1A) Major retail stores, Independent stores and other commonly found retail outlets form UK High streets or Retail Parks.
Through looking at different segments of the UK Fashion Industry; retail, independent stores, high street and retail parks, we can determine the main issues that are affecting the Industry today. In recent years we have seen a change in the way consumers shop; this has been associated with the expansion of technology. Instead of making the journey to the retail stores, consumers now have the choice of shopping from home, through downloading ‘apps’ or using the web . This provides the customer with a more convenient, and efficient way of shopping as well as a wider variety of choice. As a majority of Niche, Smaller stores are not affiliated with the Internet, they are noticing sales and profits falling, causing such stores to have to permanently close. The recession back in 2006 is still affecting our high-street stores, retail parks and other niche stores. Data from the Office for National Statistics states ‘Retail sales were 2.5 % higher than in September 2011, and in the months between July and September, they were 1.0 % higher than in the previous three months, posing the strongest quarterly rise since the second quarter of 2010’ LondonLovesBusiness (2012). Despite this small increase there is still pressure on consumers which limits their spending capabilities, with it being reported that shops have been closing at a rate of more than 30 a day across the UK. Despite this some shops have been bucking the trend, with 7% more discount stores in Britain in the first six months and 11% more payday loan outlets’. These changes can pose major threats as consumers begin to look for cheap alternatives; creating difficulties for luxury, expensive goods, and small stores that only stock niche products. Retail stores that have been hit the hardest are, JJB Sports which has reported ‘Sales have been in decline for five years as the over indebted firm was unable to compete with the pricing of its far more successful rival Sports Direct’, and La senza, who blamed high street ‘trading conditions’ and the economic environment for its downfall, when the firm went into administration in January, 60 of its stores were purchased by Arabian retail group, which saved 1,100 jobs, however the remaining 84 stores and 18 concessions will close, which has resulted in the loss of 1,300 jobs. The traditional customer profile of a retail shopper is somebody who leads a busy life looking for convenience, they are probably married with children and maybe pets. They would often go shopping in the evening after work or on a Sunday with the family. Below shows a primary research video with a retail shopper.
1B) Current designers, you should aim to look at both commercial conceptual and the designer market.
Commercial Designers J.W Anderson, who is inspired by pop and subcultures, has created pieces to be sold in Topshop ranging in prices from £1.99 up to £129.99 which features bomber jackets, tartan print, loafers and other one off pieces such as slap band bracelets, and sharpie pens featuring the J.W logo. Urban outfitters have also created a range called ‘Designed by’; this collection is an on-going series of collaborations with different up and coming designers. Such designers are Brothers Bray and co. by BillyKirk who specialise in a line of handmade leather goods, such as men’s accessories; belts, bags and shoes which are sold nationally. Conceptual Ying GAO a Canadian fashion designer shows the extent conceptual fashion can be taken by using Technology to create pieces of clothing. By using environmental elements such as air, movement and light it generates different trigger responses in the clothing. ‘Technology is my source of inspiration; it is the base of my creations, but invisible on the garment. Some works are based on the unconventional application of software’ Victoria Geany from London ‘produces multidisciplinary fashion, art and science amalgamations during this socially and environmentally aware green era.’ Her latest collection is called ‘Metamorphosis of Narcissus’ which explores the possibility of garments which can be viewed as fashion and art, whilst exploring the reuse of hardware materials. By taking the concepts of power and light literally she makes use of electrical wires to ‘power’ the garments and radiator reflective foam to create a reflective, egg shaped skirt. Designer Market Christopher Raeburn a graduate from the London College of Arts, creates garments inspired by the challenge of creating ‘ethically aware men’s and Womenswear’ with many garments reworked from military fabrics. His SS13 collection uses laminated white lace, streamlined parka shirts, and knee length fitted shorts which all feature military references. Huishan Zhang a graduate from Central St Martins, states ‘I want to make a woman look wonderful from all 360 degrees’. His pieces are created by using Chinese cultural traditions mixed with modern feminine spirit, with his forte being cocktail dresses, and Swarovski crystal embroidered sheaths in China Blue with motifs of pagoda, birds and mah-jong tiles. (LFW, 2012)