No time for brands: second-hand, Kyrgyz counterfeit and “modest fashion” will dress the Russians

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No time for brands: second-hand, Kyrgyz counterfeit and “modest fashion” will dress the Russians
No time for brands: second-hand, Kyrgyz counterfeit and “modest fashion” will dress the Russians
20 June, 13:52Photo: adsl.kirov.ru
There are almost no usual chain clothing stores in shopping centers, and far from all companies have moved to marketplaces - we find out where in 2022 clothes will have to be obtained and what quality it will be.

Victoria Pavlova

Trips to outlets in Italy, Spain or Turkey for those who a couple of years ago sought to buy quality items at an adequate price are a thing of the past. It is no longer possible to get to Milan with a cheap Pobeda - planes do not fly directly. The situation is no better in other European countries.

The popular mass market is leaving Russia. Gone are Levi's, Inditex (Zara, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home), Victoria's Secret, Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, H&M, UNIQLO, Mango and others. Some are still selling off their leftovers, but they will run out soon. The brands Zara, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear can be found on Wildberries, but this is an initiative of the marketplace itself - the goods are there as long as the manufacturer agrees to sell them to the marketplace. Yes, and now you have to pay for ordering things for fitting with a subsequent return - the marketplace has introduced a flexible return payment system (each item separately) depending on the amount and share of the redemption. You can turn to mail forwarders for help. But extra charges (commission for redemption, reaching up to 15%, payment for delivery, filling out a customs declaration, bundling a parcel, etc.) make things from the mass market completely unattractive. Is it really necessary, like in that joke about the 90s “Well, of course it's Gucci! Measure, stand on the cardboard, and I'll hold the curtain for you!”, and to return to the clothing markets?

"Cherkizon" has not yet been returned, but some compatriots are already starting to master the "shop tours" in Russia. For example, there are options for traveling to Kazan, and not only from the provincial Kirov, but also from St. Petersburg. From the outback, people go shopping to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg. And, of course, in Ivanovo. And not only from neighboring Yaroslavl and Vologda, but even from Moscow. Novye Izvestia tried to find out whether new fashion centers are being formed in Russia and how long it will take to return affordable and high-quality clothing to shopping centers.

The textile capital will not save the Russians

Today everyone remembered the textile traditions of Ivanovo. If you look, for example, at the website of the Internet exhibition "Production of Russia", you can find contacts there for almost 300 textile factories from the Ivanovo region. Is it really impossible to replace at least Pull & Bear on such a scale? At first glance, there is nothing special in the production of basic things, but experts note that everything is more complicated.

Fashion researcher Natalya Ksenchak argues that Ivanovo textiles, despite the abundance of production, do not reach the level of a fashionable mass market:

- The city of Ivanovo is considered the textile capital of Russia, where shopping tours are even organized. But, unfortunately, of course, it will not work to replace shopping in Milan with these trips. In Ivanovo, you can go for bed linen, towels, bathrobes, socks - but this has nothing to do with understanding modern fashion. In the same Ivanovo, as a rule, women of advanced age go, for whom comfort and convenience are important in clothes, and not compliance with current ideas about fashion.

Yekaterina Ugleva, editor-in-chief of the YaPokupayu shopping guide, is also sure that you can find good things in Ivanovo, but it will hardly be stylish, widely available clothes:

- It is worth going to Ivanovo for the classics of knitwear, home clothes. I see prospects for such Ivanovo manufacturers as DOROTEYA, HELENA TADESSE...

And although there is a shopping center in Ivanovo that specializes in retail and wholesale sales of local textiles, the light industry of Russia does not live in this city alone. Vera Yakimova, founder of the VERA YAKIMOVA brand, says that new regional fashion centers may appear in Russia:

- I have heard a lot about Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg that there are really a lot of sewing factories there now, large and quite good, and in general it is profitable to open a production there. Large, regional cities of Russia can become centers of production. There are a lot of qualified craftsmen there, plus it is easier to supply fabrics from China to these cities. Now I pay more and more attention to regional brands from Perm, Chelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk. A large selection and at the same time everything is “tasteful”, beautiful design and presentation of regional brands in social networks should be noted as a plus. Personally, I liked the style of things - what I personally encountered made me a pleasant impression. As for St. Petersburg and Moscow, if you take St. Petersburg, then there is a more “theatrical” taste among the consumer, more refined, evening looks. If we talk about Moscow, then casual, basic wardrobe prevails here.

And Yekaterina Ugleva recommends fans of “modest” fashion to go to Kazan.

Didn't grow up to clothes

But for the most part, Russian brands that are now emerging are represented by small businesses that are present either on the local market or on online marketplaces. To the scale that foreign brands had and could be found in most malls, domestic companies have yet to grow and grow. According to experts, there are several very good reasons for this. As Natalia Ksenchak points out, the affordable fashion industry in Russia is still very young and has a long way to go to shape the market:

- In Soviet times, the production of clothing was dictated by the state and was deprived of competitiveness. Therefore, the aesthetic value of the clothing produced was extremely low. The population in its mass did not receive either quality products or a decent visual experience, which is so important for the education of taste. In addition, the revolution crossed out the experience and traditions of the Russian costume, which they then unsuccessfully tried to recreate. We can say that only by the 2020s, the culture of fashion consumption began to awaken among the broad masses. Europe and the USA have already created the most complex production cycle, which includes the analysis of global trends in politics and society, the analysis of consumer behavior and powerful creative marketing.

