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Fashion designers hit by coronavirus outbreak

Mon 16 Mar

Around the world, less established designers, who rely almost entirely on wholesale partners for revenue, face an uncertain future.

Many retailers have contracts — particularly with young or independent designers whose collections are seen as riskier bets — that allow them to refuse payment if orders do not arrive within a 30-day period. Some may still accept the goods, but only on a consignment basis, or seek discounts.

This is creating a cash crisis for young designers, many of whom have just splashed out £80,000 or more on a fashion show, and must pay factories to produce both their pre-autumn ranges and the autumn/winter 2020 collections they have just shown at fashion week.

They also have payments due on the samples they are planning to show in June. Some factories, “afraid that the young talent has overspent on their fashion show” and that orders are down, are asking for higher deposits, to the tune of 50 per cent, according to Stefano Martinetto, chief executive of Tomorrow London, which provides advisory, investment, manufacturing and showrooming services to emerging designer brands.