Thursday, 23 December 2010
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
I had the highest of expectations for Selfridges Christmas Windows. They are at the heart and soul of what makes London such a shopping Babylon, and they have inspiring and exciting windows displays all year round. Like their Knightsbridge rivals they took on a cartoon theme where clothing was turned into googly-eyed creatures. The main product being pushed to consumers were toys, some classically child friendly, others more sinister with disproportioned features.
The main focus of toys over clothing portrayed a Santa’s Grotto atmosphere. This may have been to highlight the presence of Santa himself, the main man, who has been residing inside the shopping institution for a few weeks now.
The windows each have a new activity or story being told so you can spend vast amounts of Christmas shopping time ogling the dolls houses and puppet shows. There is a lack of clothing being marketed through the display but does Selfridges even need to highlight their supreme range of designer and high street goodies? This year when both Harvey Nichols and Harrods had sold out of vital Paul Smith and Acne stocking fillers, I found everything I had longed for in the Oxford Street Mecca. Even if the child inside me was not thrilled by the Selfridges windows this holiday season, they still are doing us proud with up to the minute, glamazon merchandise; my family will be a very happy, fashionable family this Christmas!
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
VFS exhibition designer Martina Spetlova has been picked up by 4 fashion experts as their one to watch young designer. How exciting!
Martina is also busy working on the collaboration with Spanish Eco brand, Skunk Funk, and will be producing 6 looks for the S/S 2012 collection.
Well done Martina!! We can't wait to see Martina's creations next season!
Sunday, 19 December 2010
Harvey Nicks has an enormous reputation for the best Christmas window display in town. However this year I think they missed a trick! The theme appeared to be a sinister Pac-man headed party involving vast swatches of tacky tinsel and wrapping paper. I do sometimes say that tack is a good thing so maybe we can look at this raucous combination of in a positive light and celebrate the bad taste.
The partying figures are your standard mannequins but with the alarming twist that their heads are enormous Christmas Tree Baubles. They are lounging in bright and dazzling Christmas scenes surrounded by infinite sheathes of tinsel, glowing words, and designer merchandise. The traditional snowman, Christmas dinner, snow covered mountain and carols embody a classical scene. Every window is overloaded with shining decorations only appropriate for this festive period but the eerie characters that inhabit each scene over shadow this. Not only are their heads enormous but also their swollen eyes refer to those of Animé characters.
The combination of frenzied decoration and super natural cartoon characters produce an unsettling sense of a corrupt Christmas seen through intoxicated eyes. In Harvey Nichols’ credit, from a distance it creates a thoroughly festive and celebratory atmosphere and entices you closer to the store. This year they have been beaten by their neighbour Harrods, but with their great reputation I am sure they will be back on top in no time.
Friday, 17 December 2010
Do you want a Sony Laptop? Do you like BodyAmr's fabulous designs? Here is an chance to get hold of them, go to Vogue.com and answer a simple question, you might will be the lucky one.
The limited edtion bag is based on the "DESIDERATUM" -Josephine Baker SS11 collection; printed satin, lined with cashmere and white arctic fox fur, with a zip around gold BodyAmr zip. It does look as good as it sounds!
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Still looking for present ideas for Christmas? Well look no more! The Designer Christmas Sale at Lighthouse Space, Dalston will be selling dresses, jewellery, hats and homewear from some of our favourite designers. I am sure you will be able to find something special for the people who are special to you, or maybe just a Christmas treat for yourself!
Happy shopping! See you all there!
Posted by The Fashion Scout at 17:27
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Ilustration by David Longshaw
David Longshaw has interviewed jewellery designers Yunus & Eliza, who were also one of the ELLE Talent Launch Pad winners this year, for Fashion156.com.
The designers behind the label were not traditionally jewellery designers, coming together to create the 'Sculpture to be Worn' range, now stocked in Selfridges.
And the advise they are giving young designers... 'Get some business sense and don’t worry about fitting in.' We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Check our Mentoring Event section for some handy tips and insider advise...
To read the full article, please visit Fashion156.
Posted by The Fashion Scout at 11:43
Monday, 13 December 2010
Designers, have you ever wondered how much to price your pieces at? Ever questioned where best to position yourself within the market and what stockists will be in keeping with your brand identity?
