A Melbourne-based designer has issued an unprecedented plea to the industry.
After 13 years in the fashion business, Rebecca Thomspon has reached out to designers and asked them to "look after local" before embarking on a global delivery model.
Thompson said her domestic stockists provide local insights into what the customer values - an "infinitely" valuable resource for brands to grow and survive.
"It’s through our long-standing relationships with boutiques that we know what our customers are looking for, and we design our ranges to meet the customers needs – and so that we can stay in business," she said.
"Without the support of the local boutiques, the Rebecca Thompson label would not be where it is today.
"So as a long-standing Australian brand, it’s our duty of care to continue to look after the businesses that have supported the industry."
Thompson said her team spend significant time and energy in understanding what boutique owners are looking for, and ensuring that the customers needs are at the forefront.
"Customers expect unique ranges of consistently good quality, and they treasure and enjoy bespoke details such as hand embroidery and the best available fabrication.
"And after 13 years in the business, we don’t compromise on our fit – fit is the number one value that our customers love about our product, to keep the customer coming back to the store.
"It’s getting tougher out there for local boutiques, as competition increases almost weekly with new brands.
"To truly compete locally, Australian boutiques need a point of difference – something that the customer won’t see in a big-box department store.
"And this is something that the Rebecca Thompson label has always strived to deliver to our customers, and our retailers.
"We know that the market opportunities to grow our brand are to continue to push out into the global marketplace – but for the Australian boutiques who are supporting Australian fashion, we know that an important part of the buying process is to be available in the online space for the pre-purchase decision process, and to drive the customer to local stockists.
"As a brand, our responsibility is to be found – and now, more than ever, this is about having a strong online presence and driving customers to feel and experience the product in-store.
"But for the retailers, the best thing that we can do as a brand is to increase our local and global brand reach, to drive further demand for the brand in-store. And our online techniques are focused on delivering back to our local boutiques who have supported the brand."