With retail’s rapidly changing landscape, major companies are making big changes in attempts to keep up. “What do you think of Wal-Mart buying Modcloth and Bonobos?” one scholar asked. “I think Wal-Mart woke up!” Ilse responded. “But still, they are going to have to compete with Amazon and the brands that Amazon is launching. In the past when stores like Wal-Mart bought brands, they became the manufacturer and, in some cases, reduced the quality drastically. Now the trend is for the retailers to let the brands they buy continue to manufacture the product as long as they fit the correct price point. This allows for quality control.”
Environmentalism has also been a recent trend on the rise, not just in retail, but also in a large array of industries. “How do you feel about sustainability in retail?” another student inquired. “It’s hard to say,” replied Metchek honestly. “What really is sustainability? It means different things depending on the angle from which you approach it. The use of different varieties of products has an assortment of benefits and drawbacks depending on your perspective.” She explained that, on the whole, there is no one sustainable method of production for retail. We can do our best to not be wasteful, but a cure-all has yet to be found.
When it comes to succeeding in the retail world, you really need to ground yourself in a deep knowledge of the industry. One scholar asked Ilse, “Where do you look to gather research on the retail world?” She responded, “In general, look to history, celebrities, and visuals. The way fashion happens is through creativity, but the reason it happens can be traced to economics and a historical perspective.”