What is a drop? A very limited and limited release in time of a garment or a collection. There are few units and you can only buy them now. Who does it? Especially streetwear fashion brands and fast fashion brands, although the luxury industry is already starting to use the system too. And what can it mean for the industry? For now, a lot of money. In the future, who knows if a buy and sell system accepted globally.
In recent seasons the fashion industry has opened many windows in search of fresh air. Because she may not have suffered a clearly economic crisis as other sectors but one identity: the world changes around her and she continues anchored in a model that, basically, is established as we know it in the middle of the last century. And at the end it was the turn to ask some questions: Are the parades still making sense? Is fast fashion faster than us?
Are the seasons still valid with this crazy time? Do people want to wait six months to buy a collection? Are men and women already dressed the same?We only wear sweatshirts? Which city is best to present clothes? There are many questions, yes. Then things started happening like the mixed collections, the see now-buy now, the parades that are not parades, the possible (im) collaborations and a lot of other follies .
But among all those changes there is one that has received little attention and perhaps is proving the most useful for the business. We talk about the drops . It is a system of sale of collections very popular in recent years that consists of limiting in some way the distribution of garments; few quantities, distributed in several batches, for sale in a few places for a short time. More or less.
Thus, the system can be applied to a Kany West pop-up store, a H & M collection with a well-known designer, or the launch of a limited edition for sale only in a specialized store. The streetwear brands have been doing it for some time (some even decades) and playing with a more interesting variant: they divide the collection of each season into several drops or mini selections that go on sale every few weeks , spacing the sale of their proposal to the market.
Let’s take a concrete example. The Supreme brand, which you surely know by now , does not launch a complete collection every six months but spaces the appearance of its garments every week. Every Thursday he puts some pieces on sale through the web and his stores but nobody knows what garments will be.
Everyone is waiting and, as there is not much stock, for the following week there is nothing left. On day 5, for example, they put on sale a collaboration with The North Face that included everything from T-shirts to metal jackets. The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection also went on sale more or less like that.
From Dover Street Market , with spaces in London, New York and Tokyo, they explain that the system works and that the keys are “that it is an unpredictable type of sale and that it limits the offer a lot, which makes it more desirable for the buyer ” .
In its response, the store also tells us that this way of selling “makes the buyer is very connected to the brand, pending their news, trying to know the content of the next drop …”. This also supposes a new vision of luxury, where this is not necessarily quality or price but exclusivity. Clothing is scarce and, therefore, more desirable , the symbol of a new status.
The Mini Shop already applies this system in some of its brands such as Gosha Rubchinskiy or the shoes of Yeezy, Nike or Adidas. From Mini tell us that they already warn of arrivals through their Instagram and put on the table another fundamental fact, the new buyer. “There is a generational change caused by technological change, which has totally changed the clients, who are incredibly well trained and informed, they know exactly what comes every week, the clothes of each brand or the new releases”.
This could make us think that we are dealing with a phenomenon, basically, of young people, of Millennials and Generation Z …But the facts say that it is not exactly like this: the mature buyer is also attracted because it implies two values with which he does want to feel identified, the nonconformity and the novelty.
2017 was, without a doubt, the year of the drop , with dozens of brands practicing this system in some way. “The idea was ‘either you buy it now or you’re never going to be able to buy it’, so it generated a sense of need that became successful,” they tell us via email from Dover Street Market.
There they sell brands that make drops but also others of pure luxury (Gucci, Céline, Raf Simons) and for that reason they warn that, although for a big brand it is more difficult to obtain benefit with this system, almost all are already making “some concession in of limited editions or specific releases, which is basically the same as a drop but with a different approach “.
Diesel, for example, recently created a limited editionvery special and ironic that worked, basically, it was a variation of the drops system. The general problem? While a small brand seeks to be unique and desirable, a large one wants to maximize the profit, something complicated if you limit so much the sale of your products.