cala, digital, technology, vacation club, James maslow

Citing “a dramatic increase” in interest in April, according to Cala’s chief executive officer and cofounder Andrew Wyatt, the collections that began development a few months prior are ready to be unwrapped for late summer previews and launches. One of the recent introductions is VacationClub, a brand founded by James Maslow, who is best known for the Nickelodeon show “Big Time Rush.”

Maslow aims for the brand to be “an outlet for a daily escape” where consumers can find community in a mutual love of adventure — timely for escapist fashion trends. Each drop of VacationClub’s “Adventure Kits” prioritizes comfort, activity and bright colors inspired by the founder’s upbringing in Venice, Calif. The first drop has three lines, designed for the “surfer,” “explorer” or “romantic.” The collection ranges in price from $10 to $60.

The brand began its first access preview this past week and sold out of more than 45 percent of the available inventory in the first two days, according to Cala brand president for VacationClub and industry veteran PC Chandra.

While many brand owners opted to delay or cancel launches due to the pandemic, Cala’s “plug and play digital infrastructure” already streamlined processes like design, prototyping and communications within its platform.

“The pandemic did not create the need to move to this new way of working, it just made it a necessary reality for any fashion brand’s survival,” Chandra said.

Chandra stressed that Cala’s direct-to-consumer drop model is inherently more sustainable, designed to have full sell-through and thus reduce wasted inventory.

“Cala has created a proprietary digital-first sourcing platform to cost-effectively run small manufacturing units. This is a big distinction and competitive advantage for d-t-c brands. We are not bogged down by the excess inventory that has burdened incumbent fashion brands,” he added.

It’s “now or never” for fashion’s digital transformation, as per a McKinsey & Co. report from May, which said “digital and analytic leaders have an advantage today” but they could “lose it if other players accelerate their transformation.”

“We are continuously testing sustainability-oriented product manufacturing, production and supply chain innovations across our brands. Sustainability will continue to play a bigger role with future brands and collections coming from Cala,” according to Chandra.

Maintaining an obsession with consumer data, the drops on Cala are most set up for success when the teams comb metrics hourly and constantly taper their messaging “to best respond to the consumer” in a test-and-learn approach, Chandra said.

With the average influencer client boasting around 3 million followers, Cala has more than 30 influencers slated to introduce collections with little to no technical expertise or knowledge of garment manufacturing.

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