Workshops in Riga, Latvia
17 December 2014
Author: Anton Dell
In April of this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Latvia via an invitation from the Latvian Trade Association (LIAA) to provide a workshop in Riga on best export practices for fashion brands. The Latvian trade board encourages and helps fashion brands with export issues and so I was very keen on sharing my expertise. Over the course of a 3 day workshop, I got to meet many manufacturers, brands, aspiring students, and other industry experts who shared their knowledge of relevant subjects.
What is very interesting when it comes to Latvia is the structure of the retail industry. Multi-brand retail stores are not very well developed yet. One reason for that is that these stores do not buy stock; rather, they take it on a consignment basis. If a season does not work out well, the stock is simply sent back to the brand, which means brands take a high risk. However, Latvia is showing great potential! Many manufacturers produce in Latvia for international fashion brands. These manufacturers are now keen to launch their own brands. As pointed out by Latvian industry specialists, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding in Latvia about how to build a brand successfully. Some brands are already doing exceptionally well; just by looking at the lingerie sector, which Latvia is known for, we can immediately find very successful multinational brands such as VOVA. However, other Latvian brands are keen to develop fast and invest in marketing and product development in order to be able to compete with international rivals.
I had a fantastic time in Latvia and we are still in touch with two brands that are likely to start working with us in 2015. Apart from the workshops, I had the pleasure of exploring the city of Riga and of enjoying a stunning catwalk show showcasing the newest trends and talents from the Latvian and Baltic region.