How will seasonality affect product lifecycle in the fashion industry
Fashion is a way of expressing oneself, it can be a lifestyle, image or even art. Work wear is worn for protection, out of practicality or to stand out from the crowd.
All the reasons as to why we dress the way we do have one thing in common; they are all under influence of the seasons and trends, to some extent. Work wear is less affected by trends and seasonality as compared to a High Street Fashion, but they definitely are all influenced by it. Just take a look at the old photo albums and you will be amazed about the differences between how we dressed back then and how we dress now.
There are a number of aspects that influence the the product lifecycle in the fashion industry and thus, how we dress.
As a result of globalization we see that brands are expanding their playing field and almost all of today’s brands are sold in more than one region or country. In practice this means that a brand sells coats in the France, in Sweden and outside of Europe. But the fact that the winter season in Sweden is much colder and starts 6 weeks earlier than in France, has an impact on range planning, stock planning and replenishment cycles.
As a result of climate changes, seasons are becoming less predictable each year and it becomes harder to align fashion industry's specific processes to match the market demand. And, funnily enough it looks as if fashion itself is also confused about seasons, for example, is it not common nowadays to see women and men wearing short pants, typical summer attire, in some stages of winter? And flowery fabrics being used to make winter pants?
Another aspect that influences the way we dress is the climate control systems in almost all buildings, cars and stores. Due to this, it is not necessary to wear warm sweaters to work when the heating is on the entire day.
On the other hand, we hardly have time to consume fashion collections as they are replaced by others rapidly. Retail chains like Zara deliver new trends in the stores more than once per month. So, can we speak about a collection or is it a continuous stream of new products?
A trend that conflicts with all the above is the focus on sustainability. There are brands in the market with an ongoing collection of pretty and timeless clothing that is being produced in sustainable circumstances and is not as subjective to trends and seasons as “fast fashion”.
With all Social Media and applications such as Instagram, consumers are inspired by more than just fancy magazines like Vogue. Therefore, consumers are also inspired by other consumers and trends are being born on the street.
Al these different situations increase the challenges fashion businesses are facing and make it even more important to having control over the product’s lifecycle. Although, we still have the process from idea, design and arrival in the store to ending in the shopping cart, having more seasons complicates things. Therefore, controlling the fashion product lifecycle is more and more important as it is not just driven by season.