If yes then never fear; help is at hand from our expert VFS mentoring panel:
Jemma Dyes: Fashion Scout at ASOS
The fashion scout for ASOS Marketplace which is a new platform that encourages emerging designers, independent labels, vintage collectors and multi brand boutiques to open their own retail stores. Previously Jemma was the buyer at Browns Focus for 3 years and before that was an assistant at Selfridges on designer wear, she have over 8 years buying experience.
David Watts: Fashion Industry Adviser: East London Small Business Centre
Head of the Fashion Division of this Agency in London. Providing effective one to one business advice to fashion designers and UK fashion brands to help develop a sustainable business plan for sales growth in new markets. Serving as adviser and sounding board I help clients agree and implement a tailored action-plan. Reviewing sales, marketing, brand positioning and the product mix with a view to determining viability for future growth.
Emma Crosby: director of London a la Mode, Buyers Relations Manager of Vauxhall Fashion Scout
With a career spanning 25 years and including roles in Sales Management, Brand Management, Buying and Merchandising, Emma was integral in the launching of Miss Sixty and Fornarina to UK. Emma is currently the director of London a la Mode which acts as a showroom & incubator to a new generation of emerging designers, including Alice Palmer, Ada Zanditon, Lako Bukia, Neurotica, Leopard by Belle Sauvage, Alexia Scarves, Imogen Belfield and Yorkshire Pearl.
Existing relationships include ASOS, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Harrods, Pixie Market, Young British Designers, United Arrows, and buying agents for Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman.
How do I know where my brand sits within the market?
Like with most things, the best place to start is with research: Visit the e-tailing sites and stores that you want to be stocked in and look at everything… and we mean everything! Look at the style of the garments/ accessories, (are they commercial or avant-garde pieces?) look at the quality (of both the fabrics and the construction of the piece) look at the price (does this store only stock pieces with a high price point or is it quite wide ranging?) Look at the range of brands stocked (are they well established or emerging/unknown designers?) If there is a label that you don’t recognise and therefore may not be that well known/established consider why this particular store decided to take a gamble on buying this unknown label: what makes it so special/unique and what is your special USP (unique selling point) that will spark interest amongst buyers?
Also visit the websites of your peers/ contemporaries or those designers who you would like to be on a par with (but be realistic!) Consider, where are they stocked? How much do their pieces retail at? What is their product offering/range?
Another factor to consider is your CUSTOMER: Whom you decide to target will ultimately effect where in the market you will sit. Write up an extensive customer profile of your targeted woman/man. Factors you should consider include:
-What’s their lifestyle?
-What’s their income?
-What’s their age?
-What are their hobbies?
-What’s their marital status?
-Where do they live?
-What sort of magazines do they read?
The answers to these questions will determine where your customer shops, which will then help you to identify your ideal stockist. (For example, a woman who reads Harpers Bazaar may shop in an entirely different place to a woman who reads Dazed & Confused) Obviously at this stage your answers will just be a rough estimate (as emerging designers you may not already have an existing customer base) so remember to keep it as realistic as possible – have an everyday woman/man in mind NOT Lady Gaga!
Once you’ve considered and answered all of the above points you should begin to build a better understanding of where best to position your brand and you can begin to contact the appropriate buyers/stockists.
I want to approach a stockist/ buyer – how do I go about doing this?
Simply write a nice letter or email. However, don’t just send out a blanket copy to multiple stockists, be personal and mention specifics such as the reason why you love their store/ online boutique and why you want to be involved. (This is another reason why the research in step 1 is essential)
It is also advised to undertake additional research at this stage: Find out as much as you can about this buyer, even something as simple as what’s their name (don’t address your email/ letter as ‘Dear Buyer’; the buyer will find it rude and lazy that you haven’t even bothered to find out her/his name!)
I have managed to secure a meeting/appointment with a buyer – what should I expect?
Make sure you have everything prepared: everything from an organised folder consisting of line sheets, technical drawings and possibly images/ a look-book to a fully finished, neatly hung/ laid out collection of garments/ shoes/ accessories. Have spare copies of your paper work and look book to give/ email to the buyer after the meeting so they have something to refer back to later.
