PARIS — Fashion has lost its meaning. That’s the prognosis of Eric Duchamp, global chief executive officer of leading forecasting agency Peclers Paris, who on Thursday will host a conference geared at identifying — during stagnant times for the industry, and a banalization of offer — the crucial “strategic levers” brands need to activate to boost performance in the years to come.
Titled “La mode doit gagner la bataille du sens,” or in English, “Fashion Must Make Sense Again,” the Future of Fashion conference will take place at Paris restaurant Noto.
The Peclers Paris team will present future insights and some of the key macro trends that they believe will impact brands and consumers in the next five years, based on findings of a market study around brand perception conducted by Kantar TNS, as well as a range of “strategic levers” identified by the Peclers Paris team that brands need to activate to boost performance in the years to come.
Conducted online between May and June of this year, the study involved a panel of 2010 consumers aged from 16 to 60, with a 50-50 breakdown of men and women, and covered their perception of 25 brands for the women and 22 brands for the men, spanning low-cost, mid-cost, casual and pure players.
Describing it as a do-or-die situation for fashion brands, the overall aim, said Duchamp during an interview at the firm’s headquarters in the run-up to the event, is “to take a stand, in a context when the fashion business is not doing so well and say what we think could help.”
With French consumers allocating on average 3.8 percent of their budget to clothing versus 7.6 percent in 1980, and 42 percent of product sold shifted during promotional periods, “there is a clear crisis around fashion and serious challenges for fashion brands and retailers that we wanted to address. Many brands are at risk of disappearing if they do not find a way to stand out,” he said.
“There is so much untapped territory in terms of brand building,” added Duchamp. “I was chatting recently with the ceo of a big French fashion brand and he said to me, ‘The battle of pricing is lost.’ I would say that the battle of fast fashion is lost; the battle of the basics and essentials is lost. So many brands are stuck between the [fast-fashion giants] of the world, and when it comes to fast fashion, nobody will beat Zara. They are super-sophisticated, and have such a critical mass. Then as far as basics go, Uniqlo is doing a great job, and on top of that it’s an enjoyable shopping experience.”
For Aude Legré, head of global brand strategy, who will also speak at the event, it’s about “story experiencing” and not just storytelling. “It’s really about how you create surprise and how you use your brand to create this story experiencing that will push the emotion forward. Brands need to take more risks,” she said.
Founded in 1970 by Dominique Peclers, the Paris-based agency today counts offices in 15 countries including the U.S., China, South Korea and Japan, and specializes in the fashion, beauty, home and consumer trends sectors.
Around 35 percent of the agency’s business is based on “one-fits-all” trade publications, according to Duchamp, and 65 percent customized services. Clients include Fast Retailing, Nike, Lacoste, Zara, H&M, L’Oréal, Google, Séphora, Target, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. The Peclers Paris Future of Fashion conference is expected to travel to other countries, including the U.S., over the coming months, Duchamp said.