SA welcomes a new online fashion portal as brick-and-mortar retail ebbs and eCommerce flows

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From your phone to your hands, eCommerce is slowly overtaking in-store shopping. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
From your phone to your hands, eCommerce is slowly overtaking in-store shopping. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
  • As the Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in new consumer mindsets while accelerating the digital bulldoze of brick-and-mortar stores, fashion eCommerce is seeing a boom. 
  • StyleMode.co.za is an eCommerce fashion retailer offering both womenswear and menswear, founded and operating in South Africa as of 13 October 2020, offering a variety of affordable apparel, footwear and accessories.
  • Zando and Superbalist remain two of South Africa's biggest fashion e-tailers, and we predict StyleMode is set to join their high ranks the same way Loot secured its spot alongside Takealot. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we shop, as digital contagion has spread over the past few months. Between the anxiety and protective admin that comes with physically visiting a store, and the months-long global lockdowns that fast-tracked multiple store closures, 2020 became the year that eCommerce's boom would become most apparent. 

As someone who has always preferred to shop in-store rather than online, I've since acclimatised to CVVs and OTPs on screens over "void please!" at tills. 

READ MORE: Shopping online to stay safe during the pandemic? Here are 10 tips for avoiding scams  

In a previous thought piece, I had written about how shopping is the one activity for which I absolutely have to use my hands. However, coronavirus concerns changed that, as I found myself muttering "oh s**t" behind my mask after instinctively touching the hem of a dress on a rail despite research on how long the virus survives on clothing being inconclusive.

"When shopping, I see with my hands," I wrote, adding that "it is not only of paramount importance that I try the clothes on before making a purchase, but feeling the fabric of each item, taking the hanger off the rail so the garment twirls at the command of my wrist to get a full close-up picture is the exercise that informs whether I like something or not." 

But as an eConsumer, that decision is informed by which of the three angles you like best on a model whose frame is often nothing like yours. Even so, many are adapting to digital means of shopping as we've all increased our exposure to blue light instead of sunlight this year. 

READ MORE: H&M to follow Zara's digital footprint with plans to shut down stores in exchange for online sales  

As a result, trend researchers and consulting firms have dubbed 2020 the year of the biggest eCommerce boom. Current Consulting reported that "in the space of a few weeks, Covid-19 had accelerated the eCommerce adoption curve by several years," citing Stats SA who revealed that the "volume of retail trade sales has grown by 2.1 percent compared with 2017 and in 2018, the annual growth rate was sitting at 4.8 percent, meaning that, despite the current disastrous economic climate, online retail is still thriving". 

Powered by Loot.co.za - SA's new fashion e-tailer StyleMode – instead of dipping a toe in, is taking a dive into waters that are already warm, given the stats of our bubbling online retail industry. They are entering the market with a range of brands across apparel, footwear, accessories and a plus-size range – all at a price point that will suit most pockets in our country's economy.

StyleMode comes with an expert fashion pedigree too, having been developed and curated by Shereen Conrad and Nishai Sookdhew – both respected and experienced professionals in the fashion eCommerce world.   

new fashion etailer

Shereen Conrad. Image supplied by Networx PR 


new fashion etailer in sA

Nishai Sookdhev. Image supplied by Networx PR 


Shereen cut her teeth in high-street fashion before becoming a part of the launch team of two of South Africa’s currently dominant fashion platforms and will head up the StyleMode fashion squad. Nishai, an award-winning designer in her own right, will oversee the design and manufacturing aspects of the private labels – her particular pocket of expertise. 

Commenting on the launch of the platform and what’s on offer, Shereen, head of fashion at StyleMode.co.za, says: "It’s been a challenging year for many, so we are looking forward to injecting colour, energy and some positivity into people’s lives with this collection, which will help them take advantage of the upcoming sunshine of the summer season."

"Not only will we present a selection of current items, but the site has been designed to optimise user experience – it is simple to navigate, responsive and offers a variety of payment options to suit most pockets, including a direct debit option," she adds.

A carefully curated stylish capsule collection will be on offer at launch with a significantly expanded range on the cards for 2021.

READ MORE: No bras, no heels, no runways: How the pandemic has changed our relationship with fashion 

Bang on style and echoing the international fashion zeitgeist for comfort, StyleMode states that it will offer a sophisticated range of loungewear that will be equally comfortable at home, as it will be in the office or a night out.   

Following a growing undertaking in South Africa (and worldwide) to support local design and manufacturing, StyleMode will also launch with its own private label collection. There will be not one, but four labels that will ramp up SA's sustainable fashion agenda.  

Currently being manufactured in Cape Town, and predominantly by women-owned businesses, the private label collection will include, StyleMode the label, Miss Mode, La Mode and ModeCurve. StyleMode is also the first local fashion portal to launch with a private label collection – a bold move, but one the e-tailer is optimistic will pay off in dividends. A locally manufactured range means that sizing will be spot-on too for South African silhouettes and figures. 

READ MORE: What (gaping) waist? H&M introduces new Curvy Fit denims made with South African women in mind

Greg Le Roux, CEO of Loot.co.za, remarks: "Not only is StyleMode a positive for consumers, offering them more choice to fit their fashion tastes, but it is also a booster for the economy as a whole in South Africa. Choosing to launch at the tail end of what has been an economically devastating year – globally – for business and consumers, is strategic. We have every confidence in the growth of eCommerce in this country as well as StyleMode becoming an established platform that contributes to the development and sustainability of a vibrant local fashion manufacturing sector once again."    

Loot, which itself has seen a sharp increase in traffic and sales in 2020, will provide the backbone, infrastructure and payment options for the new platform, including direct deposit for those without credit card or online activated debit cards.

Aside from a launch discount voucher, StyleMode is also preparing to offer something for the eagerly anticipated shopping extravaganza that is Black Friday.

READ MORE: Desigual, the optimistic brand we need right now, opens its first store in South Africa

Similar to its Zando and Superbalist counterparts, this new platform makes searching for a product easier to navigate, as it can be discovered by size, price, brand and colour. More user-friendly functionalities are expected in 2021.  

Shop: 

Face Print T-Shirt by Mode Curve, R219 

Sizes XL - 3XL 

mode curve

Aliza sandal by Madison, R499 

online shopping

Additional information and images provided by Networx PR.

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