Urban Decay’s Wende Zomnir is a passionate advocate of intellectual property — and she showed exactly how much in a challenging speech she called “The Naked Truth.”
“We have to be vigilant about protecting our intellectual property,” said Zomnir, who recently sold the brand she cocreated with Sandy Lerner to L’Oréal USA. “Innovation is what makes the passion real, and it’s here where I think the naked truth comes out: There really should be more innovation and individual brand definition in the beauty world. If we consider fashion, there are some really clearly outlined aesthetics among the most coveted brands — you know what that bag is, and who made it. The seasonal interpretations may evolve, but the core DNA is there.”
Zomnir’s particular bone to pick was with those who she feels knocked off her best-selling Naked eye shadow palette and its sequel, Naked 2.
“Let’s face it, we all get inspiration from each other,” said Zomnir. “However, I think the best creative people respect the genius of others and try to create something that is unquestionably their own. And while we may all be following the same macro trends, the interpretation must be true to their own brand’s DNA.
“So how did a color-focused brand hit it big with neutrals?” Zomnir continued. “We took what we do well, which is palettes, we combined it with some sales data, and then we asked ourselves what shades we’d want if we were stranded on a desert island. Then we mixed it with getting geeked-out on the shade work so that every shade was exactly perfect and wrapped it up in what we felt was an iconic Urban Decay package. But the naked truth is that a lot of time has been spent copying it.”
Zomnir posits that this is inherently bad for the industry. “Instead of riding the coattails of a hit, I propose using all the creative bandwidth of the beauty business to create something fresh and new and forge a genuine connection with your customer. If we all stay true to our individual brand positions, there’s plenty of room for everyone to create an original that’s a home run. When brands strive for creativity, the prestige beauty customer will buy more, because the makeup junkie is insatiable when the goods are good. The pie’s only going to get bigger if we’re more creative.”
Zomnir said that Urban Decay channels her point of view, a critical skill in “a world where everything seems to be manufactured by committee.”
“People cherish things that have a point of view and personality,” she opined. “We always try to walk a fine line between art and commerce to balance that creative-financial piece. I think you arm yourselves with facts — I think research and selling data can really free creativity — and beyond that, I like to let intuition go to work. I call it getting emo on the data. Let it percolate and marinate inside you, and then find that thread of humanity in it. Fueling innovation isn’t always easy — sometimes you’ve got to take a risk. Sometimes it doesn’t work. But when you do, it can be huge and it can be brand-defining.”
Yesterday, the Parisian fashion house @azzaro_official cut the ribbon on a temeporary retrospective at the wing of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The exhibition, which shows the lasting influence of the brand’s founder Loris Azzaro, is titled “Azzaro, Fifty Sparkling Years” and presents 50 looks. In it’s ’70s heyday, fans of the brand included Jane Birkin, pictured here, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot and more. See more photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@trinaturk and @macys Inc International Concepts line are linking up on a collection for summer — filled with accessories, swimwear and shoes. The collection will also include a Mr Turk men’s line, both of which are the designer’s first entry into a more accessibly priced area. “It’s very world-traveler, gypset-inspired,” said Turk. The Trina Turk x INC line will launch on May 15th. #wwdfashion
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge