Kay Lee, who founded the brand 15 years ago, will open a new store in NoLIta at the end of the month, which represents store number five in Manhattan. The 650-square-foot “nook,” as Lee calls it, will be devoted to Otte’s in-house label, which she designs. The collection is minimalist and modern, with sleeveless V-neck silk dresses with rounded hems and cotton voile tops with uneven hems. “We decided to grow the Otte brand,” said Lee, noting that the collection is manufactured in the Garment Center.
Otte units, which average about 1,000 square feet, do from $1.5 million to over $2 million in sales a year.
The recently unveiled #8 New York Showroom — eight is a lucky number in Lee’s native Korea — wholesales the Otte collection along with the lines of eight young designers. Lynn Rosetti, a veteran of Steven Alan, is Lee’s partner and director of the showroom, which also showcases her handbag line, Oliveve. The other brands represented include Poupette, Sunday Somewhere, Alexia scarves, Great by Sandie, Lionette by Noa Sade and Marie Turnor.
In addition to lesser known names, Otte carries 3.1 Phillip Lim, Acne, Carven, Kenzo, Isabel Marant, MSGM, Rag & Bone and Vanessa Bruno, among others.
A Brooklyn location planned for next year will be something of a homecoming for Kay, who unveiled her first store there in 1999.
E-commerce is growing at a 40 percent to 50 percent clip. Online is a bigger focus for the company, Lee said, noting that 50 percent of the online business comes from international customers, mostly in China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Stores in Asia are on the horizon. “The concept of a multibrand store is lacking in Asia,” Lee said. “We’ll open stores as soon as we can find the right local partner.
“I’m executing a foundation for this brand,” said Lee, who has put a team in place. In 2011, Lee realized she needed a right hand, so she hired Nancy Zhang, a former marketing manager at Google, as vice president and chief operating officer. “Nancy is executing an entrepreneurial vision,” Lee said. After Zhang joined, Otte in 2012 opened its biggest store, on Third Avenue and 71st Street, which Lee refers to as the flagship.
Lee’s is a rags to riches story. After studying fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design, she worked at J.C. Penney and Forever 21. She decided to open her own store in Brooklyn on Bedford Avenue. With no merchandise or money, she borrowed leftovers from her designer friends such as Jody Arnold. “I still kept my job,” she said. “I worked seven days a week for three years, nonstop.” In 2002, Lee opened a store on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village. A Madison Avenue and 94th Street unit bowed in 2008. When her 10-year lease ended in Brooklyn in 2009, Lee closed the store and opened another one in TriBeCa.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye