Why the Emerging Designer Market Is Thriving and How to Leverage It Today

Attico, Outdoor Voices, Markarian… we can’t seem to ready any industry-related news lately without the mention of one or a few hot emerging brands. Why? Our over-saturated industry has realized emerging designers are the way to go. Consumers look to you for fresh new looks, retailers love that you have something special to offer and the fashion media have been dazzled by your designs.

Before about five years ago, there were so many less emerging brands on the market. Difficult barriers to entry like finding high-quality suppliers and manufacturers willing to work with smaller quantities and extremely high start-up costs were some of the most common deterrents to launching independent labels. But today’s story looks very different- you have more resources available than ever before, Maker’s Row included. Online and offline resources abound and its easier than ever to become part of a tight-knit, global creator community for support in everything from manufacturing and supply chain recommendations to managing day-to-day life as small business owners.

Shoppers have made their concerns heard and department stores are feeling the crunch. Seeing a sea of similar, “safe” styles and the same brands stocked from store to store just isn’t what savvy spenders are looking for anymore. They want to stand out and celebrate their individuality as groups like Millennials and Gen Z spend more time than ever on travel, dining, and other experiences. Instagram has also become so integral to our lives, that the hot items from top brands sometimes lose their appeal as they’re seen on countless influencers, industry insiders and other fashion fans over and over in our feeds.

So in comes the emerging designer with standout designs, authentic communities, and stories that really resonate with shoppers, including those based on sustainability, transparency, and social causes. What’s more, with emerging brands, shoppers have the opportunity to wear what few or none of their friends have had the chance to discover.

Are you taking full advantage of this emerging designer movement? Here are three steps to boost your efforts…

Be Memorable

Heed advice from Topshop’s U.S. Product & Trend Manager, Melissa Helwig. She says to “have a point of difference and showcase emotional product”. What makes your designs stand out from those of your competitors? What is it about your product that resonates with your target market and makes them feel as if they just “have to have it”?

Harness the Power of Social Media

Take a long hard look at your social media presence. Are you on the platforms where your customers are? Remember you don’t need to be everywhere- just choose a few of the ones that are totally on brand for your business and update them regularly with value-filled content and fresh imagery while maintaining truly interested two-way communication with those who engage. In fact, Field Trip Owner Kara Green says that when it comes to products by emerging brands, “the item will usually sell better if the designer has a strong social media presence”.

Develop an Intentional Distribution Strategy

If you’re not building your business around a strictly direct-to-consumer sales strategy, make like brands including Staud and Halpern by choosing your retail accounts slowly and intentionally. Think quality over quantity. It’s better to be in a few of the right stores than to be sold everywhere for the sake of having more points of sale.

Read Scaling Retail’s latest whitepaper, “The Age of the Emerging Designer”, for more actionable insights, suggested strategies and valuable resources from top professionals across the industry. Looking for support to scale up or launch your fashion brand? Contact the agency
for personalized consultation services.

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