“We do not provide essential goods and services. We make beauty. Between food and beauty, people will always choose food,”says Ruslan Kozhiev, the booker Aurora Model Management, about the fashion industry. Since the agency leads models who work simultaneously with the Russian, Asian and European markets (including Alina Bolotina from St. Petersburg, who made almost more shows last season than Kaia Gerber and Bella Hadid), it was one of the first to feel the influence pandemics.
Aurora Model Management has not been fully working since January, since the mass spread of coronavirus in Chinese cities. “At that moment, there were several of our models. We had to take them out on an emergency basis. Take some measures to prevent infection. Then Milan closed, then Paris, and now America. In Russia, which accounts for 50% of our work, the Fashion Week, the shooting of lookbooks and advertising campaigns have been canceled,”says Ruslan.
If the shooting is done today, it is small. About five or six people gather at the site with mandatory receipts that they have not been abroad in the last two weeks and feel great. Everyone should be provided with a mask, disinfectants, and measured the temperature. But in general, more and more companies prefer the remote format: the stylist collects and sends the model several images, after which she dresses up, paints herself and takes pictures on her iPhone.
1 of 6 Alina Bolotina at the Loewe show © alinchozz Alina Bolotina at the Alexander McQueen show © alinchozz Alina Bolotina at the Max Mara show © alinchozz Alina Bolotina at the Valentino show © alinchozz Alina Bolotina at the Chanel show © alinchozz Alina Bolotina at the Louis Vuitton show © alinchozz Alina Bolotina at the Louis Vuitton show © alinchozz
Until the recent ban on flights from Russia, Aurora Model Management had the hope of returning to the Asian market, where the peak of the pandemic has passed: people there are recovering from quarantine, and the industry is slowly but surely returning to its previous capacity. Currently, only a few agency models are operating in China, which managed to enter the country in early March, before the borders were closed. However, as Ruslan Kozhiev notes, the attitude towards them has changed: “The locals understand that new cases of infection come from foreigners, so they are not in a hurry with job offers.”
Simple Russian models abroad are paid not by the mother, but by the receiving agency. Aurora Model Management spends money only on assistance in emergencies - whether it is a flight ticket change or an emergency visit to the doctor. “For such cases, we have a financial safety cushion. We are not experiencing the first or second crisis, so we have learned how to form it by saving money. In general, thanks to the large coverage in different markets and deferred payments (the agency receives 10% from each foreign contract of the model), we are now in the black. If the quarantine drags on, then in July-August we will work at zero. It's hard for us to make any predictions yet. But that's for sure that we will not have the same profit if we do not find new schemes of interaction with customers."
The pandemic also affected those on the other side of the camera - stylists. Lada Arzumanova, who stylizes the shooting, including for, says that many of her projects have been postponed for "a week or a little longer", since no one on the site wants to risk their own or other people's health. However, the girl does not panic: “It is normal that in times of crisis creative professions suffer. We are not saving the world. I was born in the USSR, I went through the 90s and I am calm about this situation. It has not yet been time to worry. And if the quarantine continues, then at least we will rest!"
Stylists who do wardrobe disassembly and personal shopping are less optimistic. Their work is based directly on a trip to boutiques, showrooms and shopping centers, which are now closed indefinitely. “Usually I had 3-4 meetings with clients a week, but now everyone is on self-isolation,” comments stylist and image maker Katya Gusse. - It would seem that you can parse the images by video link and do online shopping, but now this is irrelevant. People's thoughts are occupied by others."
The financial situation of Katya Gusse is saved by income from advertising as a blogger: more than 250 thousand people have subscribed to Instagram girls. Fashion photographer Anton Rudzat, who shoots for Russian brands Alexander Terekhov, Sasha Troshin and JM Studio, as well as music albums and glossy publications (most of them have been moved), also has something to do in quarantine. He is the creative director of the 404 Not Found brand, which is doing well in comparison to many market players.
1 of 25 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © press -service 404 Not Found © press service 404 Not Found © PRESS SERVICE 404 Not Found © press service
The collection of the spring-summer 2020 season Anton Rudzat and the founder and designer of the brand Alena Feliksova presented a year ago and are now implementing it through the website and Instagram of the brand. In parallel, they are working on an autumn-winter collection, the fabrics for which were purchased in advance in Italy. “We will buy the rest on the Russian market. We have a lot of good fabrics and accessories, just some of them are imported and it is not known how many of them, - explains Anton. “Considering that we are working with materials further, experimenting with different techniques - for example, washing in several stages or pleating by hand - the results are really amazing.”
