Wholesale Apparel, long considered the bottom of the barrel by fashion gurus everywhere, is finally getting the respect it deserves. With more and more buyers and consumers tightening their belts these days, the smart dealers are turning towards wholesale apparel for savings that can’t be found in couture or runway shows.
With the surge of online shopping becoming the rule rather than the exception, there are opportunities opening up in a variety of areas that were previously quite inaccessible to most dealers, simply because consumers weren’t willing to accept wholesale apparel as an alternative to retail brands.
When asked about the changes, those in the industry are shy to admit the rise of unknown brands in the general mix of things. However, some of the most cutting-edge designers and fashion experts are also quick to point out that fashion’s evolution is a direct expression of society, which is giving the industry a sort of “mixed bag” approach that suddenly makes room for new labels and new players in the market to introduce their lines, one garment at a time.
Another winner in the recent battle for market share has been the low-profile consignment shop, which has traditionally been a rare animal in an industry that thrives on consumers buying new items, and discarding their slightly worn ones, never to look back at them again.
Nowadays, everything from Chanel to Oscar de la Renta can be found in these shops, and usually with ready to wear being the theme.
Because of value consciousness in the consumer population, hoppers are looking to recycle their old wardrobes, or perhaps save a little extra money on designer jeans and even shoes, while still getting the service and quality of a chic boutique.
When asked which brands and labels sell the best in consignment shops, many store owners replied with the same kind of answer. Names like Chanel, Hermés, Louis Vuitton, and Stella McCartney consistently come up in conversation, along with the acknowledgment that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Since most customers come to the shops looking for the same fashion they see in copies of Vogue, or other fashion magazines, the yardstick test is an easy one for shop keepers and online sellers who want to make their inventories match what anyone can see while browsing their stock.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, much of the items sold on consignment are brought to the shop keepers directly from the fashion industry. Some of these can be startling, to say the least, when customers see them priced for a fraction of what they were originally marked.
The demographic for the Wholesale Apparel industry’s customer base is as broad as the selections found in the shops. People who shop at Neiman Marcus, Hermés, and Louis Vuitton are likely to drop in on the consignment shops for a look, as well as those who would like to shop there, but can’t afford luxury goods direct from the retail source.