Thursday, August 9, 2018

Written in the Stars: Seren London

In just two short years, Seren London has made quite the mark on the fashion industry and, in particular, the niche corner of it devoted to jumpsuits. Founder Lucia Dailey cut her teeth on magazines and luxury PR so she combined her knowledge of that world with a life-long obsession with jumpsuits. “It is one of the easiest wardrobe items to wear,” she declares, having worn one to her own wedding, “yet can look the most polished when both dressed up or down”. Seren London launched in 2016 with a collection of just six jumpsuits and we all fell in love with its unique, striking prints. Next time you have a wedding or a party or a birthday to dress for, consider the one-piece – it makes quite the statement.

Where does the name for your brand come from?
Seren is short for Serendipity, playing on the idea of luck and fate – the coming together of multiple influences to create something positive and special.

What is luxury, for you?
Effortless sophistication and authenticity. Quality materials and an innate sense of style that has confidence but doesn't shout too loudly.

Your current favourite jumpsuit:
'The Gee'. It's one of our signature styles and all-time bestsellers. I love it in all prints! The rounded neck and 3/4 sleeves balanced with the low back detail make it chic yet sexy and perfect for all events.

Can you tell us something interesting about the history of the jumpsuit?
Elsa Schiaparelli was the first person to bring jumpsuits into high fashion in the 1930s before they really had their moment in the 1960s and 70s. Some people refer to the jumpsuit as a 'trend'; however the one piece has been a much-loved wardrobe item for years and continues to stand the test of time.

Where are you next going on your travels?
Italy, for pleasure, to our favourite hotel Il Pelicano in Porto Ercole. It was one of Slim Aaron's favourite shoot locations and is still brimming with 70s charm.

What inspires you?
Music: Easy 70s playlist on Spotify is on repeat in the studio!
Films: Talented Mr. Ripley, Alfie, Call Me By Your Name
Museums: Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence I've found hugely inspiring. In London two of my favourite smaller museums to visit are the Wallace Collection and the Sir John Soane Museum.
Books: I recently finished reading South and West by Joan Didion as well as Patti Smith's Just Kids about her life in New York City with Robert Mapplethorpe.

If you had an unexpected 24 free hours to fill in London...
I would start my day with a spin class followed by brunch in Notting Hill and a walk around Holland or Hyde Park with my husband and 19-month-old daughter Willow. Then I’d spend an afternoon pottering around Portobello and exploring the little shops on Golborne Road, ending with dinner with my husband and some friends at my favourite restaurant La Famiglia, in Chelsea.

Where do you live?
West London, Shepherds Bush.

Your three dream dinner party guests:
Frank Sinatra, Princess Diana and Steve Jobs.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ranveer Singh Gave A Lot Of Inputs For The Ad Campaign: Vincent Lou, Club Factory

E-commerce company, Club Factory unveiled its first India-market campaign with actor Ranveer Singh and Miss World 2017, Manushi Chhillar. The company which was launched in India, one and a half years ago has made strong inroads in the e-commerce arena in India. Vincent Lou, Founder and CEO of Club Factory chatted with exchange4media on their biggest India-campaign, accelerating the brand growth and more.

Lou said that the e-commerce company in the last two years has acquired more than 70 million users globally. “40 million of these are from India and so it has to be a key market for us," he shared. On Club Factory’s proposition and plans within the overall India e-commerce ecosystem and the importance of India as a market, he said that the brand’s differentiator is that they offer unique, modern and differentiated products at factory price.

When we asked Lou the reason behind the launch of the integrated campaign he said, “Because we now have a larger presence in India, we want to have a better bond with India consumers and so we’re having celebrity endorsements.”

We have these TVCs and will leverage both online and offline mediums for this,” he let out and shared the company does have plans for offline activations too.

Speaking about the making of the campaign, he shared, "Ranveer himself gave a lot of inputs for this ad campaign." On the challenges and opportunities of doing business with India, he opined that the brand has to do a lot of localization. “We have cash on delivery available and also ensure people can shop without any concern about the shipping fee,” said the CEO.

Lou opened up that to further accelerate growth, the company is looking at providing better experiences by having more warehouses and customer care agencies. “We’re looking to do some category expansions,” he revealed.

Monday, July 9, 2018

New York City Ballet Reveals Fashion Gala Designers

New York City Ballet is to reprise its love affair with fashion this fall, hosting its seventh annual Fall Fashion Gala on Sept. 27.

The event sees rising choreographers create new works and collaborate with established fashion designers on the pieces’ costumes.

This year’s iteration will see choreographer Kyle Abraham team with Giles Deacon, Matthew Neenan collaborate with Gareth Pugh and Gianna Reisen partner with Alberta Ferretti.

New York City Ballet costume shop director Marc Happel will work closely with each designer in executing their visions for the stage.

The gala will mark Abraham and Neenan’s choreographic debuts for City Ballet. It will be Reisen’s second effort for the company, a follow-up to her piece for last year’s Fashion Gala — which received critical acclaim and saw her team with Virgil Abloh on costumes.

Sarah Jessica Parker — who conceptualized the Fashion Gala format — will again serve as the event’s cochair, this year alongside Mazdack Rassi, Zanna Roberts Rassi and Lizzie Tisch.

Previous fashion galas have featured costumes by Thom Browne, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Marques’Almeida and Valentino.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Promoting Fashion & Aesthetics

Shillong has always been a fashionista’s delight. From street fashion to haute couture, men and women here love to explore everything that’s in vogue. To take this fashion frenzy a step farther and to promote beauty and aesthetics, a group of like-minded people founded Fashion Society Shillong back in 1983.

