It’s hardly surprising that in today’s era of reinvention, everyone’s an expert. I get dozens of emails daily from PR companies pitching “authorities” who, for free press, will happily pontificate on every conceivable aspect of the business. The problem, of course, is that in our fast-changing retail universe, no expert or rule book can tell us how best to buy, present, advertise, sell, markdown and ultimately get rid of the excessive amount of goods our industry still produces. (May I suggest Delivering Good and Soles for Souls, two wonderful non-profits that help the less fortunate?)
I love what Simon Graj from Graj & Gustavsen advises in this issue about reinventing your brand: “It’s not about learning the ‘right’ approach to brand-building; it’s now about observing, listening and acting on intuition. People are no longer buying ‘stuff;’ they’re not listening to marketing messages promoting things they don’t need. They’re looking for solutions, for products and experiences that enhance their lives. If you’re authentic, it’s a good time to be in this business. If you’re just selling stuff, it’s not….”
In this, MR’s Reinvention Issue, we examine the reinvention process from many perspectives: department store, specialty store, real estate, retail technology, social media, tailored clothing, luxury streetwear, accessories and more.
Our department store case study is Macy’s. In an era when small is the new big and artisanal trumps mass produced, it’s amazing how seamlessly this retail giant has incorporated the current zeitgeist into a reinvented business model. Read how Macy’s president Hal Lawton and top menswear merchant Mark Stocker are investing in the future, making numerous changes that include adding exclusive product, in-store shops for unique fast-turning items, new technology including virtual and augmented reality and a distorted penetration of men’s fashion with new adjacencies to connect sportswear and tailored clothing. (It’s unfortunate that Wall Street appears not to appreciate intelligent investments in the future that, of course, affect current margins but are already boosting sales.)
Our specialty store focus is The Phluid Project, an inclusive approach to gender neutral fashion and community; our non-fashion close-up is WeWork, a phenomenon that reminds us how quickly a simple idea can change our world.
Check out our in-depth analysis of tailored clothing (an admittedly tough business in today’s casual era but fabric innovation, made-to-measure and replenishment programs are boosting sales for many) and luxury streetwear, which has quickly grown from a niche underground category to a mainstream industry. (But once mainstream, is it still cool? Read our feature and find out!)
Also in this reinvented (and redesigned) MR: a lot more of Stephen Garner’s fabulous fashion, Cristiano Magni’s Florence (where to eat/drink/shop/stay while at Pitti Uomo), Nick Hilton’s poignant essay on fixing a family rift, industry execs on personal reinvention and much more.
Please let us know what you like, hate, want to read next, etc. Although our look has changed, our mission remains to educate, entertain and inspire; we can’t do it without your wisdom, experience and ideas!
And speaking of such, I conclude with another Mark Twain quote that epitomizes what so many of us believe in our gut but have yet to act upon: “Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”