Mary Alice Haney is moving her women’s line from evening gowns to daytime separates to social media.
For the three-year-old label bearing her last name, Haney is launching a social media campaign that allows customers to pre-order select looks from her fall 2016 collection. Launching Feb. 23 via Facebook and Instagram, the campaign features five pieces from her ready-to-wear collection as well as three couture styles, all of which will be delivered in four to six weeks.
“I understand this new format is something that is being discussed within the industry and I think it is important to engage your consumers,” Haney said, adding that the concept arose from “just thinking out of the box. Definitely my customers are on Instagram. I’m on Instagram.”
The move is the latest example of how fashion designers are adjusting their design and production schedules to fit with the feeling of immediacy on social media. It’s also a way for an emerging label to gain traction. With sales of under $5 million, a devotion to domestic production and a total of three full-time employees including the designer herself, Haney has managed to reach profitability quickly. Her retail network counts Net-a-porter.com, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Scoop and Moda Operandi among the accounts.
Still, Haney, who previously worked as an editor for magazines such as Allure and Marie Claire and then as a stylist with actresses including Reese Witherspoon and Eva Mendes, sees room for growth. That’s one reason she tweaked her original business model of customizing dresses. “It was not scalable,” she said. On a mission to dress all women, she set her sample size at a size 4 instead of the industry’s standard of 2. A mother of five, she also tests every style herself.
Despite the sizzle Haney brings to the red carpet with her signature jersey gown, which is enhanced with lace cutouts on the hips and a high slit, she wanted to dress the customer with a full, busy life. Abiding by her sartorial tenets of being glamorous, sexy and comfortable, the pre-fall collection introduced separates such as cropped flares accented by tuxedo stripes, boat-neck tops with wide cuffs and T-shirt dresses with three-quarter-length sleeves. The fall collection, inspired by a pixie-faced Mia Farrow circa “Rosemary’s Baby,” includes an ivory sleeveless jumpsuit and royal blue mini dress with a big necktie that subtly hides a keyhole cutout in the front. She maintains a polish by using the same fabrics from her eveningwear, like stretch Italian silk and French lace.
“I want to focus on the whole woman and not just the woman at night,” she said. “I design for real women in mind as much as the red-carpet moment.”
Looking ahead, Haney hopes to expand further with a diffusion line, shoes, bags and her own freestanding store. Realistically, she’s at least two years away from enacting such plans.
“I don’t want to expand too quickly,” she said. “Growing the right way is important to me.”