Our 2005 OIA Rendezvous coverage continues with summaries of three of the 12 seminars, each taken from our reporters' notebooks. This week, we focus on the inimitable Haysun Hahn, director of Futuremode, and her takes on fashion and color trends for 2007, as well as well as coverage of a super seminar on the supply chain and coverage of a panel talking about getting youth active.
Lifestyle, Fashion & Color Trends for Spring/Summer '07
Haysun Hahn, Futuremode, director
When you sit down to a Haysun Hahn presentation, be prepared to get a macro worldview of lifestyle trends. By looking at the big picture that surrounds you, hopefully you'll be able to glean data that will fit into your small part of the planet.
Presently, the ruler of the market is the entertainment industry with a firm grip on licensing, which is influencing distribution and dollars. Designer brands have become mass market and it doesn't matter to consumers if what they're wearing or using is fake or not. The new world orders are style vs. status. An example of the style order is Isaac Mizrahi's brand at Target, while the status order includes brands like Chanel and Coach.
Hahn said people break into three groups: the "haves," the "pretending to haves" and the "have nots." Haves are spending the money and will buy technical fashion. They are the new ruling class who will support high-end designers (Pucci, Chanel, Hermes). The pretending to haves are into escapism and iconic images. This working class participates in larger trends using brands like J. Crew, Target and Ann Taylor as their vehicles. The have nots are surviving to make do, a fringe class where the basics are important to them (think Wal-Mart).
Other tidbits captured:
>> Customization is the future. People are willing to pay for it.
>> Boutiques, crafts and things made by human hands will be valuable.
>> Modern is directional. Ethnic is romantic. Traditional/classic is uniform.
>> Worship of celebrity rules fashion. TV invades values.
Colors for the spring/summer 2007 season include nature-oriented golf green, muckish orange, brown gold (a base neutral color that works with shocking colors) and a greenish teal/sky bluish mix. Hahn said orange will be around for a long time, adding that it is a "sexy, promiscuous color." She pointed to Futuremode's Summer Breeze palette as being very American and ideal for the outdoor industry. It's an update on the "retro" colors and has a lot of greens (four different shades ranging from light grass to forest), sky blue, lavender, plum/brown and cream. White is considered the new base color and is everywhere.
From Dell to Zara: Fast, Lean & Flexible Retail Supply Chain
John Thorbeck, SupplyChainge, CEO
The supply chain of design, manufacture and delivery is based on old world practices that aren't living up to present day needs. John Thorbeck is trying to change the mindset in the softgoods supply chain to catch up with the 21st century -- consumers "pulling" product out the door -- rather than continue with an outdated 20th century model -- manufacturers "pushing" product out the door.
Traditionally, order-to-delivery lead times take 112 to 120 days, which puts the industry behind the eight ball if they make incorrect inventory decisions resulting in markdowns. Thorbeck said Zara, a clothing manufacturer and retailer based in Spain, brings home what the future of the outdoor industry is. Using Lead Time Optimization (LTO), Thorbeck said that most softgoods manufacturers are capable of quick response --10 to 14 days sans sea transit -- if they commit to capacity and raw materials well ahead of production.
Although there is a wariness to committing to contracts and expenses related to unused materials, the infrequent out-of-pocket losses due to extra materials are much less costly than the far greater losses due to markdowns and stockouts at the other end of the supply chain. Thorbeck said by using this "postponement" system, the dollars at risk are a fraction of the old model. Supply flexibility is the remedy for demand risk.
The benefits of LTO are an improved forecast, more full-price sales, hedged risks in raw materials and lower working capital. Thorbeck said profits will increase 50 percent to 100 percent by ensuring the product mix demanded is the product mix supplied. The order-to-delivery is top of mind by companies as it is now being recognized as the largest profit opportunity in the business, he added.
One notable caveat brought up by an audience member is hardgoods production. It's easy to have multiple sewing machines for apparel, but some equipment production is limited by the number of manufacturing machines available and time to make each product.
Panel: Real Insights of Getting Youth Active
John Mead, Adventure 16 Donate-a-Pack Foundation, president
Jenn Davis, Burton Chill Program, director
Leslie Bohm, Safe Routes to School Initiative/Bikes Belong, board member
Sponsored by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, the panel tied into OIF's recently launched Get Youth Active initiative aimed at growing participation in active outdoor recreation among young Americans. The majority of the session was devoted to panelists describing their programs and how they work to get kids active and interested in various forms of recreation.
>> Adventure 16 Donate-a-Pack Foundation: Started eight years ago, the program serves as the conduit for donated gear to non-profit organizations, many of which serve disadvantaged youth, throughout Southern California. Its ultimate goal is to help young people learn outdoor skills and foster an appreciation for the natural environment.
>> Burton Chill Program: The ultimate goal of the program isn't to get more snowboarders into the sport, but build self-esteem in disadvantaged youths. Kids from 14 different cities are outfitted with snowboard clothing and equipment and transported to local mountains over six weekends to learn how to snowboard. In its 10th year, more than 10,000 kids have participated in the program.
>> Safe Routes to School/Bikes Belong: With half of all personal travel trips under three miles, the national program promotes kids walking or riding their bikes to school to reduce obesity among children as well as minimize traffic jams around schools. The CDC reports that 13 percent of children today walk or bike to school opposed to 66 percent in 1970.
Why are programs like these important? Stats show that 90 percent of adults involved in sports and outdoor recreation became active as kids because they were introduced to these activities by somebody they trusted. That momentum needs to continue. The Department of Health recommends 60 minutes of activity a day for kids, but only 28 percent of 9th to 12th graders participate in P.E., and 42 percent don't do any sports at all. With a 200 percent increase in obesity, two out of 10 youths are considered clinically obese.