appeared there. Everyone is again wearing denim clothes without any lace, rhinestones and other decorations. Do we have such a fashion?
Yes, it is fashionable now to do everything in the context of a crisis. And the label "anti-crisis proposal" can be hung on any product, and it will become the object of the buyer's attention, and it will quickly fall into his field of vision. But often this is more of a marketing ploy, an attempt to wrap an existing product in some new shell than a real new proposal.
Anti-crisis fashion, if we talk about it as a social phenomenon, is, first of all, a rejection of glamor and … hedonism, which has set everyone on edge, and… hedonism in everyday life. Anti-crisis fashion is a rejection of conspicuous consumption, a more rational approach to choice, avoiding spontaneous purchases under the influence of annoying advertising. This does not mean a total striving for cheaper and, therefore, lower quality things. This means that when choosing something in the usual price range, we choose less extravagant, more "long-lasting" things, more practical and versatile, suitable for different situations. At the same time, according to all customer surveys, the first way to cut costs will be precisely the refusal to frequently update the wardrobe.
Denim clothing has always been a symbol of democracy, and today it reflects the general trend towards the democratization of fashion. From pretentious demonstrative consumption, the desire to emphasize high status and income, we return to simple, "eternal" and reliable things. Consumer benchmarks and behavior are changing. Simplicity and naturalness - what we associate in fashion with casual style - are ubiquitous in our daily life. Hence the popularity of not only jeans, but also universal slacks, informal shirts and comfortable knitwear. Another trend of our time is environmental friendliness. He has been present in the collections of trendsetters for three seasons. This is an appeal to natural materials, natural textures, colors, handicrafts. It is not cheap, but it allows a person to distance themselves from the impersonal crowd,produced in thousands of copies in Asia, and return the status of exclusivity to traditional European brands. Sustainability is also a marketing ploy. But in times of crisis, when the symbols of the era of consumption are subject to revaluation, this becomes an even more noticeable trend.
And, of course, you should understand that when people lose their jobs in the office, instead of five suits, they will most likely need five jeans.
How did the crisis affect the industry's economy?
- The industry crisis began with a crisis in the consumer market. When people, still only in anticipation of possible financial difficulties, have already reduced their consumption. Six months later, we can say that those who supported sales on time, adjusted the assortment, who abandoned expensive projects that were not soon implemented, who went to meet tenants and kept the flow of buyers to their shopping centers, are holding their positions in the market today. Maintaining a business position today means matching a decrease in profits with a decrease in consumption. Retailers lose profit margins by stimulating the buyer with constant promotions and discounts. We maintain demand, but lose profitability. We save on reducing orders or reducing costs, production times. The main task now is the fastest possible turnover of money,because today the money is one, and tomorrow it will be completely different, taking into account, firstly, inflation and the instability of the ruble, and secondly, the dependence of Russian clothing manufacturers on imported raw materials and components. If we talk about retail, large chains of well-known brands are now in a better situation with good sales outlets such as SELA, GloriJeans, OGGI, INCITY, SAVAGE, etc. They can redistribute costs, selling better somewhere, somewhere worse. Individuals do not have the opportunity to significantly reduce rent in a shopping center, change logistics schemes, conditions and terms of ordering collections from manufacturers. They cut advertising and personnel costs, which leads to a drop in demand. Today, many entrepreneurs make the decision to leave the existing store format, "get under the wing"a well-known chain or leave the clothing business for another, if you still have your own money, because, unfortunately, clothing consumption is falling much faster than companies manage to cut costs.
Russian manufacturers focused on the consumer segment, as a rule, sewed and sold clothes under their own brand, not having their own retail, but working with a large number of wholesale buyers from the regions. They are now in the most difficult situation. Wholesalers are cutting orders. For the next, already winter season, orders were reduced by 40-60%. Manufacturers cannot influence the final sale. Therefore, today, more than ever, they are interested in placing retail orders on their sites.
We had the leaders of the fashion industry. How do they feel now? Do any of them export their products to foreign countries?
- The industry leaders became leaders because they focused on the internal, still growing market. Some people needed reports about "going to the West" to strengthen their authority within Russia. We're good at exporting designer names. Our designers traditionally participate in European Fashion Weeks. But again, this is nothing more than a marketing ploy - to earn fame there, to use it here, to raise the brand's authority in the eyes of Russians. This is an accumulation of prestige. There is practically no open information that some of our manufacturers are profitably exporting their products abroad. I know of five companies that produce linen clothes and home textiles and work exclusively for the European and American markets.
After the 1998 crisis, some Russian enterprises sewed on orders from foreign firms. But their products were sold in Russia. There is no such thing today. Industry giants with a Soviet past are now universally transformed into business centers, and their heirs are developing brands by placing orders for cheap tailoring in China, Vietnam, Turkey, and India. Above average European brands are produced in Eastern Europe - Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary or Belarus and Latvia in factories equipped with large Western firms. Enthusiasts are still working in Russia, creating sewing workshops, primarily working for their own brand.
In the recent past, the all-Russian jeans giant GloriJeans produced Levi s jeans at factories near Rostov. Before the merger of Reebok and Adidas, part of the Reebok assortment was made in Russia and immediately sold. This suggests that in Russia, clothes comparable to European quality can be sewn and the industry's potential has not yet been exhausted. I am sure that discerning Russians will pay more attention to the Made in Russia brand amid rising import prices. Over ten years of competition with international brands within their country, Russian brands have not only learned how to sew high-quality clothes, but have also been able to hear the consumer. And now those who, despite the "spasm of consumption", keep jobs, deserve support.