Man/Woman returned to New York’s Spring Studios with its largest show in New York since the COVID-19 lockdown. The theme among vendors this year was customers wanting to shop less but invest in higher quality. Customers are also thinking more about what pieces to buy that they can mix and match with a variety of things for versatility.
“What we have realized is more people want to wear quality with a lot of different things,” said Latif Arouna, business partner of Spain-based clothing company Walkers Apparel, to FashionUnited. “Customers are buying less, but they want good pieces where every time they wear them, they are complimented, versus buying ten pieces at once and only getting complimented on one of them. People are also thinking more about the usability of products, and the more often they can wear something, the more they are inclined to buy it.”
Buyers are also looking into buying more timeless pieces, which bodes well for classic accessories brands. Italian luxury leather goods brand Il Bisonte is on a very successful rebound since the COVID-19 pandemic. “Buyers and customers are looking at quality, and right now they want more timeless pieces,” said a representative for Il Bisonte to FashionUnited. “For us, we’re seeing the leather goods market doing very well right now. People want pieces that are going to last, and think about how long of a shelf life it will have.”
Some brands have also seen great opportunity since the post-COVID-19 lockdown retail rebound. “Things are slowly getting back to normal for brands after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, whatever normal means,” a representative for Sunray Sportswear said to FashionUnited. “We launched Sunray Sportswear in 2020, but we still managed to grow in 2021. Now, we finally get to meet stores and retailers at the trade shows, and it’s great to be back in person for the first time in two years.”
While brands might need to take a cautiously optimistic approach to growth in the wake of rising inflation, the response to trade shows, like Man/Woman, proves there is hope for the retail sector. Although customers are buying more cautiously and seeking pieces that are easier to mix and match, they are still shopping.