NEW YORK — Aurora Fashions, the U.K. group behind Warehouse, Oasis and Coast, will launch its first e-commerce platform in the U.S. on May 15.
The transactional site will have a shared basket for easy navigation between brands and combined checkout to maximize cross-selling. The brands will benefit from increased traffic, while the three options will give consumers a stronger product selection.
The U.S. e-commerce site is one of a series of Aurora launches this year. E-commerce will also bow on May 15 in Australia. Later in the year, dedicated fully translated sites will launch in the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Spain. Not to neglect brick-and-mortar, Coast last year opened its largest flagship on Oxford Street. The store represented a new retail concept and showcases the entire product range.
Mike Shearwood, chief executive officer of Aurora Fashion, said the Web sites are a precursor to a possible brick-and-mortar move in the U.S. “We’re able to use our e-commerce platform to see if the brands are well received,” he said. “Then, they will get physical stores at some point.” Warehouse, Oasis and Coast have a presence in 52 countries.
“We know we have an expanding market stretching from Latin America to Australia to the Far East to the Middle East and Europe,” Shearwood said. “North America is a logical next step for the brand. It’s still a tough retail environment in U.S. Using e-commerce is a relatively low-capital, low-risk way to enter the market.”
Warehouse, the oldest of the three brands, launched in 1976 and is positioned at the upper end of the high street stores. Oasis, born in 1991, is known for feminine fashion and accessories, while Coast, introduced in 1996, offers special occasion wear.
Shearwood said Aurora’s experience with Karen Millen, which it acquired in 2009, has given it some insight into the U.S. market. There are more than 20 Karen Millen stores in the U.S. as well as shops-in-shop in Bloomingdale’s. Coast last year opened five concessions in Bloomingdale’s, including the 59th Street flagship here.
A similar approach to the U.S. e-commerce platform was trialed in Germany last year. “The unique thing about what we’re doing is we’re leveraging multiple brands through a tabulated Web site,” Shearwood said. “We’re trying to leverage and push the boundaries to make sure the customer has the best experience.”
To that end, Aurora offers more delivery options than most other retailers, including five day, three day, same day, nominated day and 90 minute. Shearwood said Aurora can cover 80 percent of the U.K. with its 90-minute deliveries. Initially, returns in the U.S. will be free. “We want to encourage people to buy and they’re not going to do that if they’re not aware of the brand,” he said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast