LOS ANGELES — Luggage company Away has found fashionable footing on Melrose Avenue for its first West Coast store.The outpost, totaling 1,200 square feet, comes on the heels of a holiday pop-up shop in downtown Los Angeles last year and the close of a $20 million Series B round in May. Away’s total raised to date is now $31 million.“We have an already existing, huge customer base in L.A. and a lot of people who really wanted to see an L.A. presence here, so L.A. was a natural fit,” said creative director Jen Rubio, who cofounded Away with chief executive officer Steph Korey.The store places the company close to brands such as APC, Chloé and The Row.“The vibe is perfect. It’s a lot of brands that Away customers associate with that are both emerging and more established traditional brands,” Rubio said.While Away luggage will be sold in the store, the company is also bringing in third-party brands for travel books, candles, shampoos and other related merchandise.The company, launched in 2015, has built a business selling functional luggage with features such as built-in USB chargers, TSA-approved locks and an exterior that promises to bend under pressure rather than crack. In the past, the company has collaborated with fashion brands such as Madewell and Pop & Suki, helping broaden its reach.Away estimates it will have between four and six stores up and running in a mix of both longer term and pop-up doors, according to Rubio. The company has a New York temporary space with a flagship set to open in the next quarter. Two additional longer term spaces in San Francisco and Austin, Tex., are expected to open before November.The push is backed by a good year spent testing Away at brick-and-mortar last year with several temporary spaces that proved to be more than a marketing play for the business.“We quickly realized that our hypothesis that retail wouldn’t be a big deal for us was wrong,” Rubio said of the pop-up testing. “Even though we have an amazing return policy, great customer service and a 100-day trial online…people still value the face-to-face interaction with the brand.”While in-store events, such as an acoustic set with musician Michael Angelakos from the band Passion Pit in the New York store, was a great exercise in adding a lifestyle component to the brand, Away was also able to track return visits. So while someone may have come into the store only for the acoustic set, they may have returned later on when they were in need of a suitcase.“It’s a great type of place for people to buy suitcases last minute and for people to see the product and obviously to have the traditional retail space, but all of the programming has been so valuable to us,” Rubio said.The company recently launched a quarterly print and digital magazine, called Here, to be distributed in its suitcases and available for sale in stores or online.The magazine debuted with Rashida Jones on the cover and includes interviews with Paloma Elsesser and Thaddeus O’Neil.“Here was created to be a voice for travelers by travelers,” said the magazine’s editorial director Ally Betker. “While Away allows people to travel more seamlessly, Here exists to share the stories of people who do. Away has been so disruptive in the luggage space, and Here is applying that same sensibility to travel content, providing readers with both beautifully written, in-depth stories and functional tips and information — a combination that’s lacking in traditional travel magazines.”For More Los Angeles Coverage in WWD:Kitson Founder Lawsuit Alleges Lender Pump-and-Dump SchemeExperience Matters: Inside the Mind of Enfants Riches Deprimes Founder Henry LevyDefining West Coast Style is Not So SimpleBebe to Sell Los Angeles Design Studio for $35M
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion