Can longstanding legacy brands meet the challenges of today's rapidly changing retail environment?At least Tommy Hilfiger and David Jaffe of the Ascena Retail Group believe so."It's so important to reinvent, take risks and listen to the consumer," said Hilfiger, who was among the speakers at the Retail Leaders Circle conference at the Mandarin Oriental on Tuesday in New York, where 150 attendees heard from seasoned industry veterans on how to survive seismic changes and challenges enveloping the industry. The theme was "Reconfiguring, The New State of Retail.""I've pushed and evolved and reinvented many times," said Hilfiger, who retold his story of how he started in business as a bored teenager from Elmira, N.Y., who wanted to look like a rock star and opened People's Place. The store "was an experience," Hilfiger said, with music, incense, a café, bell-bottoms he purchased in Manhattan's East Village, vinyl records and "cool people hanging out." That led to his sketching designs and getting clothes made by local seamstresses. "I wanted to build a brand."His business persevered despite his naysaying father, a bankruptcy and various backers, but always Hilfiger maintained a focus. "I wanted something different, casual, laid-back with a preppy look that didn't exist. I always had that dream of forward American classics."Hilfiger, interviewed by Marigay McKee, former Saks fifth Avenue president and currently chief executive officer of MM Luxe Consulting, said consumers "don't want to see a fashion show in February and wait until September to buy it in the stores." His last see-now-buy-now event had 2.2 billion impressions and a 18 percent increase in e-commerce, the designer said. His next show will be held in London next week.Executing the see-now-buy-now strategy meant the $7 billion Hilfiger brand, which has 1,600 stores around the world and is part of PVH Corp., had to re-create its supply chain and manufacturing, design and delivery functions. "It was a seismic shift," Hilfiger said. "We changed the entire calendar. Fortunately, it worked. The store of the future is about bringing the runway to the audience."Hilfiger's own prescription for business success during transformative times also calls for:• "The fusion of fashion and music" and selling in conjunction with rock concerts, pop-ups and other experiences. There's risk involved, Hilfiger acknowledged, though PVH is "totally behind it."• Collaborations with influencers and celebrities, including Gigi Hadid, the global brand ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger since January 2016 with whom he does a capsule collection. "She's the cool kid on the block with attitude. Gigi is not only a model, she's an influencer," Hilfiger said. "We gave her pen and pad and said you design. Her fans knew she was actually doing the collection, not just wearing the brand," bringing an authenticity to the label.• Marrying with technology. "I really believe it's about partnering with digital innovation," including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.According to Jaffe, "I see two main efforts required. You've got to develop great product. It all starts with the merchandise." And then, "You've got to give them an outstanding experience." The Lane Bryant large-size division of Ascena is trying to, by forming the Lane Bryant Studio where customers can have personal shoppers, similar to what some upscale department stores provide, Jaffe said. Ascena, with 5,000 stores and 70,000 associates, also operates Maurices, Dressbarn, Ann Taylor, Loft, Lou & Grey, Catherines and Justice.Jaffe also advised:• "Social media is the most cost-effective media out there, and it's interactive."• With Amazon's private label getting better, companies should consider "distorting toward more fashion to encourage customers to come to your store to find something that can't be found anywhere else."• Make stores more than mere places to get things. Millennials, he said, "want stores that stand for something.""Disruption waits for no one. The wind is continuing to blow. I believe it's time for everyone to strike," Jaffe said. "As legacy retailers, we are all in a strong position to take a lead in reinventing retail. The key is not to view these shifts and challenges as barriers…but as opportunities that inspire us."
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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