Gone are the days when Resort meant languid days spent by the pool. Now, Resort means something entirely different for the fashion industry, both here and abroad. Amidst Australian Fashion Week’s first outing dedicated entirely to the showing of Resort collections, GRAZIA speaks with Myer’s senior international and local buyer Teneille Ferguson about the big business of Resort.
Why are pre-collections like Resort becoming increasingly important to the local and international fashion industries? “Resort is very important because it’s an important time of the season to drop new deliveries and a new collection. When Resort wasn’t so important we would drop a Pre-Summer and a High Summer and then there would be no news around November/December, which is a key trading time for us because it’s prime party season because it’s Christmas, everyone is going on holidays, and that stock delivered then is the full-priced stock that carries us through to the next season so from a profitability point of view it’s important that we have lots of new and full-priced stock on the floor instead of just the clearance stock because obviously we clear our stock at the end of the year, to offer the customers something they haven’t been looking at for the past six months, some new stock for events that are relevant for this time of the year.
What percentage of your annual budget is devoted to buying from pre-collections like Resort? “If we’re talking about all the pre-collections – so pre-fall, pre-spring as well – it’s the majority so I generally spend about 60-70% on the pre-collections, depending on the brand, because they’ve got longer to sell, and that’s from an international and Australian designer perspective as well.
Can you describe Resort’s importance in the context of its history, and how it plays into Australia’s seasonal discordance with the northern hemisphere? “Historically, it was always dropped internationally in November and December as a break between the Fall/Winter and the Spring/Summer collections, and it was for affluent people that were going travelling on cruises and luxurious holidays to somewhere warm, so they would need appropriate attire as they’d just been through six months of winter. And so commercially in Australia, we’ve also been through winter and are entering the hottest six months of the year, so we need a similar style of clothing as well. So it’s the one point in the fashion cycle, both domestically and internationally, where we marry up and there’s a total synergy between what we want to wear and what the northern hemisphere want to buy into as well.
“It’s quite important for Australian designers, particularly with fashion week moving now, as a window to showcase Resort because it’s what Australian designers do show strongly because it’s how we dress in Australia, it’s Resort dressing and it’s a real strength of ours.”
How important do you think this shift in the timetable is going to be for the local industry? How does it impact your responsibilities as a buyer for one of our biggest department stores? “It’s definitely a step in the right direction because previously when fashion week was in April, I was going to see collections that I had already bought into and particularly with new designers, it was often too late to buy into what they were showing because it was more summer. The move now means that everyone knows exactly what they should be showing and it’s when I’ll be buying Resort so it’s actually going to be a functional thing as well, and that’s particularly important because previously when international buyers were coming over it was too late to buy into what Australian designers were showing, or it just wasn’t relevant to the time of the year. It’s great to have everyone aligned, which allows for a more cohesive and consolidated approach.
There’s a big emphasis on athleisure and swimwear on the local calendar, especially this year when there’s an entire day devoted to these kinds of collections. Do you see them as an extension of Resort, or an emerging category within their own right? “Atheleisure has become so prominent that I think it can be considered a more practical part of the Resort component, because that’s how we dress when we’re on holidays and we can’t all be taking lovely cruise holidays. It’s important that we showcase athleisure and swimwear [at MBFWA] because it’s a prominent part of how we dress in Australia, and it’s becoming a prominent international trend as well.