The Society, which will celebrate its coral anniversary on October 6 this year, is all about promoting the inherent talents of local youths by providing a platform in the form of beauty pageants, fashion shows and musical gigs.

“It is not really a modelling agency. Most of the young talents venture on their own equipped with our certification to enter bigger arenas,” says Aldous Mawlong, chairman of the Society.

Mawlong says the Society does not sponsor participants in national competitions but “if sponsorship is available from the government or business houses then definitely it can tap on these resources and promote youngsters”.

Talking about the evolution of fashion world both locally and globally, the head of the Society asserts that there has been a transcendental change in the way people look at models and in the way models look at themselves.

“The focus today is not only on being fashionable but also being comfortable. There is a shift from just good looking to also be healthy, which explains why most models follow a strict regime of lifestyle, diet and exercise. They also abstain from what is called ‘loud dressing’. Personality plays a vital role in the overall category of looking good,” explains the expert.

The Society meticulously selects the contestants, who have to be between 16 and 25 years of age, for Miss Shillong beauty pageant, which is not an annual event. It conducts practice sessions on catwalk, speech, make-up and grooming. It explores ways to network with similar organisations, the central and state governments and semi-government bodies “for uplifting its activities and achieving its objectives”. The society is also making efforts to archive exhibits, texts, costumes, weaves and other art forms in the latest formals.

However, Mawlong, who joined the Society after its inception and took over as the convener in 1986, says, “We never encourage anyone to give up their studies or jobs because the rat race in the outside world is real. If they are extraordinary and have a great sense of determination coupled with the right contacts and sound financial backup, then it is a different story altogether.”

Besides the beauty pageant, the Society organises various other events like musical shows and Cherry Blossom Festival. It also comes up with a lifestyle magazine called Tattoo Magazine’.

Celebrities who have attended the various events of the Society are Moon Moon Sen, Zeenat Aman, Rahul Dev, Shikha Swaroop, Hina Ramani, Kylie Dorjie and Vijay Kim, among others.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How Lululemon and Under Armour are saving the fashion industry

Athleisure is not a fad. It is not a trend. Athleisure is here to stay. How do we know? The growth of this segment of the retail sector far outpaces apparel as a whole, and it's being led by two relative upstarts: Lululemon and Under Armour. Athleisure has replaced jeans and t-shirts as the new casual. So how did this happen?

Fitness is now fashion

For the past couple decades, fitness and nutrition awareness have been on the rise in American culture. This has made athleisure –a strange hybrid of athletic wear and business casual –the biggest growing segment of the apparel industry. In 2015, retail sales overall were flat, but sales of athletic apparel was up 12% according to Fortune. Even more impressive, a report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. states that the global market for athletic apparel is projected to reach $231.7 billion by 2024.

Gone are the days when dress codes prevailed. Today, brands like Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, and Under Armour thrive not only because of fitness trends, but because Americans have embraced dressing down and being comfortable. Athleisure is a broad category that is made of athletic apparel that can be worn outside of the gym—like yoga pants or sneakers with suits.

Shopping behavior has changed

It’s big business. Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, Athleta, Under Armour and others are all seeing healthy profits while traditional clothing retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, and J.Crew are struggling. Fewer people are shopping at malls as mall landlords look to re-invent them as lifestyle destinations (instead of simply shopping retreats). People are spending less on clothing overall. When they are shopping for clothing, they are looking for discounts. Fast fashion, discount stores, and Amazon are stealing customers from traditional retailers. In the period from 2008-2015, sales of athletic apparel boosted the entire apparel industry by 4.1% on average. Take the athleisure out of the equation and that number shrinks to 0.2%. Basically, the public’s love of yoga pants, leggings, running skirts, and other athletic wear is fantastic for sales — especially in women’s apparel—unless you’re a business selling regular clothing.

Traditional retailers are struggling to understand the disparity in sales numbers. A few years ago, J.Crew blamed its slumping sales on not having the right cardigan in its collection. Banana Republic blamed its slump on a blazer with armholes too small for the average American woman to fit into. But the truth is more basic. It’s all about the denim. Skinny jeans have been the go-to silhouette for denim for more than a decade. Why go out and buy new jeans if you already have several pairs in your closet? Retailers think that a lack of newness is what is keeping women from refreshing their wardrobes. But, once again, retailers miss the mark.

Meanwhile, shoppers are not out shopping for denim. They want something more comfortable. Something stretchier. Something they don’t want to change out of the moment they get home. This easily explains the rise of yoga pants, leggings, and the entire athleisure category.

Enter Lululemon & Under Armour

Lululemon ($NASDAQ:LULU), the Vancouver-based cult favorite, is one of the smaller players in the game with just over 700 stores worldwide. In early June, its shares surged to a record high after first-quarter results topped expectations. The company reported a 25% jump in quarterly sales with $649.7 million. Lululemon’s gross margin widened as the brand rarely has sales on their merchandise. The Lululemon faithful happily shell out $98 or more for a pair of leggings.

Lululemon’s recent growth is driven by two things.

First, Lululemon his attracting men more than ever. Last quarter, roughly 30% of its new customers were men. In fact, Lululemon is currently attracting male customers at a faster pace than women.

Second, the company has placed its focus on activities other than yoga. The brand has made big headway into running apparel and hosts an annual half marathon in Vancouver each year. This growth potential takes what has been a niche player until now and puts it in line with the industry behemoths Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Only Under Armour ($NYSE:UA) has fewer dedicated retail stores—168, but it has a wealth of deals to sell its merchandise in other retailers. Nike has 2.26K stores in some form, and Adidas dominates with 4.9K stores.

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