In less than eight years, Tory Burch has built a brand by designing relaxed American sportswear with a definitive point of view, but courting international shoppers has been a priority from the beginning. Now, the designer is getting ready to open her first freestanding store in Dubai, her third Hong Kong boutique in January and her first Singapore boutique that month as well.
Burch is so committed to overseas markets that she opened a Hong Kong office for sourcing and manufacturing before she unveiled her Elizabeth Street store eight years ago. Lydia Park Forstmann, the company’s vice president of international and licensing, shared this footnote and many others to illustrate time and again how interwoven non-U.S. regions have been in the brand’s history and how essential they will be to further growth.
Today, Burch has 53 freestanding stores and seven more will bow by the end of the year. The aim is to have 100 by the end of 2013. The label is also carried in 1,000 department stores and specialty stores, which is a big increase compared with five years ago when overseas wholesale distribution started with Lane Crawford, and Harvey Nichols in London and Dubai.
Through it all Burch and her team have tried to be successful in a few countries before moving on to new locales, Forstmann said. For the past two years, executives have been zeroing in on Japan and South Korea. In Japan, the brand now has 25 points of sale and in South Korea there are 18, as well as one freestanding store.
To appeal to Internet-happy shoppers in China, the Burch Weibo — China’s version of Twitter — site was recently launched. As another means of brand building in China the company is cooking up Toryburch.cn.
Forstmann, who relocated her family to Asia for a year to fine-tune that business strategy, noted there is no substitute for on-the-ground training. The designer isn’t afraid to try some ingenuity, like re-creating the interior of her expansive New York apartment in the Pierre Hotel in her South Korea store. The objective was to give Korean shoppers a better understanding of the essence of the brand, Forstmann said.
Burch also has three stores in Taiwan and one in the Phillipines, with a second set to bow there by the end of the year. This month the first Bangkok boutique will be unveiled, Forstmann said.
From the start, Burch set out to be a lifestyle brand by offering 11 categories. Today there are 14, with each meant to convey the label as a lifestyle brand, an iconic logo and an expression of the designer herself.
“We strive to be focused, nimble, collaborative, consensus building and have the ability to deal with ambiguity,” Forstmann said.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion