Herbert Hofmann

Head of Buying / Creative Director - ‎Voo Store Berlin

_ What does future in fashion mean for you, considering all the changes that we have recently noticed, such as see-now-buy-now, menswear and womenswear presented together, big brands' departures from a fashion week to another, changes in Creative Directors at the helm of griffes and labels?
One major problem for the industry and the end consumer is that its not easy to follow all developments and the speed of collection-changes anymore. Marketing rules the business but the customer is getting behind the exposure - best sellers and must haves are no longer the key to success. Social media show us the outcome of marketing: everyone owns the same style and is styled in very similar brand-combinations which makes many customers comfortable with a new product or desiring a style.
A informed customer on the other hand is longing for new approaches or individual pieces. People started accepting to be influenced. Why would i like even the term ‚influencer‘- This bubble of mega influencers wont be strong much longer and inspiring individuals that are not paid for their style will be in focus. 
Seasons melt into eachother and so e.g. summer clothes cant be bought in summer anymore. It’s not only illogical and frustrating for the customer, it also harms the business.
Many of the big players start with 50% discount on summer collections in May - that forces many smaller boutiques to follow the early call and therefore winter collections are hanging in the stores in June already.
We stopped buying many cruise and pre-collections - its not possible to handle all the products and play all stories that brands suggest. In my opinion theres not so much product and input needed as brands think - people working in the industry are overwhelmed by the amount of products, how should a customer be able to follow.
The demand for more offer/selection and more product is over since many years - we grew up with being amazed by huge selections in supermarkets and shopping malls with a massive offer - more was more.
Therefore the new focus for retailers lays in the selection in the future - it becomes a major factor cause the customer wants to have a preselection and trust in a shops aesthetics and point of view. Less is more! It is a shops and buyers job to create a new selection and combination within brands and their combination with each-other. I don't like to shop where i get offered everything in all colors and variations.
 
_ Which are in your opinion the brands/designers to watch for the next seasons? From which countries are the most cutting-edge ones at the moment?
Jil Sander will be very exciting - Lucie and Luke Meier are the new designers/creative directors for the Italian based house. We’ve just seen the womens pre-collection and it was fantastic. Sander’s heritage has been much respected, yet it’s a big step forward. I’m very excited to see the men’s collection! It goes very much in line of what i love: special but timeless design.
Carven will start a new path under the creative direction of Serge Ruffieux for Summer 2018. He worked as a designer at Dior before and its certainly a exciting collection to see. I always loved Carven for a french and cute image with a sporty touch.
It seems like the focus on more understated design is back. We’ve been through that very loud street-style-heaviness and screaming logos - now we are back on track with more design and exciting styles rather than exaggerated styling of oversized basics and random patterns. I’m happy about that.
 
_ Which are the main trends for the next Spring/Summer season? What about streetwear and athleisure... how do you think the attitude of the consumers has changed towards these fashion phenomena? Do you think, in a certain way, they affected the way the consumers buy?
We have a lot of knitwear in our mind for next season. There are so many fashion houses and brands that create amazing knits: Missioni, Prada or Paloma Wool for example are offering knits that work for summer as well as for winter.
Certain trends influenced the consumers behavior for sure - it gave the consumer the confidence to buy into sportsbrands and inexpensive or unknowns brands again, cause it pushes the mix and less the head-to-toe mono brand look. The full athleisure look wont be seen as often as the past seasons - dressing up seems to be more popular again. Brands like Jil Sander always suggest a easy look that is fresh, fashionable but still comfortable to wear (also because of technical and sport-inspired materials and fabrics).
 
_ What do you expect from the next Pitti Uomo edition?
The schedule looks yet great again for a younger audience like us as Voo Store. JW Anderson is one of my favorite designers and fits in well after Raf Simons, Gosha and the last seasons line-up. Virgil Abloh and his Off-White collection will find much attention and fans in Italy.

Locations like Futuro Maschile will be interesting for us as always and I can’t wait to see brands like The White Briefs, Danton, Stutterheim or Champion there.