PLACE YOUR ORDRE: Online wholesale buying platform Ordre.com has branched out into the physical world during Paris Fashion Week, with the first edition of its Ordre Live showroom in the buzzy Marais area, featuring a cadre of upcoming designers including Angel Chen, Minjukim, Freja Dalsjø and Paula Mendoza, running until Oct. 4.
Split on two levels, the Live showroom epitomizes the dichotomy of the platform: on the ground floor, the company, which touts itself as “powering the business of fashion,” has installed giant touchscreens that buyers can use to view designer collections, spinning the silhouettes at the flick of a finger or tapping to get a closer look at a detail.
A 3-D rendition of the company’s latest product, a patented mobile instant data capture machine called ORB, is showcased, alongside 360-degree capture cameras and virtual reality headsets.
Upstairs, designer collections are displayed in the non-virtual world. The only visible difference with a traditional showroom is that the reams of printed line sheets are absent. Orders are being briskly tapped out on iPads through the Ordre application.
Buyers can view collections, enriched with designer interviews focusing on the looks and details of the collection, a virtual reality video of the show, and 360-degree product imagery with advanced zoom capabilities.
The roster of designers currently available on the platform to 2,684 retailers, from Bergdorf Goodman to Belgium’s Louise 54, is a blend of established names and new faces. For every Joseph or Diane von Furstenberg on Ordre’s roster, there is a Freja Dalsjø, alongside designers from the International Woolmark Prize, which the company has partnered with.
Kirsten Lock, co-founder and fashion director of the platform, says that beyond the traditional markers of interest of silhouette, style and fabrication, interest in a brand relies on “genuine credentials of interest, from a retailer, from an ambassador or a sizeable social media following.”
Designed “to allow the industry to operate more effectively,” Ordre is not a replacement for existing showrooms, says founder and chief executive Simon P. Lock, who among previous experiences founded Australia Fashion Week. “Our solutions sit alongside physical showrooms, as a technology tool that powers the business of fashion and that make the buyer’s life easier in the physical world, but also online,” he said.
For designers too, the platform offers a one-stop solution. Participating brands receive the full range of visual assets for their own needs, at no extra cost. Retailers are showing interest in them as well, said Simon P. Lock.
“The technology rocks me,” said designer Angel Chen, a Central Saint Martins-trained, Shanghai-based designer showing in Milan. “It fits with my idea of how fashion should be today, opening the experience. These features have also driven our reflection around on our own online platform, and how we do business both online and offline.”
While B2B is the main focus, inroads are made towards the consumer as well, with a “Pre-Ordre” extension for trunk shows – Thom Browne is an early adopter – to sync up the resulting order with the wholesale business.
Upcoming projects include a pop-up in San Francisco with a prominent designer showcasing the ORB; a slew of new technologies such as interactive VR allowing viewers to interact and “click through” to product directly from VR footage; fit avatars, to visualize the clothes on different body shapes; and “touch-and-feel” touchpad surfaces to replicate the hand of fabric, with prototypes expected within the next 24 months.