NEW YORK — What’s in a name? Pretty much everything when it comes to AYR.
The three-year old women’s apparel brand name is actually an acronym for All Year Round, and starting today, it is putting all its muscle into making that a reality. This week, the brand, which has an e-commerce site and temporary pop-up store in SoHo, is dropping the terms fall and spring from its lexicon — and in that vein, summer and winter, too. There will be weekly mini-collections centered on season, weather and demand for particular product categories, as indicated by the firm’s site analytics, as well as social media chatter.
“The decision to drop seasons completely and really make ‘All Year Round’ our business model came from a conversation with Jac [Cameron, cofounder and creative director],” said Maggie Winter cofounder and chief executive officer. “She made the point that a traditional approach to design doesn’t reflect how consumers behave. Fast fashion and digital media have totally disrupted the traditional ecosystem, and the power has shifted from brand to consumer. The customer is in charge, and we want to serve her. That’s why we’re doing away with convention and focusing on the only thing that really matters to us — great product for a great customer.”
This month’s offering ranges from midweight jackets that are ideal for transitional dressing from winter to spring; sweaters to refresh toward the tail end of winter, and “The Crush,” high-waisted, deliberately destroyed jeans with frayed hems, that are quite of-the-moment. The offerings are first-come, first-served and so there’s lots of impetus for customers to buy now, and yes, wear now, as the looks won’t be re-issued.
“The new collection is meant to layer on seamlessly across the existing foundation of our core line,” said Cameron. “These elements always guide me through the fabric selection process and from this point an overarching silhouette becomes clear within the context of what already exists. Establishing AYR as a clean, minimalistic brand with a psychology of value and longevity to each piece created, I am able to architect a collection with microscopic focus within these guidelines.”
Late last year, the firm opened a pop-up storefront at 199 Lafayette Street in Manhattan, which provided a wealth of data from both existing online customers who shopped the brick-and-mortar shop, to new ones having first tried on the clothes — many of whom were inspired to visit the store via Instagram.
“Social media has of course played a part in our shop’s life cycle and traffic,” Max Bonbrest, cofounder and vice president of public relations and marketing, said. “We have seen customers who found us on Instagram stop into the shop to try it for the first time, excited to see the digital brand come to life in the physical world. Conversely, we’ve also seen new customers who have never heard of us who stop in to [take a photo and] Instagram our street sign or display table and then recommend new friends based on that Instagram. It’s certainly all cyclical and has been interesting to see how traditional retail is assimilating to the social media cycle.”