"Recently, at the Tranoi New York, the big American fashion event, one saw a certain paradigm shift. A number of European exhibitors landed there seeking to test waters. The aim was to find new customers to replace shrinking sales in the stagnant European economy and to make up for the lost export opportunities brought about by EU's boycott of Russia."
Many Italian and French designers are now increasingly looking to North American buyers to make up for the continuing shortfall in demand because of the shrinking sales in Europe. EU sanctions on trade with Russia, has also added to their woes.
Wooing the US consumer…
Recently, at the Tranoi New York, the big American fashion event, one saw a certain paradigm shift. A number of European exhibitors landed there seeking to test waters. The aim was to find new customers to replace shrinking sales in the stagnant European economy and to make up for the lost export opportunities brought about by EU's boycott of Russia.
Among the many European exhibitors making their debut in the North American market was Bagutta, the Italian shirt manufacturer. According to Ivan Demartis, the company's Retail/Export Co-ordinator due to the current economic trends, they are now more focused on international fairs and events. While, in Italy at least, the economic situation is getting better, however, it is not expected to be back like before. Therefore, brands are looking at better opportunities in international markets beyond Europe. However, Demartis opine this is something of a challenge because of the variations in taste, one has to present a strong identity, and communicate that identity and the quality of the product.
According to Enrico Colombo, Owner of Printed Artworks, an Italian fabric printer based in Milan, trading conditions are tough now as compared to earlier. Now the market is worldwide, but the quantity of buying has fallen. Besides the slow home market, a number of European exhibitors were also feeling the adverse effects of sales lost due to trade sanctions against Russia. Experts feel the fight with Russia limited their business as Russia had supported and sustained the market for 10 years. And now all that market is lost. Even for established brands the going has been tough to break into newer markets. Mahna Mahna a bag maker from Japan, despite its historic connection with the US, has been finding it t difficult to break back into North America.
Predictably at an event dominated by European brands, the consensus was that consumers value products made in the continent. According to Sarah Zafrani, a Fashion Designer with Paris-based Venera Arapu being made in Europe is definitely seen as a guarantee of higher standard. One has also seen a polarisation in US tastes in both the formal and informal sectors. While the Americans like sportswear there is also demand for high-end, dressy clothes. Even though sportswear is still a strong force in the US, there is some suggestion that Americans are starting to feel the need to smarten up. There has been a transition towards 'Athleisure' with sneakers and sport pants.