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Fashion Connect Report 2021

Supported by Avalara and Remarkable Commerce

Summary

The last 12 months have not been particularly good for those selling clothing and footwear, in particular those specialising in formalwear, occasionwear, smart shoes, and traditional office attire.

Although there are some exceptions to the trend towards sluggish fashion sales, notably from purveyors of slippers, casualwear, and sport and fitness clothing as the coronavirus pandemic influenced new social norms, online fashion retail experienced a total sales rise of just 1% year on year in 2020.

To put it into context, the home, garden, electricals, and gifting sectors reported high double digital online growth during that time, but the enforced lockdowns around the UK discouraged discretionary sartorial spend. With fashion deemed “non-essential” by the UK government, retailers in this space saw their year heavily disrupted by enforced shop closures – and while this scenario drove people online in other categories, fashion’s digital fillip was subdued.

IMRG holds Fashion Connect annually, assessing the state of the industry and highlighting good practice within it. There’s an argument this year’s event – which took place virtually between 9-11 February and ran in association with headline sponsors, Avalara and Remarkable Commerce – was needed more than ever.

This report picks out the highlights from the three-day conference, including key talking points from senior retail representatives from Ted Baker, The White Company, and White Stuff.

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