Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 17th June 2017

In New Condé Nast Partnership, Farfetch Buys — and Shutters — Style.com – Fashionista.com

Thank you @styledotcom & @magdalenafrackowiakjewelry

A post shared by Magdalena Frackowiak (@frackowiakmagdalena) on

The new iteration of Style.com was a short-lived pursuit. Relaunched in September 2016, the Style.com we all knew and loved had disappeared and in its place popped up a curated e-commerce site, like a shoppable magazine edit. Just days ago, model turned jeweler Magdalena Frackowiak posted three screenshots from the website on her Instagram. They had just featured her products along with a mini-review of her line. Come Tuesday and Style.com is gone. Type it in your browser and you will be automatically redirected to FarFetch. It all happened extremely quickly yet it is not entirely surprising. I remember when the original Style.com closed, how disappointing that was given that it used to be the go-to source for all runway shows. Vogue then launched VogueRunway.com which actually just turned into Vogue.com/Fashion-Shows (not a separate site as initially discussed). Then when Style.com relaunched as the e-commerce site, things were a little quiet. It didn’t seem to generate the buzz that Conde Nast had hoped for. It makes sense now that FarFetch have acquired the site. In terms of the online landscape, there really are two major players now and FarFetch are one of them (along with the Yoox Net-a-Porter group). I have written about FarFetch in detail before on my post about the Italian Vogue e-commerce cover because as I said before I think it is the future of fashion. This new acquisition for the company just proves that things are only getting bigger and better. I plan to follow FarFetch’s progress closely.

“Your Favorite Influencers Aren’t Writing Their Own Content – These Women Are” – Marie Claire

An amazing graphic from Marie Claire

Ok let me start this off by saying that this was the first time I’d ever visited Marie Claire’s website and I was so surprised at how beautiful it looked. Really, it’s the most stunning website that I urge you to check out. Secondly, this article was eyeopening to me. First of all, did you know that some influencers do not write any of their content that goes out? That means Instagram captions (even for non-sponsored posts), tweets, anything is all written by a ghostwriter. It seems so crazy to me because people look at influencers as relatable people. We are meant to be getting a glimpse into their real life and their personalities. To find out that there are some out there whose online persona is completely crafted by someone who they haven’t even met (in some cases) is a little bit strange and off-putting to me. Fortunately I am not someone who is heavily swayed by influencers. I don’t buy things because they tell me to. I don’t wear things because they wear them. I don’t think things because they say them. However, some people do, especially younger people. Influencers who are geared towards the teenage set are particularly dangerous in my eyes as the teens will be latching onto something that is entirely fake. It would suck to find out that your idol is, in fact, nothing like how they appear to be online. That used to be the case for celebrities (hence the phrase “never meet your idol”) but for influencers the whole idea was that they were real people. The article goes further into depth about what the ghostwriters do and I encourage you to read it yourself. Transparency is key, people!

“Miami’s best concept store is opening a six floor location in NYC” – CR Fashion Book

The South Beach location

The Webster, South Beach’s luxury concept store perhaps akin to the likes of Maxfield, is opening a new location in SoHo towards the end of the year, and I, for one, am excited to visit. I have heard only good things about the South Beach location, from the selection of designers and merchandise carried (supposedly very cool) to the visuals in-store so I am interested to see how the new store looks. Judging by the write-up in CR Fashion Book plus on various other media outlets, it will be quite the store both architecturally and in terms of visual merchandising. Fashionista.com did an interview with the owner of the boutique, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, and in one of her responses she discussed her merchandising technique of mixing the brands together to curate outfit looks for customers. I love that idea because sometimes it is boring seeing all the brands grouped together and it is easy to bypass cool items because you are not interested in the brand. The store is already generating buzz and an opening date has not even been announced. As far as I can tell, it will be a welcome addition to the SoHo retail landscape.

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Editorial, Fashion, Opinion

Vogue Italia’s e-Commerce cover reflects the future of fashion

Vogue Italia’s first cover under their new editor-in-chief, Emanuele Farneti, is here and it focuses on e-commerce. It’s almost satire, bringing to light the rise of the internet and the decline of brick and mortar stores in today’s modern world. It’s interesting and I appreciate the social commentary, even if it’s put forward in a humorous, light way. Shot by Steven Meisel and styled by Karl Templer, the issue is on sale now.

Vogue Italia as a magazine is always at the forefront of what is happening culturally, sometimes in an insensitive way (as critics said after the cover alluding to the BP oil spill in August 2010). The aforementioned cover featured Kristen McMenamy lying on a dirty beach, covered in oil and surrounded by rocks and sea-debris. At the time, the magazine and the photographer, Steven Meisel, caught heat for what was interpreted as mocking the Gulf Sea spill which devastated marine wildlife. The current cover, whilst not controversial in the same way, could still be interpreted as social commentary.

