As we know, the fashion industry has been decimated by Covid- 19. Brands at every price point are desperate to shift unsold stock resulting in alluring discounts on websites from High Street to High End. Fashion has been one of the hardest hit sectors of retail, confirms retail consultant Richard Hyman.
“Some lucky brands have been able to fall back on their websites to shift some stock but others have had to simply sit and wait,” he says. ‘‘This means there is a mountain of unsold stock that needs converting into cash.”
Hyman believes that “a few really strong players” might be able to put some stock aside for next year but the rest “will resort to discounting. While price promotions may have been commonplace before, we are about to see an almost permanent Black Friday once stores begin to open in a few days.”
Websites such as Net-a-Porter’s sister site, The Outnet (www.theoutnet.com) and Matches (matchesfashion.com) already have reductions of up to 70 per cent off some merchandise; MyTheresa (www.MyTheresa.com) has many items reduced by 40 per cent while retailers such as M&S, John Lewis, Debenhams and Boden are already offering between 20 per cent and 70 per cent off many summer lines on their websites.
And these are not the usual summer sale mix of overbuys, old stock, mistakes, misfits and weird colours. Most are current lines which would, in normal times, have sold out.
And, as Hyman says, the online deals will be matched by mark-downs in the shops when they reopen— some as early as Monday.
But with many holiday plans in ruins, is even a crystal-embellished Emilio Pucci swimsuit at half-price (The Outnet) actually a bargain if we can’t flaunt it at the pool?
Thus, as we ease out of lockdown, we may wonder if we should give in to temptation at all. And, if so, what should we buy now that it’s already mid-June?
And if we decide to (and can afford to) spend, how will our wardrobe benefit most?
Should we stock up on basics or investment pieces? Or should we splash out on some fabulously extravagant piece like a black, stud-embellished Burberry trench coat (at Matches) reduced by 60 per cent from a jaw-dropping £5,900 to a still exorbitant £1,770?
Obviously we want to be confident our “bargain” will still be on-trend once we have a chance to wear it. Let me reassure you — at least slightly. While obsolescence after a single season would definitely have once been a problem, it is far less of one in our new “post-trend” world.
The fashion industry would, naturally, have preferred things to continue as before, hopping from trend to trend.But brands can no longer dictate, especially with a recession on the horizon.
The result is that now almost anything goes: trousers can be wide or skinny, ankle-grazing or overlong; skirts can be flared or pencil; dresses can be midi, mini, maxi, or knee-length; necklines can be V, scoop, boat or Bardot. And in colours and prints, too, the options for 2021 will be as numerous as they are in 2020 and include: floral, animal, geometric and abstract prints; most jewel-tones and mid-tone pastel as well as most neutrals (especially any beige variant plus black-and-white, worn singly or as a monochrome mix).
Providing you style cleverly, almost anything you buy now will look as perfectly on-trend next summer as it would look now.
Summer designer pieces with indisputable wardrobe longevity include a leopard-print silk shirt by Israeli designer Nili Lotan now half-price (£340) at Matches; a sleek cotton-silk blazer in caramel by Victoria Beckham with 70 per cent off (now £418) at the Outnet; and a black cotton blazer by Gabriela Hearst, 40 per cent off, (now £594) at MyTeresa.
There are more down-to-earth bargains, too: Boden has reductions of 30, 50 and even 70 per cent across many summer womenswear lines, found in a vastly expanded clearance section. M&S online is offering 20 per cent off most summer lines including midi and maxi dresses and sandals. Look out for their two-bar flatform sandal (now £18). M&S also has 50 per cent off some lines in daily “flash sales.”
There is 30 per cent off many summer footwear styles at Dune; Jigsaw is offering 25 per cent off summer stock using the code “Treat25;”and Hobbs has 25 per cent off clothing and 30 per cent off shoes. John Lewis has tempting deals, too, including 20 per cent off swimsuits, bikinis and tankinis and 30 per cent off popular brands of handbags.
Designer sites can produce a rich harvest, too, with reductions on many current styles of 30 per cent off at By Malene Berger;25 per cent at Kitri and 30 per cent at Essentiel Antwerp.
Also, the effects of this pandemic began to bite in winter, so there are some worthwhile discounts on coats, boots, jackets, and dresses from autumn designer collections at sites such as Matches and MyTheresa.
MyTheresa discounts include a black (or white) Balmain wool-blend coat and sublimely glamorous caramel wool coat by Chloe though even with 40 per cent off they are still a heart-stopping £1,725 and £1,566.
Those seeking to stock up on cashmere will find up to 50 per cent off at Boden, 50-60 per cent off at Crumpet and 40 per cent at Pure (purecollection.com).
Aliza Reger, owner and CEO at Janet Reger, says this is a great time to stock up on lingerie. But, she adds: “Do your homework… It’s only a bargain if you would have paid full price.”
So — good luck!