Jag shifts gears from wholesale to standalone stores
Australian fashion brand Jag has unveiled a new look, repositioning itself as a considered, conscious clothing brand that seeks to provide a more sustainable option for the modern customer.
The new look is focused on curating a minimal wardrobe, encouraging consumers to invest in key pieces that last rather than replacing cheaply made fast-fashion with more of the same.
According to Jag owner APG & Co’s creative director Elisha Hopkinson, the brand is utilising naturally treated linen, and recycled cotton blends that have been selected to have minimal impact on the planet.
But the style and materials aren’t the only thing that’s changing, with Jag shifting its brand focus from a predominantly wholesale business to one eyeing off direct-to-consumer.
“We’ve actually had the brand for a while, and when it’s a wholesale business you are very reliant on your customer,” Hopkinson told Inside Retail Weekly.
“We made a decision 18 months ago that it’s too hard to do both, and as much as we’ve had fantastic relationships with our wholesale customers, you can’t bring everybody along on the journey to where you want to go.”
While the near future will see the brand focus on its 60 David Jones concessions – 40 women’s, and 20 men’s – Hopkinson notes standalone Jag stores are very much on the cards for the future.
“There’s so much opportunity, but we have to get the apparel right for our core customer, and once we have some momentum there we can try to do more,” Hopkinson said.
“It’s just one step at a time.”
Peeling the onion
The brand refresh also affects the way Jag does business, with a more considered approach to acting sustainably and ethically puncturing every layer of the almost 50-year-old brand.
“There’s a lot of buzz out there about sustainability, and what people are doing. We don’t want to say that we’re there, or that we’re doing it – all we’re saying is we are trying,” Hopkinson said.
“We’re learning along the way what makes an impact. The funny thing is that you learn one element, where the fabric is great, or not so harmful, and then you get into the social side of things. You get to the factories, and you have to make sure they’re paying fair wages, they’re not employing underage people, their hours aren’t too long.
“Once we peel back one layer on the onion, there’s another 10 things that appear. So, how do we improve them as well?”
Going where the consumers are
There has been a growing movement among consumers against the harmful side-effects that the fashion fashion industry has brought about.
According to the Salvation Army, the average Australian contributes 23 kgs of textile waste each year to the more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing waste generated in Australia annually.
And although Jag’s choice is good for the planet, it will most likely be good for the brand as well.
“I think it is a very important strategic decision, and one that shows the brand has done their homework,” sustainability and e-commerce adviser Anna Forster told IRW.
“This is a trend that isn’t going away. Nine out of 10 Gen Z customers believe brands have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues. This customer group will be commanding 40 per cent of all spending in 2020.”
“Secondly, not only are consumers asking for a change, but there is also regulation coming into most countries that will require businesses’ compliance with decarbonisation targets.”
According to Forster, making a change sooner rather than later, and then making incremental improvements is the way to achieve major business changes.
“What is most important is to understand that the goal is not to be perfect right away,” Forster said.
“Brands should be transparent with their customers about their journey. Customers will appreciate it if they are being taken along on the way.
“But make no mistake: Times are thankfully changing very fast.”
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