It is also advised that you have someone (an assistant, intern or even a friend) also present at the meeting so that you can relax and concentrate on getting to know the buyer and talking about your brand as apposed to ‘faffing around’ with unwrapping / hanging up items.
What will the buyer be looking for?
A buyers dream collection is one which ‘ticks all the boxes’ so to speak and that has a fantastic balance between ‘creative & unique’ and ‘commercial & wearable’ so it is often a good idea to have a mix of show pieces and everyday pieces within your collection.
She/he may not necessarily look at the collection as a whole as may only be interested in a particular style (for example their boutique may specifically focus on party dresses so won’t be interested in buyer trousers from your collection) Therefore every piece from your collection needs to look strong and make a statement as an individual item but also needs to flow and work together as a collective.
Often a buyer (especially from the large, well established stores) wants to buy into your brand but wants something that no other store will have to offer exclusivity to their customers. Be accommodating to their needs and if possible offer different colour ways, fabric or length options.
The buyer will also do some of her/his own research into you to discover how much press exposure you are getting as this will ultimately effect how many of their customers will be interested in you/ your brand.
The buyer wants to discuss figures!!! How do I know how to price my collection?
All pricing should be compared/ related to what else is on the current market so firstly go back to the research you did in stage one and look at the prices of your peers’/contemporaries’ garments/shoes/accessories. Also look back at your target customer profile – how much do they spend on luxuries/ clothes/ shoes /accessories?
If you want to sit at the high end of the market then there has to be a reason why your pieces are expensive: whether that’s through a perceived value due to the aesthetic of the item or the actual physical quality (of fabrics, decorative embellishments…etc)
However, the most essential thing to remember is that you need to make a profit on your items, other wise you don’t have a business! Here’s how you ensure you do that:
1. Total up all your ‘direct material’ costs: These are all the physical things used to make your garments such as buttons, fabrics, threads, zips…etc
2. Total up all your ‘direct expenses’ costs: These are the everyday things used to run your business such as studio rental, electricity, phone/internet bill… etc The only way to get money back from these out goings is to put a small percentage (around 3-10 % initially) into your final costing.
3. Total up all your ‘direct labour’ costs: manufacturing, machinists, pattern cutters and any other staff. If you’re the only machinist make sure you give your self a wage also!
Add the labour and material costs together (plus the small percentage of direct expense costs) then double it to get your WHOLESALE price. This is the figure you will quote to buyers/ stockists.
Once you have calculated wholesale prices for all items/pieces from your collection you need to compare them against each other to make sure it is balanced. For example, if a dress costs £120, but a skirt costs £100 then a buyer won’t buy the skirt, as their customers won’t!
The final retail price is another factor you need to consider when doing your own costing as it might have an effect on your brand identity/ reputation. If the final retail price is too high for your target market then customers won’t buy (and neither will stockists/buyers!) If this is the case, DON’T just reduce your mark up (you must keep it at a 100% mark up in order to maintain profitable) instead look for ways in which you can reduce your costs in manufacturing (for examples, use a less expensive set of buttons/zips) But also be wary that this doesn’t effect / bring down the over all quality and aesthetic.
So how much will my items retail for?
The wholesale price you quote to the buyers will normally be multiplied by 2.2 - 2.8 by the buyer to determine the final retail price. For example, if your wholesale price was £100 it could retail anywhere from £220- £280 depending on the stockist.
Please note: If selling abroad, buyers mark ups often vary from country to country and an additional mark up/fee may be put on to cover costs of shipping.
The Buyer - Designer Relationship
Establishing a relationship with a buyer is extremely important so make a special effort to really get to know them and their personal taste. Remember if a buyer/ stockist buys your collection it’s because they like you: They are in effect investing in your future career so they want it to be a success just as much as you do. Their advice is key so take it all on board and learn how to take constructive criticism (don’t let your ego get in the way!)
Also be sure to maintain all relationships with your stockists/buyers - don’t just disappear once you have secured a sale, other wise they wont consider you next season. In fact, you should continue to be actively involved in working with the buyer even once the collection has gone in store.
