It is hardly a new trend: but responsible consumerism is supposed to go mainstream. If that means that buying-to-possess is waning, one just has to walk down New York’s Madison Avenue to see the devastating effects of these new mindsets. Consumers are seeking brands that help them to make better, more responsible choices that offer ’experiences’ rather than stuff. The experience ‘fix’ I am personally looking for is generosity, the feeling that brands or retailers really care, and that the service, their display and the goods are engaging.
The recent opening of Nordstrom’s New York flagship store, and the new Nike stores in Shanghai and New York, underline a powerful message: colour, details and activities are the best retail weapons against the invasion of e-commerce. It was Gucci that first broke away from the sterile designer mood with its regimented clothing racks, followed by middle of the road retailers investing in fanciful amusement parks.
It is re-construction time, and not just for form and function. Everything in intimate apparel needs to go on the drawing board: from garment design to retail, marketing and merchandising. Even production needs adapting to diversification and the growing number of micro-multinationals.
For the first time in many years we have found the London sleepwear scene in the process of revival. The popularity of PJ dressing from previous seasons is definitely the reason behind the re-orientation of a classification that was in danger of becoming extinct. We have seen major department stores reducing their sleep/loungewear departments to one or two brands. New energy now comes from commercial private label and from high-end brands, such as For Restless Sleepers, Laura Urbinatti, Olivia von Halle and newcomers like Violet & Wren, who all show that the parameters for sleepwear are not longer related to the bedroom – it’s versatility and adaptation to the contemporary wardrobe that matters. The golden rule for sleepwear success: it needs to be uncomplicated and easy, but details, colours and proportion need to conform to general fashion.