why cult label sibling is changing its show schedule

The knit label’s Cozette McCreery discusses their decision to show in June.

by Jack Sunnucks
02 June 2016, 4:25pm

Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

It's been impossible to ignore the industry juggernauts choosing to change up the way they show. Burberry has moved its main show to June and Tom Ford's showing in September to be closer to when the clothes actually go on sale, all following in the hoodie'd wake of Vetements, who'll show whenever they damn want. Perhaps more interesting is how this affects smaller designers, for whom the smallest changes can have huge consequences. We talked to Cozette McCreery of cult knitwear label Sibling, who are eschewing the September shows to combine their men's and women's shows into one stellar offering this June during London Collections: Men.

Hi Cozette! How is SIBLING feeling with only two weeks to go until your show?
Today I feel a bit frazzled if I'm honest but that always happens to me around this point. I get my pre-show nerves out of the way weeks in advance, being a control freak [laughs]. It's nothing I can't handle, it's logistical, most of it, as the collection is on track and looking great. Really good. Am actually very excited.

So - speaking of show, this is your first one that'll combine men's and women's. Why did you feel like this was a change you had to make?
Well, we've been showing women's pre-collection as part of our men's spring/summer seasons for a while now so this isn't in real terms anything new. It's just that now there isn't pre, just SIBLING men's and SIBLING women's [shown together].

Does this mean we won't be seeing SIBLING in September? How do you feel about the current calendar?
In a word, yes. How do we feel? That it's not working unless you are a big business with the PR budget to fund a show and own stores or a massive retail infrastructure to take your stock. September shows are almost a vanity project and an expensive one.

What do you think SIBLING has to gain from this change?
Beyond the financial which as I've said was the lightbulb moment, once we started an open 'what if' discussion with our stores and factories it became apparent that they couldn't continue at this breakneck speed any more than we could. Sid and I are on a constant heightened state of 'show'. Come LC:M we will have shown 4 times in 5 months, 3 of those shows with new collections. All this from a studio comprising of myself, Sid, our sampling and production girl Sarah and a freelancer, Kimi. We are tiny, we just act big. Some people actually suggest that we are 'you know, like McQ' in size. If only we had that set-up.

We all need to take a breath to be creative and to also give serious time and consideration to our range planning. Giving ourselves some much needed head space means that we can plan, actually plan the range better. Not saying that we don't, but sometimes I'll be in Paris selling and think 'balls, we should have done that in that, or that to that'. Bit late Cozette! But that's what happens when you are constantly running, no time to think, no time to grow what you already have.

Was it a hard decision to make?
Actually, do you know what, no. Well ok maybe at some points yes, I mean it might be seen as risky by others but Sid and I have had mentoring twice now as part of the Vertu/GQ Menswear Fund prize and it gave us a huge insight into our business. SIBLING as a brand we totally 'get' but the financials are often harder to grasp when you are working so closely and reactively: money comes in, money goes out. "Bills Bills Bills" to quote Destiny's Child. Scrutinizing our figures in such detail and talking it through with others outside your own business has been so beneficial.

We looked at our cash flow over the past year and the key thing, the main thing flagged up was that 4 shows a year, 4 showrooms a year, 4 sampling of collections a year is financially crippling for a business our size. And the returns on September. That was the bottom line. Plus SIBLING like many others are on a sliding scale of support so this expense was only going one way: upwards.

What's been the reaction from buyers?
Post their collective huge sigh of relief, all good thankfully. For them it makes sense too. Store budgets have been weighted towards June and January for some time now, what would traditionally be pre or cruise collections take the lion's share.

My next wish is to show fall/winter seasons in June and spring/summer in January so that we deliver winter clothing in winter months and summer in summer. It makes sense to me so I'm sure it makes sense to others. It's not that far off Burberry and the like doing their catwalk to store shows. Anyway, one step at a time though [laughs].

Does this mean SIBLING might have a summer holiday!?
IMAGINE! We are going to close the studio for August. Like Italy. Time off is incredibly important. It will feel weird though but weird in a good way!

Finally, what's one word to describe your upcoming show (sneaky preview).
West Coast. OK that's 2 words, can I put it together or add a hyphen? West-Coast.


Text Jack Sunnucks
Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

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