In addition, the 404 Not Found team is rebuilding itself to meet the needs of the local market and is thinking about launching a more democratic line: iconic things that fans have fallen in love with over the two years of the brand's existence - trench coats, sweatshirts, jackets and blouses - will cost half as much as in the main one. collection. At the same time, the designers plan to preserve their main advantage - quality.
The brand does not suffer from the need to pay rent for the showroom and production, which are now quarantined: an apartment was originally allocated and altered for them. However, not all 404 Not Found colleagues can boast of this: for example, the showroom of designer Nelly Nedre, located in the historic district of St. Petersburg, is under threat of closure: the landlord does not want to get into a difficult situation and give a delay in paying rent. “Our production is located in another room, we will probably move there, but we don’t understand how we will do it during quarantine,” Nelly says.
1 of 13 NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © Press Office NNedre © press service
Total sales of NNedre, which has long since switched from seasonal to basic items, fell 50% year-over-year. Internet indicators have doubled thanks to discounts and free shipping: the designer has to deliver one part of the orders herself, for the other he is looking for guys who can do it on bicycles. “Even going to all these promotions and offers, we are working practically to zero. In this mode, we will last a couple of months or we will close. We can only hope that people will order more.”
Larger Russian brands, for example, 12storeez, faced similar problems during the pandemic. Until recently, it had almost 500 employees, 17 stores in Moscow alone, and an annual growth rate of 100–150%. The general director of 12storeez Ivan Khokhlov tells about the state of affairs today: “Until March 15, we grew by more than 110% by 2019. We had over 80 vacancies. Starting March 15, traffic and revenues of retail stores decreased by 50–70%. Offline revenue is 75% of total revenue, so in one week we lost half of the revenue of the entire company.”
1 of 18 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service 12storeez © press service
Despite the fact that the brand's management was able to negotiate a discount on rental of premises for the coming months, other items of expenditure had to be significantly reduced. The volume of collections for the next autumn-winter season has decreased by 60%, which means that there will be no growth in the second half of the year. In addition, the company was forced to part with 30 employees and cut the salaries of top management. The salary of Ivan Khokhlov himself will be 1 ruble. before overcoming the crisis. “It’s not easy,” he says. “But if we don't take unpopular measures now, then in 2-3 months we will have to close 12storeez”.
Staff reductions are also taking place in the luxury segment of the Russian market. The representative of the Ulyana Sergeenko fashion house, which now employs 140 people (most of them are involved in production, the rest of the employees work in the management department, as well as the logistics, procurement, marketing and sales departments), explains that at the moment this is “unfortunately inevitable ":" In March, the total revenue fell by 30%, given that in the first week of the month we were on track. If we count the last three weeks of March, then the volume of revenue fell by 80%."
1 of 24 Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service of Ulyana Sergeenko © press service Ulyana Sergeenko service © press service Ulyana Sergeenko © press service
It was necessary to react very quickly to the closure of offline points of sale and a decrease in the overall demand for the purchase of fashionable clothes during the crisis. The new Ulyana Sergeenko spring-summer collection arrived in the online store two weeks ahead of schedule, and in addition to free delivery, the same free on-site fitting service was launched for customers in Moscow. “We think that now is the right time to pay even more attention to dialogue with customers,” comments a brand representative.
At the same time, the Ulyana Sergeenko team is working on a couture collection, which will be presented despite the canceled Paris Fashion Week, and is also preparing to sew products for the fall-winter season. The main hiccups are associated with this process: the brand did not manage to get foreign fabrics with developed prints, which means that it is forced to either wait for the end of quarantine or look for analogues in the Russian market.
In the event of a protracted pandemic, the creator of leather bags Imakebags Ksenia Lapshova also plans to work more with local suppliers. From Italian, Turkish and Chinese materials and accessories, which the girl still has enough for two months, the Russian ones differ in quality and production instability. “The problem is in the technical process: all the dyes and compounds used to treat leather are not produced in Russia,” explains Lapshova. - It turns out that the grade of the skin is slightly worse, and the price is not much lower, since it is partially still tied to the course. We also lack specialists, qualifications and an elementary desire to produce a quality product. One batch may be perfect, but in the next the technologist at the plant decides to take the initiative and as a result the customer gets a different color."
