NEW YORK — Among the masses of runway show and presentation invites that have inundated editors’ in-boxes over the past few weeks, Skagen’s stands out for one reason: This “save the date” has nothing to do with New York Fashion Week. On Wednesday morning, the accessories brand will unintentionally start a full day of accessories presentations and ready-to-wear shows with a celebration of its first New York City store [the store officially opens today].
The opening marks a new chapter for the brand, ushered in by this month’s appointment of Mariza Scotch as chief creative officer. Scotch has previously designed handbags and accessories at Kate Spade, and worked as design director for Polo Ralph Lauren and Tod’s. “The minute we met Mariza, there was an immediate connection,” said Jennifer Pritchard, president of Skagen. “There was great synergy in how we saw the brand evolving and how to approach our unique opportunity.”
Scotch’s first collection will make its debut in August 2015. The inaugural design process is well underway. “It’s going to be a very clear, common-thread aesthetic through all categories,” she said. “We’re going to be really good at choosing a lane and sticking to it. It will be a long-term commitment to our customers. Since we’re not a fashion brand, what we need to do is build a vocabulary of products that people can collect and use over a long period of time. That is certainly my sensibility, and I have full support [from the brand]. I think we’ll be making a real contribution to the market.”
Though watches currently account for more than 75 percent of the brand’s global sales, Scotch is putting increased focus on fully flushing out its lifestyle offerings across other accessories categories. “If a person wants to know what time it is and where he or she is going, we will make sure that we have him or her covered,” she said. “What I’m going to do is make sure that all of our products support our watch business. We’re going to expand the notion of what a watch business can be.”
Skagen offers bags, jewelry and small leather goods, all of which will be on display at the brand’s new store at 1585 Broadway. The interior of the 1,048-square-foot space features natural gray wood, pebble-shaped tables and a large chandelier. The location itself — the heart of Times Square — relates to the small Danish town for which the brand was named. Skagen, the town, is the northernmost point of Denmark and marks where the North Sea and Baltic Sea meet. “[Times Square] really fits perfectly with the symbolism of the place itself,” said Scotch. “It’s a crossroads, a meeting place for people all over. That intersection really represents the brand.”
With the store, the brand hopes to attract more U.S. customers (roughly two-thirds of sales are generated outside of the country), as well as international travelers visiting the tourist destination. The brand declined to disclose sales projections. The Times Square store is the first in a string of new units, according to Scotch. In the first phase of expansion mode, the focus will be put on areas conveniently placed for international travels. “It will be a quality-over-quantity approach in terms of the way we expand the business,” Scotch said.