When a new fashion brand emerges, there is a TON at stake for the company! The competition out there is fierce and they need to constantly be thinking ahead in order to make it big and not go under. Retail is a tricky realm to enter and if you do not have a supportive team, an outstanding product and funding to keep you going, it can lead you down a rocky path.
The saying goes, “nine out of every ten start-ups fail,” which means that most businesses don't make it past the early stages. However, when a fashion brand emerges and makes it past the first few years, becoming a stable entity, it’s safe to say that we assume they will be sticking around for a while. Take everything one step further and look at widely known fashion brands with stores all over the world, we see them as powerful, but we don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes.
In many cases the economy has taken a toll on brands or they simply aren't causing the buzz with their customers as they had in the past. Each situation has its own specific reasoning and it all boils down to the brands “staying ability”. Can they make it through the hard time without crumbling?
In the retail arena, there are just so many competitors that brands need to know their market in and out and continuously serve them. Just like rock stars have fans, fashion brands have customers, and one does not exist without the other.
5 J.C. Penney
I’m sure we all have childhood memories of growing up and going back to school or holiday shopping at J.C. Penney, as it was the go-to place for mid-range price point clothing “back in the day.” In addition, you better bet that you were opening your mailbox to find the gigantic catalog sent from J.C. Penney a couple times a year, because they were one of the only department stores that kept that part of their business going while competitors such as Sears stopped doing it.
The decline in this business started about four years ago when they lost sight of their target demographic. Instead of appealing to their mid-price point yearning clientele, they decided that it was time to up the anty—poor choice. Their new price point was much higher than before and made it impossible for their loyal customers to carry on with them. While they have been doing their best to integrate outside established stores such as Sephora inside their department stores, sales have been steadily declining.
In an effort to put themselves back on the map, they have been closing stores and cutting jobs left and right. I guess we will have to wait and see how long this fashion retailer can hang on.
4 American Apparel
The brand that is known for pretty much everything in their store being tight and tiny, American Apparel has been faced with some major challenges ahead of them. Though they have jumped on the adoring bandwagon of only producing clothing here in America, they have been seeing a huge decline in sales and dealing with ongoing debt. At the beginning of 2014, they brought on a team of people to advise them in restructuring the company to make it stronger. As soon as that announcement went public, their stock dropped 32%.
With their trusted advisers by their sides, hopefully American Apparel can bring itself back to life and restore what they originally set out to do, and their beloved customers will certainly follow.
3 Abercrombie & Fitch
Another brand that is reminiscent of childhood, as it was “all the rage” for preteens and teens during the 1990’s is Abercrombie & Fitch. They even had brands form from under their company umbrella: Abercrombie Kids, Hollister and Gilly Hicks. The company was founded in 1893 and originally started as a luxury sporting goods business and then eventually re-shifted their focus and re-launched with a new target market (ages 18-22), and they were hot, hot, hot!
So what happened to Abercrombie & Fitch? Other than the brand being very over-priced, and that parents were paying for their teenagers clothing, this was the first bad sign. In addition, their demographic has changed. For a long time, teens felt the need to fit in and look like everyone else, and Abercrombie & Fitch came to their rescue. However, teens today want to be recognized as unique individuals, not fit into a cookie cutter mold.
With sales declining steadily, it’s safe to say that we soon may be free of these over-perfumed stores with under-dressed models hanging everywhere. It also doesn't help that online websites have voted this brand “the most hated company in America.” Abercrombie & Fitch better change their act or the teens won't be coming back!
2 Yohji Yamamoto
Both rebellious and intriguing, Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto has made his mark on the fashion industry in a very big way. He brought very many innovative styles that inspired people to think forward when it came to choosing clothing and have fun with it. While currently, he has no intentions to ever stop designing, even into an elderly age, in 2010 Yohji Yamamoto was forced to file for bankruptcy in Japan.
Thankfully, the company Integral Corp took it over and is managing the business end so that this wonderful designer has free reign over creativity and making his beautiful designs come to life. When interviewed recently by WWD, Mr. Yamamoto affirmed that the state of his company is in much better standing, and feels that everything is in a good place.
Moving forward, Yohji Yamamoto would like to help pave the way for up and coming designers. He recently stated, "in the Japanese market, department stores, they don’t give young designers space, and the specialty stores, they don’t buy young designers’ merchandise. Naturally, young designers don't have space to sell in the world, so they cannot grow up. [Even when they get orders] they cannot get paid. They have no power to push [retailers] to pay back, so young designers have to have sort of a selling machine, a system. Sometimes I think to myself, Maybe [my company] can help young designers by using this company’s machine system, logistics and power.”
1 French Connection
International brand, French Connection has always been widely recognized for their trendy attire and FCUK logo that they scantily branded on everything. For the past few years, their stock has been steadily declining, forcing worry on French Connection loyal customers and even more fear into the company owners.
In an effort to get back to their “glory days” when pieces were flying off the shelves, they closed down stores that were underperforming and put effort into revamping the successful stores with fresh designs. In addition, a new design team was hired to oversee different departments and create memorable pieces in their market.
Stephen Marks, the company's Chief Executive and Chairman declared, “We have a very good history in terms of what we do, and we want to build on that."