Joyce Azria has proven adept at adaptation, having grown up in her family’s BCBG Max Azria business, then exiting in 2016 to launch her own direct-to-consumer young contemporary brand Avec Les Filles as shoppers’ preferences shifted to branded, designer-driven, omnichannel merchandise.
Now she’s delving deeper into the online space — specifically Amazon — with a new, under-$50 basics brand called Rohb, which made its debut in beta mode on the e-commerce behemoth this week, with its own shoppable site coming soon.
While some brands may see Amazon as a black hole or point of no return, Azria thinks it’s an opportunity to expand her retail universe, which includes occasion dresses, activewear and jewelry extensions for Avec Les Filles, a low-caffeine energy drink called Miron that’s also sold on Amazon Prime, and a podcast aptly called “Success Redesigned.”
“I’m already on Amazon buying home staples, so for fashion, I wanted to keep it uncomplicated, too. Women are already buying basics on Amazon when they’re buying diapers or trash bags,” she said.
While she stops short of calling Rohb an Amazon brand, instead noting that it’s a distribution platform and the brand will have its own direct-to-consumer e-commerce experience, she said Amazon’s reach was irresistible, and posed a welcome challenge to walk the talk when it comes to size inclusiveness.
“Fashion is becoming less about ego and fitting one type of person. There’s still an aesthetic a brand can own, but it’s not fair to cut people out of sizing. I’ve tried that with Avec outerwear, but we can go further with Rohb,” she said.
Rohb’s branding pays homage to her family’s Mediterranean roots with its name, a play on the French pronunciation of “robe,” the ocean blue packaging and styling such as pointy-toe slippers and tunics. But it’s flexible-fit pieces such as jersey shift dresses, easy button-down shirts, joggers and maxiskirts that work on sizes up to 18 and 20. There’s a certain value proposition as well — the Turkish cotton tunic dress is made there, and as Azria explains on the Rohb web site video, “there’s a lot of care and design that goes into creating a contemporary garment and that goes into these pieces, too.”
While the Amazon beta page looks like all the other apparel-item pages, the Rohb e-commerce site will enable fit-friendly features such as the model photos changing accordingly as the customer selects different sizes. Given that she’s a mother of six children — including three girls under the age of three — Azria is adding the girls’ line Lil Rohb in the fall. “It’s a brand where everyone can ‘hang,’” she said.
She’ll need her energy drink to keep all the balls in the air — and she didn’t miss a beat launching it as a sponsor of Revolve Festival at Coachella 2018.
“I spent my first year with Avec putting up a strong foundation, so now I can build on it,” she said. Spoken like her father’s daughter — one of Max Azria’s latest ventures is modular housing made from shipping containers.