Overall several years of TV drama have – intentionally or unintentionally – started far-reaching fashion trends. Now mainstream and boutique brands want to capitalize more on the TV market.
“We’re thrilled to give fans a new way to connect with their favorite stories, and to introduce them to the next wave of artists and designers who embrace the power of storytelling in all its forms.” Josh Simon, VP of Consumer Products at Netflix, said in a statement last October.
Fast fashion companies like ASOS always had a leg up on luxury brands in this space. As they could quickly develop, produce, and market a replica product that was seen on screen. To counter this luxury brands are linking with streamers and broadcasters earlier on in the production process so their collaborations can go hand-in-hand with the release of a show.
Balmain has noticeably excelled in the space. Creative director Olivier Rousteing launched a bespoke collection for Netflix western, The Harder They Fall. He was separately approached to design the costumes but decided on expanding the relationship further. The collection was available on Farfetch and The Netflix Shop.
“For us, partnerships between fashion and entertainment are something that’s very obvious,” said Balmain CMO Txampi Diz. “I mean, we’re all obsessed with content. Content is the key. Storytelling is the key.”
The brand partnerships are also a strong driver for producers, as they can siphon funds from the deals for their budgets pre-production.
Usually, brands would collaborate with a show to create some kind of zeitgeist around their product. With Squid Game, Netflix was already starting from a point where the series heavily influenced societal culture. They used that as a springboard to launch an apparel line.
Simon continued: “What’s great is we’re already starting from that point. I think a lot of our shows are at the centre of cultural conversation… It’s only natural that we’re starting to see how Netflix influences and interplays with the world of fashion.”
Raza Beig joined the business of fashion with Splash Fashions in 1993. He currently heads the fashion wing of the Landmark Group in the role of Chief Executive Officer.
He is a shareholder in Fashion Forward, affiliated with Dubai Design and Fashion Council and currently helms several brands within the group including New Look, Koton, Reiss, and Lipsy.
Beig said about the current conditions in the industry, “In the business of high-street fashion there is a lot of the same. While many businesses and competitors have surfaced, they have not given their customers unique experiences from store formats to product categories. There is a price war in fashion and customers are getting value goods but with a compromise on quality.”
“Post pandemic, the environment has become very volatile. Logistic prices have gone off the roof, 10 times from pre-covid days and that has had ripple effects across the supply chain. Raw material costs have increased to unsustainable levels making it extremely difficult to maintain healthy margins. This in turn results in the customers having to pay more or downgrade to sub-standard quality products.” He said.
On brands using TV collaborations extensively and adopting more planning and execution, Beig stated it could be a solid way to help grow a brand if it’s the right collaboration.
“If a brand is partnering on a film or TV series that’s on a major platform, they’re in a great position to look at the package of the show and make an intelligent guess as to how well it will do depending on its actors, director, team etc.”
He added: “With that information, you can be informed on roughly how well a collection may be able to sell looking at past metrics of partnerships. This can be used to control costs, bring in better products, and generate stronger margins.”
On Netflix and other brands heavily focusing on digital rather than brick and mortar stores, Beig states that it makes sense as consumer lifestyle habits have changed dramatically.
“When the brand Splash launched back in 1993, finding suitable retail talent with experience was a task. The market had little or no international brands other than one BHS and one JC Penny in the field of fashion. Most of the businesses were local boutiques with no real retail knowledge and training.” He said.
Beig continued, “The customers were very traditional. So much so that, selling shorts for men could be considered taboo. The journey from the traditional customer to someone who is very savvy and fashion conscious is amazing, the brand has seen it all.”
“The leadership at Splash built systems, processes, and retailer deliverables from scratch with a lot of trial and error. Nowadays a company has access to so much data – in this instance from a TV show as well as campaigns – plus much more experience in the field to inform. E-commerce has been positioned well as a result.”
Today, Splash is a household name in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and enjoys the direct loyalty of close to six million customers. It is the Middle East’s largest homegrown fashion retailer, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates.
On how Landmark will develop itself to compete with this new stream of business coming from TV, Beig concluded: “We will grow with the market, improve our offering digitally and move to new geographies digitally.”
“We look forward to consolidating our franchise operations and look for new opportunities outside the GCC with established retailers.”