Shopping can be back next week: What can you expect? – Fashion

Will we go shopping again next week until we fall? Now that just coming out can be life-threatening, sounds Shop until you fall no longer innocent.

When the boutiques finally reopen on 11 May, carefree shopping will be difficult at all. Chances are that we all have to participate. In Blankenberge, front doors are installed in front of Kerkstraat folding doors. Large and small stores will only allow a limited number of customers at the same time.

When the boutiques finally reopen on 11 May, carefree shopping will be difficult at all. Chances are that we all have to participate. In Blankenberge, front doors are installed in front of Kerkstraat folding doors. Large and small stores will only allow a limited number of customers at the same time. Just the idea that 50 people are out while they’re looking, imagine a new pair of pants – or, worse, trying to keep nothing special – and at the same time a metre and a half away at any cost, is stressful. Those who are a bit hypochond are already shuddering at door handles, hangers, clothes, payment machines that may have been touched by the fingers of others. And what will be the new shopping protocol in a second-hand shop, where you’d rather look at every garment? Chances are that every piece of clothing suddenly appears suspicious, in fact unjustified, and yet, you never know. For the shopkeepers, the Réouverture will probably not be fun either. How do you first organize the customer flow? Are you going to let people sit? How do you arrange a waiting line? As in China, do you measure the temperature of your customers before you let them in? Do you wear mouth masks? Do you offer hand gel? Will you let your customers get around? Do you close your changing rooms? If so, can customers customize their clothes at home and perhaps bring them back? And what do you do in this case? Leave your changing rooms open? Do you really need to disinfect them between each passport? Do you have enough staff to do this? Can you protect your employees adequately? It has already been suggested here and there that clothing should somehow be disinfected before it can be hung up again. That seems crazy. And cuddle for the clothes. The gigantic cliché that the customer is king remains obvious. The aim is to make the shopping experience as pleasant and wrinkle-free as possible, despite all the measures and restrictions. Also not insignificant: to put people back in fashion. Much is likely to change. Some stores will not survive 2020. In the United States, the era of department stores seems to be finally over, and the mall is doomed to failure. Belgium has only one department store chain and relatively few shopping malls, but many international chains. Chances are they will review their real estate portfolio. Last week, H&M announced the closure of eight stores in Italy, including two in Milan. Our country is not a priority for luxury labels – even Prada did not have a Belgian address until a few years ago. The chances of this changing quickly are slim. For the luxury sector, China and other emerging markets will be more of a priority than they used to be. Especially when these Chinese will soon travel to Europe less en masse to shop. In theory and in the medium term, this is good news for local luxury boutiques. But in the short term, these boutiques must survive. Hendrik Opdebeek, who runs stijl’s men’s business in Brussels, remains calm. “We survived the attacks and the Piétonnier (the controversial Brussels promenade),” he says. “As an entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid. You have to keep looking. At Stijl, we are relatively optimistic because we are used to adapting. If you see that one of your brands is suddenly doing much less well, then you need to find another brand to absorb that loss. When sneakers suddenly become very popular, buy more sneakers and fewer leather shoes. After the fear of the first few weeks, we are now trying to be positive.” During the suspension, Stijl posted videos on Instagram showing members of the seven-person team attire from the spring collections (see video above). The reopening next week will take place with reduced occupancy. “We will of course take the necessary precautions,” Opdebeek said. “For example, we have a lot of space to reorganise the changing room. There is a solution for everything. In the first few days we don’t expect a lot of people right away. For some customers, there may be a kind of psychological anxiety to go shopping again. On the other hand, people sometimes walk around in a tracksuit for two months at a time and they can really crave new clothes now. Are they coming, or are they not coming? Will the world turn around, or will it stop?” In any case, the world has become a little more virtual in recent months than before. For many Belgian boutiques, this is a problem: online sales are not their strong suit. Style worked with the international platform Farfetch for a while, but hasn’t done so. “Firstly, it was hardly profitable and secondly, we also had ethical issues. Some pieces went around the world three times before they were actually sold. And that stood for everything Stijl stands for. We are now looking into whether we can find some kind of interim solution ourselves.” Many people in the industry hope that the Corona crisis will lead to a redrawn landscape, with a fashion that is slower, more sustainable and more local. According to Hendrik Opdebeek, the bargain period postponed until August is a good start. “Of course it has now been taken into account that we can sell the collections a month longer at full price. But these new data also allow us to introduce the winter collections only in September. Sonja (Noel, the founder and manager of Stijl, JB) has always tried to sell clothes as much as possible at the right time – winter coats in the winter months, for example. But it was getting harder and harder. The summer collections have been delivered in recent years at the end of November, and winter sometimes begins in May. This year the winter starts with us in September. That’s why everything is more correct.”