Classic, timeless and permanent collections - could that be a promising concept for the rapidly changing fashion industry? Dutch denim pioneer Mud Jeans shows how it could indeed.
In this mini series, three brands from different segments reveal more about their never-out-of-stock (NOOS) system. For this episode, we spoke to sustainable label Mud Jeans, where combining never-out-of-stock with slow fashion is at the core of the business model.
Ninety-five percent of Mud Jeans' current assortment are NOOS items. The jeans maker offers a total of 90 different styles for men and women in 10 to 15 fits. The products are not seasonal and offered throughout the year.
“We don't believe so much in fashion trends and especially not in fast fashion, because it's all based on people consuming more and more and not realizing the consequences of that. We believe that people should realize that jeans are products that have great value and can be used for a long time,” says Dion Vijgeboom, co-owner of Mud Jeans in an interview with FashionUnited.
Slow fashion: simple but fast
The slow fashion brand does not believe in fashion trends and has constantly optimized its slow fashion recipe over the past years. Unlike many other fashion labels, the entire collection is made from just five different fabrics. The supply chain is also kept as simple as possible: The Dutch denim brand only works with one fabric supplier in Spain and one apparel supplier in Tunisia.
“That's a conscious decision, because it allows us to plan things very well,” says Vijgeboom. Mud Jeans also keeps it simple when it comes to seams and buttons. This means that these and the fabrics can be kept in stock at all times. Relying only on a few ingredients allow the slow fashion label to quickly reach minimum order numbers and thus also respond quickly to customer and consumer demand.
“The moment we see our stock in the Netherlands drop a little, we place a new order and within four weeks, we have replenished the stock. This relieves our finances and the need to have very high stock in the Netherlands,” explains the denim specialist. This has also helped avoid large overstock during the Covid pandemic. “We had a bit more inventory, but since we are also growing, it didn't affect us that much.”
No minimum orders for retailers
NOOS items can be delivered immediately or in two to three months, depending on the retailer's preference. “We feel we should help the retailers we work with by giving them the option to always reorder our jeans,” says Vijgeboom. The never-out-of-stock system means security, he says, and also prevents Mud Jeans from going on sale or being discounted. This is because the brand's assortment in the stores never has to be purged due to the throughput of items that are always available.
There are no minimum order quantities for retailers, and even during the pandemic, they were not forced to accept orders. “This is to counter the fast-fashion movement and promote the way we do business, selling only what people need and not pushing too much,”says Vijgeboom. “Many of us worked in the fashion industry before. We've seen the pressure and greed in that industry, and that's the last thing we want to promote.”
However, completely bypassing fashion trends is difficult even for a brand that is so focused on essentials. “We have now started with a few seasonal items to give the collections a few touches that people can also identify with fashion-wise,” explains Vijgeboom. “The reason for this is that we want to give our sales agents and retailers the opportunity to present a few innovations and novelties to their customers to attract them.” Up to ten seasonal items are added each season, such as a skirt with a new fit or a trendy jacket, which can later become NOOS items if they do well.
This article was created with the help of Weixin Zha.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.