Almost once a week an email pops up in my inbox, telling me about the latest retailer to go into administration. The profile is generally this: American, mall-brand, no longer in favor with millennials, poor e-commerce. Think about it, staple stores where Americans went throughout their childhoods are now disappearing rapidly. Analysts speculate that Sears and K-Mart will be gone by the end of this year as well. Why is it happening? To bring it down to the most basic of levels, the rise of e-commerce and the decline of mall culture.

Quite simply, kids don’t hang out in shopping malls anymore. That’s not a cool thing to do. Teen movies of the 80s and 90s almost always featured a scene in a shopping mall – Mallrats, Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High – yet nowadays they’re not so prominent. Teens don’t want to all dress the same anymore. Individuality, or perceived individuality more so, is key. Thrifting is cool, fast-fashion is cool (although there is a sub-set of teens who are ethically opposed to fast-fashion retailers and its harmful effect, but they still make up the minority of consumers); mall brands are not cool. Abercrombie & Fitch, perhaps the king of teen clothing throughout the noughties, has undertaken an entire repositioning approach in order to recapture the millennial customer that was once their core shopper but has defected to other brands. In an attempt to do this they have changed their product offering (removed visible branding, used higher quality materials, gone with more design-led basics) and tried to overhaul their stores. While the brand is still struggling, they are managing. Many teen retailers have met a different fate. In the past year, stores closing down entirely include American Apparel (unrelated to the rise of e-commerce, internal politics killed this brand), BCBG, Wet Seal, and The Limited. Other huge stores like JC Penney and Macy’s are closing doors around the country. To summarize, brick and mortar stores are not doing well.

E-commerce, on the other hand, is only getting stronger. We may think that e-commerce sales make up the majority of revenue for brands as it can certainly seem that way, but really it is only around 10% of sales in the US. However, the e-commerce sector as a whole is growing, around 6% in 2016. E-commerce is a sector that I would prefer to work in, purely because the growth is exciting. E-commerce is the future. Some companies that do it perfectly are Moda Operandi and FarFetch.

Moda Operandi is a New York-based e-tailer, launched in 2010, that allows customers to order looks straight from the runway. It works on a pre-order basis, with customers buying their items straight after the runway shows and receiving them at the beginning of the delivery season. It is a way to guarantee that you get the piece you’ve seen before it sells out and also gives the customer that adrenaline rush that fuels fashion purchases. You have it, it is yours, but you have to wait. The company also holds online trunk shows which run for a limited time only where you pay a deposit on the item and pay the rest later. When I first came across the site I was immediately intrigued and honestly I still think it is one of the most exciting companies in fashion today. They have since expanded into having personal shopping consultants where you can try on pieces in person before pre-ordering. They also offer a “Boutique” service which has current season items as well, for those who simply cannot wait. There was talk about what would happen to them given the whole see-now, buy-now culture of fashion and the new system which is currently being trialled, but honestly I think they will succeed.

FarFetch is a wholly different enterprise. Started in 2008, the brand is now valued at over $1 billion USD. They began as a way to bring different fashion boutiques from around the world together under one united e-commerce site, giving benefits to both the boutiques and the consumers: consumers have greater choice, boutiques have greater distribution. It was another cool concept. The site has almost every designer brand you can think of, from luxury brands like Givenchy and Saint Laurent (categorized under Luxe) to younger, emerging designers like Protagonist and Sally Lapointe (classed as Lab). If you can’t find something on FarFetch, you’re probably not going to find it anywhere. Saying this, you’d think the site would be overwhelming due to the volume of products but you can filter things down so much that you can find anything you’re looking for. To make things better, in my opinion, the company has just been joined by Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, as their non-executive chairman. I personally think Natalie Massenet is one of the most interesting figures in the fashion industry, purely because her business acumen is incredible. She built one of the first huge, and still leading, luxury e-commerce sites in a time where e-commerce was a no-go for high end brands, and now every designer has their own e-commerce site or at least some outlet for online distribution. I’m interested to see what her role will consist of at FarFetch, given that she used to lead one of their competitors, but left her own company in 2015, shortly before it was bought by Yoox.

Finally, an honorable mention in the e-commerce category goes to Matches Fashion, a London based retailer which began as a small boutique in Wimbledon and grew into one of the most prominent luxury e-commerce sites. British Vogue did a great profile on the owners, Ruth and Tom Chapman, in their most recent issue that I encourage you to read if you get the chance.

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