What Fashion E-Commerce Can Learn From Trunk Shows

By Suveen Kumar Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) An interesting look at the world of online fashion in India. What has gone wrong, what has gone right and what the future holds for entrepreneurs in the market.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi

HT’s fashion editor walks his title. He has 32 pairs of shoes in his wardrobe, including one each of Zegna, Ferragamo, and Dior, and at least one pair of red Benetton trousers. So he made a compelling candidate to answer the question: “What is fashion?” That and the fact that his desk is a mere 23 feet away from your columnist’s.

“Fashion,” he said, “is anything that makes you feel good and confident about yourself.” Going by that, our e-commerce companies have got it both right as well as wrong.

There is something called a Trunk Show, which big brands hold in small towns. Typically, they would take up space in a hotel banquet and spread the word. On the day, shoppers would troop into the hall, which must not be so fancy as to be forbidding.

The brands in the Trunk Show can be as rarefied as Gucci, Canali, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Tag Heuer, and Paul Smith.

Internationally, fashion has two seasons of six months each: fall-winter, and spring-summer. On the current season merchandise, the brands seldom give a discount at Trunk Shows. There is something on the previous season’s clothes. Still, Trunk Shows end up being blockbuster sales days.

They are also held in big cities. But as far back as 2011, according to a report in The Economic Times, 18% of the shoppers at a Trunk Show in New Delhi’s DLF Emporio Mall were from the adjoining small towns. In Bangalore’s UB City, a lot of the buyers came from Bellary, a town known more for its mining dust than its main street.

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