Communication is also crucial: A designer and buyer should constantly be in contact with each other through out the whole process. If any problems arise or changes to the original agreement occur, (for example the end date for manufacture has been pushed back) then don’t run a way from the problem, be honest and notify your buyer.
Friday, 10 December 2010
London A La Mode has just opened a pop up shop at Cafeand in Shoreditch featuring Imogen Belfield, Yorkshire Pearl, Athena for Cafeand, and Kundalini Arts. It is the perfect opportunity to find something unique just in time for Christmas!
For more information on the designers and opening times, please click the e-book below!
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
LiLee's specially commissioned collection for ASOS has only been available for three weeks, but our inside source has told us it is just flying out. The sell-out collection is beautifully designed and made and draws a direct parallel from her debut collection at Vauxhall Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week September 2010. We can't wait to see what the Ones To Watch star has up her sleeve for next season!
Please check on ASOS.com for the full collection.
Posted by The Fashion Scout at 12:23
Monday, 6 December 2010
Please visit Fashion156 to check out all details day-by-day!
Posted by The Fashion Scout at 17:04
Saturday, 4 December 2010
In a very expressive atmosphere, Flowers introduced the industry to a virtuoso in creative industry, Andrew Logan. Entitled ‘Rejoice’, the exhibition encompasses Logan’s latest creation of sculptures and jewelries, showcased in a subtle way. With enchanting and even glamorous vibe, Logan’s readily accessible yet replete with sophisticated references and open-ended interpretations art pieces are filled with astonishment and eccentricity, yet straightforward and indubitably interactive.
Logan’s interpretation of art is somehow stupendous and exciting to explore. He transforms, changes and marks the world around us, making it brighter, more accessible, and without no doubt, even more mind blowing. Strolling around the spacious yet rich exhibition, visitors will certainly be amused by Logan’s opulent works of art, which depict enigmatic beauty. He took the humblest, most unexpected materials and turns them into gold and other precious jewels, filled with splendor, extravagant, and glory.
As a proud recycler, Logan did not only use the found object, but also titivated, dressed up, and revolutionised them into a whole new genre of manmade constituents. Logan magically overhauled and amalgamated brittle materials such as glass, resin, glitter, Swarovski crystals, aluminum, metal, and fibre into easy flowing and riveting installations, which captured the eyes of art enthusiasts. From polychromatic Pegasus to whimsical mosaics, this first prominent London show of his for several years truly intended for those who believe in divine world of dream and love to have their imagination run unimpeded.
For more information, please visit here.
Friday, 3 December 2010
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Georgia Hardinge has spilled the beans about her design experience with Victoria's Secret on Vogue.com today. We are very excited to hear the details of Georgia's involvement with Victoria's Secret and her work in the Big Apple. In the interview, Georgia mentions a very exciting new project she is beginning to work on and we can't wait to hear more!
To read the full interview, please visit.
Posted by The Fashion Scout at 16:11
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
In my mind Harrods far surpasses every Christmas window in London this year after blowing me away with its magical Peter Pan tribute. They celebrate the birth of J.M. Barrie; the creator of the enchanting tale, who was born 150 years ago.
The tale is told through a stunning collection of scenes full of glistening Fairies and frolicking Lost Boys. Each frame has a delicious assortment of goodies nestled in a captivating forest teeming with shimmering foliage. Each mannequin has been painstakingly considered with dazzling garments, scintillating make up and dramatic hairstyles. Some Tinkerbells are suspended in the air flying above the idyllic children’s playground. An all-encompassing sense of luxury and extravagance is projected onto Brompton Road, stimulating the celebratory senses. Each ensemble is an inspiration for the many outfits needed for 2010’s merry party season. If it wasn’t for the bitter temperatures this winter I could stand mesmerized for hours at this dazzling performance. I would like to step into the window and snuggle up next to Wendy and Peter in their magical world and be showered in glitter and sumptuous gifts.
The glorious combination of lighting, clothing, music, video, makeup, and storytelling produce an incredibly festive atmosphere temping you to rush inside and fill bag upon bag with Christmas goodies. There is even a Peter Pan themed collection available to buy in store with Christmas decorations and gifts on offer.