Blog: Leonie BarrieClimate change a fashion disaster?

Leonie Barrie | 10 October 2007

Climate change has already been blamed on global catastrophes ranging from melting ice caps to unpredictable and ever more violent weather patterns – but now it seems the fashion industry could become its latest victim.

Pundits are suggesting that milder weather could spell the end of the traditional seasonal collections on which the industry relies to boost its sales, and that as the differences between spring/summer and autumn/winter get less noticeable, fashion firms will have to re-think the way they do business.

Some retailers are already turning to climatologists for advice on what to sell and when, amid fears that it’s going to be increasingly difficult to shift clothes without the additional spur of a warm spell or cold snap. It may well be that fashion trends start to favour layering over bulky coats and knitwear – but cold-weather clothes also happen to be the higher-margin ones.

The impact of the weather on sales is illustrated by UK figures for September, which saw clothing and footwear demand pick up with an influx of colder weather at the end of the month. Conversely, several US retailers have already said that warm weather during the same month got the autumn season off to a poor start. More disappointing results are expected on Thursday when major stores report on their performance.

UK: Cold weather boosts September clothing sales


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