LONDON — Not all the fashion action is taking place on the runway this month. Iris & Ink, a new collection created by the in-house team at The Outnet.com, will make its debut in cyberspace, and is aimed at the woman who loves fashion but is often stumped about how to wear it.
The 35-piece collection includes pussy-bow blouses in a variety of colors, a shearling gilet, a crepe cocktail dress, a leather top, skinny jeans, a trench and a blazer. The aim of the collection is to complement statement fashion pieces such as Jason Wu’s feather skirts, Balmain tribal embroidered silk jackets or Vivienne Westwood’s Kung Fu tartan wool shorts.
The collection will launch on Sept. 18, and will be sold exclusively at The Outnet, the online discount designer outlet that belongs to Net-a-porter.
“We really wanted to answer the question ‘How do I wear it?’” said Stephanie Phair, managing director of The Outnet, in an interview at the group headquarters at the Westfield shopping center in London. “We want to help our customers style their amazing designer pieces.”
Phair describes Iris & Ink as “trend-led wardrobe essentials, a styling kit that’s evolved from the editorial that’s already on the site.” The Outnet’s online pages are regularly filled with “how-to” videos and stylists’ suggestions about mixing lace with stripes, or how to stand out from the crowd at a festival.
Phair said the styling team regularly puts together about 300 looks each week. “They know what works with what and how to enhance pieces. Until now, they’ve been pulling beautiful essentials from the brands themselves, but they always run out. The depth of product just isn’t there.”
Iris & Ink, which will have multiple drops each season, is manufactured in India, Portugal, Bulgaria and Turkey. “There’s very much a commercial angle to it. We asked ourselves ‘What can we give our customers at the best value?’” said Phair.
Prices range from 62 pounds, or $99, for a silk shell top to 325 pounds, or $517, for the shearling gilet. Figures have been calculated at current exchange rates. By comparison, designer prices at The Outnet range from $10 to $6,952.
While the prices are in high-street territory, the brand is working with materials including washed silk, cashmere, and shearling. Phair added that the team has taken pains to ensure the fit is just right. “Sophistication is important to us. These clothes need to be a worthy complement to the designer clothing already on the site,” she said.
Mo White, creative director at The Outnet, said Iris & Ink is an extension of the site’s mix-and-match ethos. “We really want to be a one-stop destination for customers who, when they find the truly fabulous Proenza Schouler jacket, have something to wear with it.” She also said the team worked hard to prioritize fit, quality and price.
Phair declined to give sales projections, and she said there are no plans to wholesale Iris & Ink. The name, she said, aims to embrace the feminine, sweet and floral side of the line with the harder-edged, “biker chick” one. The collection will be sold alongside the designer labels on the site. “We want the customer to find the pieces organically,” she said.
This isn’t the first time The Outnet has offered its customers new, in-season stock.
Phair told WWD last year: “We’re not just about excess stock, but about helping companies to plan through the entire season. We can help them top up minimum orders from their factories and give them the confidence to buy certain fabrics. If there is any excess fabric, for instance, they can actually create new stock for us.”