LONDON-BOUND: Los Angeles-based label Rails founder Jeff Abrams says he feels like he’s been in expansion mode since he started his company with upcoming plans to open a store in London and potentially grow his line to include accessories and homewares.
Stocked at Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Trilogy, he recently held a pop-up showcase at Harrods showcasing his full spring 2018 women’s wear range, which was filled with his signature shirts, easy dresses and rompers. Prices ranged from 140 pounds for a shirt to 300 pounds for denim or knitwear.
Launched in 2008, the label is known for its luxe soft button down shirts won by the likes of celebrities including Jessica Alba and Kendall Jenner.
He said there’s a lot of room for growth for his brand in Europe. “We’re always trying to identify places where we have room for growth,” Abrams said. “Even in this market where we’ve been for a couple of years, there’s still so many places where we’re not selling yet. We’re actively growing those markets in Asia, Middle East, South America. There are so many places that we can see customers are visiting us online and buying our product, but we may not have retail distribution and so we’re trying to build a footprint in all of those places.”
Among his latest projects include rolling out a men’s range and a kid’s collection called Little Rails. He said the company as of late has been pretty focused about the shops-in-shop, “I think our next goal is really potentially to build some of our own retails stores,” Abrams said. “So, we’re going to start doing that in Los Angeles in spring 2019. The idea is to have a focused retail, a couple of flagship stores in different locations, probably Los Angeles and New York. We’d like to open a store in London at some point in the next 18 to 24 months.
Abrams is exploring locations within London to set up shop and wants to cater to his varied client. “It’s interesting because we have sort of a wide range of customers,” Abrams said. “We have the more affluent customer who may be living in a certain area. Then we have people who are maybe living in East London who are a little cooler, edgier, who might be shopping with us at more independent stores, but we’re trying to find the right place where we can get some traffic and have access to a lot of people.”
Abrams is not stopping there. He said he plans to expand into more categories such as accessories and home goods. “When I first started, the first product that I did was a hat,” Abrams said. “So I had actually made this one hat that had a logo on it that said ‘Rails.’ I was going around like a door-t0-door salesman trying to get people to buy the hat. That’s really the origins of how Rails started. So at some point we may go back to accessories. We’re trying to be thoughtful how we roll out new products, so we don’t over saturate the market and give the customer too much to choose from right away. But probably some accessories will be likely, because our fabric feels amazing. People really want to live in our products. And there is an opportunity for us to transition into home, whether it’s blankets or pillows or just things that make you feel really special and comfortable.”
In terms of the aesthetics of accessories and homewares, expect it to take cue from his clothing range. “It would still be reflective of what we’re doing in our main line,” Abrams said. “Where we use a lot of great prints and patterns, whether it be plaids or stripes or conversational, but again focusing on fabrics. So, finding something that feels like cashmere, whether it actually has cashmere or has a tencel blend, just making you feel that you want to live in it.”