A summer ago, a good friend of mine who works for a well known fashion label in Europe came back to Australia for Christmas. Over beers and burgers he lamented the challenges facing the Australian fashion industry. The song he sung was familiar: Australian fashion, while innovative and risk taking, suffers from the tyranny of distance (i.e. our position in the Southern hemisphere). Fashion retailers buy according to seasons and this means the delivery of clothes from designer labels based in the northern hemisphere, notably the US and Europe, are often delayed in Australian stores by up to six months. This means that, in fashion terms, Australia is perpetually a season behind. However, a recent article in Inside Retail challenges this assumption:
According to the fashion boss of one of Australia’s largest retailers, entrenched notions of fashion collections are changing as women become more flippant with their wardrobes. Nicole Naccarella, GM of womenswear at Myer, says the department store is now stocking both winter and summer seasons at the same time as shoppers change their habits.
International online shopping sites, such as Net-A-Porter and Asos, are making it easier for Australians to buy trends now rather than wait for delayed bricks and mortar collections. Online media and the expansion of international fast fashion labels has also made Australian consumers more aware of what’s trending on the other side of the world.
This trend has been percolating for a while, thanks not only to online retailers, but also fashion and street style blogs that expose global audiences to trends in real time. As a result, global retail fashion is just-in-time and trans-seasonal. Australian fashion has been moving toward carousel seasons for a while now. What’s different is that Australian retailers have noticed and are beginning to stock clothing in line with customer demand. And, that’s not a bad thing!