After announcing plans in January that it would be moving away from fashion week to focus on festivals, Hunter has revealed the impetus for the move stems from its need to create a sustained narrative over the summer and to develop closer ties with its consumers.
The decision to abandon showing at London Fashion Week makes sense to the British heritage brand, which is famous for its wellington boots. The retail landscape is shifting and coupled with the growing appetite from shoppers for almost instantaneous services, means having only “two fashion moments” per year isn't enough for Hunter to sustian fan engagemenent over longer periods, particularly during the festival period when it’s products are in their highest demand for soggy fields.
Speaking to The Drum at Hunter’s inaugural Festival Summit, in collaboration with Google, EE, Live Nation and JWT, creative director Alasdhair Willis said the move was a “step change” for the brand and also predicted a “seasonless” approach would spell success for smaller fashion brands.
“I see this now as a step change for the brand and this is the start in 2016 of what will become a different calendar approach to how we speak to our customer. It doesn’t change the direction of what we are doing and the ultimate ambitions of the brand it just changes the way we engage.
“I think something really interesting is going to happen over the next three years which is that you are going to see a lot of the smaller brands who are going to have much more agility to move and change, they will come through and have a far greater sales growth to what they would have had. So this reassessing looking at the whole calendar, the more seasonless approach to the business is going to give smaller brands an opportunity.”
To kick of the festival alignment Hunter will be launching a dedicated digital festival hub, festival campaign shot by Elaine Constantine, and film in early April to amplify the conversation with festival fans. The hub will consist of content and other opportunities to engage with festival goers, with Willis admitting Hunter hasn’t historically taken advantage of the strength of the conversation around such music events. It will also stage guerrilla pop ups across the globe.
The spring/summer 2016 campaign from the brand goes behind the scenes of a festival headline performance and follows a young band on their journey through a dreamlike festival setting.
The brand is also teaming up with Snapchat for activations around Glastonbury this summer with Willis revealing that Hunter is in talks with the social platform to use one of its new products.
Hunter’s plans are reflective of a wider shift in the retail landscape to focus on experiences over products added Willis. “The importance of experiential around products is more important now than it’s ever been. The old adage that if the product is good enough is not the case anymore, your product can be best in class but if you don’t give a best in class experience around it then you will struggle.”