24 & 25 JULY 2019 | OLD TRUMAN BREWERY

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25 February 2019

Meet the buyer… Michayla Smith, ASOS



Every season, Jacket Required attracts buyers and visitors from some of the most sought-after retailers in the industry. We sat down with a few of the experts to get their point of view on this season’s trends, their take on the AW19 Jacket Required edition and have a glimpse into the life of a fashion buyer.

Run us through a standard day in the office

I guess it depends on the day. There’s always analysis of daily or weekly sales. On a Monday, you’ll come in and you’ll review what your sales have been for the week before; your top sellers, slow sellers, new brands, new launches, new reactions etc. Daily, you’ll come in and you’ll look at what you’ve set live the day before, how well it’s performed, if there’s anything you need to action and what you can do to improve things. Then for me it’s normally a case of checking emails for anything urgent that needs to be actioned. I’ll spend the morning hitting up suppliers and chasing for orders. Quite often we get lots of outlet deals through, so we’ll be checking through stock lists and seeing what offers there are. You have to be very reactive which is why I’ll check my emails first thing in the morning, to make sure I’m the first one to jump on anything that looks good. Other than that, lots of meetings with the wider team, brand appointments and going out to showrooms to see current collections and to find out what kind of vibe they’re going for in future collections.

What sort of things do you look for when you’re looking for new products or new collections?

It’s always important for any buyer to be looking for something that’s commercial and that’s going to suit your customer, but more importantly for ASOS you’re always looking for something that’s going to pop on site. You always want something that’s going to stand out because you don’t have a store or any kind of visual merchandising, so whilst something could be amazing to touch, really high quality or have an amazing story, that’s not necessarily going to resonate with the customer when they see it on site. Obviously, it does need these things, but you need to find something that customers can buy into before it gets to them.

So, what about trends? Are there any trends that you’re excited about this season?

For me at the moment, I love neon colours. I like a “pop” and neon’s in at the moment – there’s so much orange around at the moment, which you can see here at Jacket Required. I like neon, but I like it in accent colour pops. All your primary colours really. We’re also seeing this in our animal prints this year. That’s been massive as well and is going to continue next year. It’s actually starting to transcend into our activewear as well which is always quite hard to find fabrics, trends and prints for and these have definitely found their place in activewear. If you can style it well and make it look good, then it lends itself so well to online retail as well.

Our talks today are on sustainable fashion – what does that mean to you?

To me, it’s a start to finish process. Quite often, at least previously, the industry has looked at it in isolated ways but actually I think now we need to look at it from the full cycle. Whether that’s where your fabric is being sourced from, who’s producing it, your manufacturing, the production line, to what we do as retailers: how we package it, how we ship it, how are customers using it and for how long, are they recycling it? I think we need to stop looking at sustainability in an isolated fashion. Something is not sustainable just because it’s made from organic cotton, you need to look at everything full circle. I think we’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way for us to go in terms of education and awareness. People are a lot more conscious of what they’re doing and how they’re using things.

What advice to you have for people who want to get in front of buyers like you? 

As hard as it is for a lot of retailers to tell your story, it’s still really important for brands to be more than just clothes. You should have a story behind why you do what you do, what your designs mean, where has each piece come from and what those things mean to the customer. I think, if you have those things, you can see that in the design and in the production of the collection. You need to understand what gap you’re filling in order to be successful. That being said, I also think persistence is key. Quite often, we do have to turn brands away or say we’ll revisit you. And it’s not always because we don’t see potential, it just means there’s more development or our customers aren’t ready for it now. Don’t always take that as a no; the market is constantly changing and what the customer wants now, might be completely different tomorrow. Your brand could just be way ahead of its game.
 
Save the date: Jacket Required’s summer edition will take place 24th and 25th July.

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