1 of 8 Imakebags © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service © Imakebags Press Service
Ksenia Lapshova says the following about the sale of her products: “So far, everything is better than last year, but the demand has fallen - this is a fact. Not critical, this happens even without a virus. Although everything is just beginning in our country, the problem will peak in April. Now we have a lucrative lease agreement and there are no expenses for filming, which we usually do not in Russia, and this is a high budget. Accordingly, we have finances that will be spent on operational restructuring during stagnation. " The founder of Imakebags plans to produce running models in reserve, and what they buy less often will be sewn if there is a demand or an actual purchase.
The shoe brand Razgulyaev X Blagonravova, which is accustomed to ordering pads and soles from Spain, and leather and accessories from Italy, can also completely switch to domestic materials. Now, due to closed borders, the brand has suspended supplies of European materials for the spring-summer collection (production of Razgulyaev X Blagonravova goes "season after season"), so it has to concentrate on selling street shoes and house slippers from the previous ones.
1 of 7 Razgulyaev X Blagonravova © press service Razgulyaev X Blagonravova © press service Razgulyaev X Blagonravova © press service Razgulyaev X Blagonravova © press service Razgulyaev X Blagonravova © press service Razgulyaev X Blagonravova © press service Razgulyaev X Blagonravova -service
Despite the fact that most people switched to remote work, the founder of the brand, Mila Razgulyaeva-Blagonravova, did not notice the growth in demand for slippers. “Since home shoes are very often given as a gift on March 8, everything was relatively good at that time. But then there was a sharp decline for obvious reasons: shopping centers and museum stores, where our products are presented like a picture, closed, there was no growth in traffic on the site and involvement in posts."
Larger Russian footwear brands benefit from the fact that their collections go on sale at the very start of the season. Thus, Econica's spring-summer assortment - Porta 9 and Portal - is already available in stores in full, and the supply of the autumn-winter one, originally planned from June, according to preliminary estimates, will be late by only a month. The delay is due to the situation in Asia at the beginning of the year, and then the closure of factories in Italy, with which brands cooperate in some categories. Now Chinese factories are resuming work, so there is a hope that the delay will not be so critical.
1 of 10 Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 © Press Office Porta 9 service © Porta 9 press service © Press service
However, due to the fallen demand, it is likely that it will not be possible to sell the entire volume of manufactured products. Aleko Iliopulo, Acting CEO of the Econica footwear brand, founder of Porta 9 and Portal projects, says that in the first quarter of 2020, revenues from online sales of brands increased by 38% compared to the same period last year, but decreased by 50 –60%. Such consumer demand does not allow to replace offline traffic lost due to the quarantine of stores.
“In the current situation, we, of course, strongly rely on government support, without which it will be very difficult for us to cope. Even with closed salons, we are forced to fulfill our obligations to employees, banks and partners. Unfortunately, after the quarantine is lifted, demand will not recover quickly: we will lose at least two months of active sales of the spring-summer assortment. At the same time, we need to continue to invest in the creation of new collections and a quality product."
1 of 10 "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press -service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service "Econika" © press service
In the current circumstances, the purchase of such things as swimwear, and completely fades into the background or even the third plan. “The pools are closed, it’s impossible to fly anywhere, to get close to the sea or a reservoir, too,” comments Maria Kolosova, co-founder of the Bodypoetry swimwear brand. The spring-summer collection, the main peak of sales of which traditionally falls on April (before the May holidays) and the calendar summer (the period of going to beaches and vacations), is now sold 90% worse.
1 of 18 Bodypoetry © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © Bodypoetry Press Service © press service
The situation can improve without any significant losses for the brand if the quarantine ends by May. Therefore, while the Bodypoetry team has to wait, at the same time thinking about a new fall-winter collection. “We have fabrics in stock - we work only with the Italian material carvico, which we managed to order in sufficient quantities even before the borders were closed. As well as ideas, creativity and our patterns, - continues the co-founder of Bodypoetry Stanislav Alekseev. - True, in conditions of self-isolation, we can only communicate with our team online. It is small in our country, production is outsourced, so now, unlike many other players in the Russian market, we can simply freeze and not disappear. ">