I feel like all I have done for the past few weeks is eat, sleep and breathe pre-collection. If I’m not ogling Georgia Jagger at Chanel Cruise in St Tropez, I’m getting to grips with Phoebe Philo’s year-round furs for Celine or lusting after the just-dropped pre-fall collections in stores and online. Pre-collections have been around for donkey’s years but only recently has there been all the hoopla more usually associated with ready-to-wear. So why all the fuss now? I brought this up with Luisa de Paula, buying director of My-wardrobe.com who shed light on the matter. What I learnt…
ONLINE FASHION RETAIL HAS BOOSTED DEMAND FOR ‘PRE’
The immediacy of online has fuelled a buy-right-now culture. The ‘new in’ section of any etail site is always busiest because that type of customer wants the most up-to-date fashion. The appeal of ‘pre’ for buyers is it fills a gap between spring-summer and autumn-winter or autumn-winter and spring-summer. While most of us are still shopping the sales, the ‘buy-right-now’ customer is craving newness and shopping pre-fall or Cruise. Pre-collections ensure that ‘new in’ never stops delivering.
PRE-COLLECTIONS HAVE A BIGGER SELLING WINDOW SO BUYERS LOVE IT
Due to timings, pre-collections are on the shop floor for longer that RTW collections. This gives them a nice long stretch of about 6 months before the mark-downs begin. Buyers therefore make more money on full-priced pre-collections. “Pre-collections are a must and we want more of them, because it gives you longer to sell it,’ says de Paula. “Otherwise it’s a race to sell it before it goes into sale.”
CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS PRE-COLLECTION NOW HAS A DIFFERENT PURPOSE
In the past, the Resort and Cruise collections were so-called because they were aimed at jet-set customers travelling to warmer climes for the winter months and mostly consisted of beachwear and cocktail dresses. Now with a climate that has less-defined seasons, the purpose of ‘pre’ has changed. It’s become more about seasonless dressing, wearability, layering and understated pieces and less about trend-led statement-makers.
FASHION INFLUENCERS LIKE PRE BECAUSE IT’S NOT OBVIOUS
The trouble with ‘it’ pieces from RTW collections is they quickly become over-exposed. Do you really want those Prada chandelier shoes when they’ve been on every B-lister’s feet and copied by Primark, Peacocks and Dorothy Perkins? Wouldn’t you rather have a less identifiable piece from a smaller collection? Apparently ‘yes’ say the early-adopters.
EASY-TO-LAYER PIECES ARE THE SUCCESS STORIES OF PRE-COLLECTIONS
Luisa de Paula raves about Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania line, a consistent best-seller of My-wardrobe’s pre-collections. DKNY also sells well. Their common quality is jersey – a perfect all-year-round fabric for layering as the temperature requires.
New in from My-wardrobe’s pre-collections:
[Main pic: Celine pre-fall, Style.com]