The creation of clothes is not only the study of its design and tailoring, but also painstaking work to identify the needs of customers, to create brand prestige, advertising creatives, and comfortable service in stores - this is not only done by high fashion segments, but also by the mass market. In Russia, only a few brands in the luxury segment can afford such a cycle.

Another problem is dependence on imports. This applies to fabrics, accessories, and equipment. The import substitution of the last eight years has practically not affected the light industry. For example, in the Ivanovo region, in the Vichuga SEZ, the Ivanovo Polyester Complex was supposed to appear and produce synthetic fabrics. The initial agreements were reached in 2011, the start of construction was scheduled for 2017, but already in 2018 the project finally stalled - disputes arose both with the creditor VEB.RF and with the regional authorities. The plant could produce 175 thousand polyester fibers per year, but it did not work out.

According to Beinopen, the volume of the clothing market in Russia is estimated at 2.6 trillion rubles, but 82% of them were imported. Deputy Head of +1City, sustainable fashion expert Olga Gandurina notes that dependence on imports can be traced in all areas:

- Fabrics, high-quality accessories were purchased abroad, in Italy, Turkey, China. Large batches were also made not in Russia - primarily in China. All supply chains have now been disrupted. Significantly increased the cost of logistics, transportation costs. Imports are not only finished products, fabrics, threads, but also machine tools, technologies, etc. All sewing productions work on Japanese, German, Chinese machines. Of course, a complete replacement will not happen immediately. It will take at least a year, or even a year and a half, to set up supply chains of components and establish production. Much depends on the will of the state. Comprehensive industry support is needed.

Andrey Razbrodin, president of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs of Textile and Light Industry, points out that some materials cannot be produced in Russia in principle. Full import substitution is a utopia:

- For cotton, for example, we are dependent on imports - we do not grow cotton at all. Everything that concerns cotton fabrics and cotton processing, we depend on imports, China and Uzbekistan, we get pure cotton from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, and cotton yarn from Uzbekistan.

Without imports, there will be neither beauty nor warmth, Vera Yakimova adds:

- Now there is a big dependence on imports for luxury fabrics (Italy, France) and there are no analogues in Russia yet. For example, for myself, I have not yet found in Russia those who could replace Italian silk for me. For us, in the production of eco-fur coats, we have lost high-quality insulation from Germany, there was also fur that we took from stocks, it is also not available now.

Counterfeit, commissions and "Bishkek instead of Milan"

Foreign brands have already left, domestic brands have not yet arrived - the market remains free. But there is no emptiness on it, says Askar Rakhimberdiev, CEO of the cloud service for small and medium-sized businesses MySklad. She will be busy with second-hand and counterfeit:

- The first thing that comes to the market with such desolation and the inability to restore logistics is counterfeit, which can be quickly and cheaply brought in bags. It is still difficult to predict its volume and scale, but it will appear for sure. The next stage is the gradual migration of brands. The metropolitan Europeanized sellers heading west will be replaced by small regional ones. The purchasing power of the population will decrease, but the need for fashionable designer items will remain. Second-hand shops, fashion thrift shops and flea markets can be a way out, where you can buy branded items in very good condition and much cheaper than new ones. Under such conditions, the format of premium “commissions” will become very popular. the budget niche, at least at the first stage, will most likely be occupied by counterfeit goods. Bishkek instead of Milan. The fashion market will be saved not by China, as is commonly believed, but by Turkey and Kyrgyzstan. There are more than 3,000 garment factories in Kyrgyzstan, 1,500 of them operate unofficially. All of them are very flexible and ready to adapt to the customer, up to the point that they sew clothes from photographs. At the same time, the cost of products is significantly lower than in Turkey and China. For example, the price of an office pencil skirt, depending on the fabric and quality, varies from 200 to 400 rubles.

“We need to invest money - and everything will be fine!”

But even if raw materials are brought into the country, the best marketers and designers are hired, and colossal funds are poured into advertising and opening stores, Russia still cannot be provided with domestic clothing. There is simply not enough production capacity for this. And for their development, a clear program of state support is required, which is currently absent, says Andrey Razbrodin:

- Production capacity is not enough. We need to work with this, build programs, there is nothing magical here, just like with agriculture. But if you do nothing, wait for the market to take care of itself, this is not a quick path. And if we introduce normal integration programs, which today suggest themselves, with Belarus, with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan can also be added there in a number of ways, then everything can be done fairly quickly. We need state support programs, we need to invest money, and everything will be fine. Only we have a fast turnover rate, and we can achieve results much faster than, for example, in the aircraft industry, which is now receiving state support.

Formally, there is state support, but it is rather modest and does not cover most enterprises. Last year, 2.28 billion rubles were allocated for subsidies for light industry. Of these, 1.22 billion went to stimulate leasing, 500 million rubles - to subsidize working loans, 339.2 million rubles - to compensate for losses from the production of worsted fabrics for school uniforms, 217.8 million rubles - to compensate for the costs of producing linen fabrics . And that's it. On the scale of the industry, which covers only 20% of the market needs, very little.

So, the prospect is simple: if you want new stylish clothes, you will have to chase them around million-plus cities. There is no single fashion center in Russia. Experts recommend paying attention to regional fashion weeks, they act as an indicator of the development of the industry. There are no other options and there won't be any soon. Especially if the state continues to engage in light industry at the same pace. In the meantime, we are waiting for new shopping tours to Kyrgyzstan.

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