MILAN — English designer Neil Barrett will introduce a revamped Web site next week, allowing customers to make on-site purchases for the first time and receive their garments in freshly designed packaging. The Web site will be compatible with a wide variety of smartphones and tablets.
This story first appeared in the December 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The new site’s color scheme veers away from its original black and white design, while retaining the clean lines characteristic of Barrett’s collections. On prominent display is the brand’s first advertising campaign from fall 2011, “Hybrid,” which features models Robin Ahrens and Codie Young in a series of pictures that made their debut in fashion publications including Love and AnOther Magazine in the U.K., Gap in Japan and Vogue in Korea.
Visitors can also browse an archive of men’s and women’s runway shows, with a new pop-up function that enlarges select pictures and makes viewing details easier.
The development of the new Web design has been in the works for some time, Barrett said.
“It all began while we were studying our online store: Since we wanted to create a single, integrated digital platform for the brand, we decided to initiate a total restyling focused on simplicity, clean lines and rapid navigation through the different areas,” the designer explained. “Since our garments all spring from classic tailoring revisited, I wanted to give our Web site a linear image, dynamic and attentive to detail.”
Barrett is known for developing unusual textures and hybrid garments, as well as blurring the line between men’s and women’s wear. Celebrities such as Joe Jonas, Colin Firth, Orlando Bloom and Mark Ruffalo have been spotted in his designs.
Barrett has also often emphasized the importance of fit, and the new Web site strives to assist customers in finding garments that suit their body types.
“The fit of my men’s collections has always been a fundamental point,” he said. “The garments are developed according to four specific models: Super Skinny Fit, Skinny Fit, Slim Fit, Standard Fit. Inside the online store the fits are shown and explained in detail. In the coming months, our clients will be able to receive a set of shirts at home in various fits, to find the one that best suits them. At that point, shopping for our garments will be much simpler.”
The brand enjoys notable success in the Asian market. In June 2011, a new flagship opened in Hong Kong, and four other openings are scheduled in Seoul, Korea before Dec. 15. Architect Zaha Hadid collaborated with Barrett in developing his store concept.
In spite of the economic crisis, the company saw 38 percent growth from 2009 to 2010. The brand currently produces 180,000 garments a year, of which 70 percent are men’s wear, 25 percent women’s wear and 5 percent accessories. To keep up with the company’s growth, Barrett invested in a new location for the Milan headquarters, slated to open in 2012.