Save Fashion, a month-long pop-up shop with a roster of rotating designer labels, will debut next month in the heart of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York.
This story first appeared in the April 17, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Refinery 29 came up with the concept, and the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, the Times Square Alliance and The Port Authority are serving as the sponsors for the retail initiative. It will be the first fashion-oriented event to be held in Blank SL8, the new 2,500-square-foot space created to showcase design, fashion and visual arts created by New Yorkers.
Refinery 29 has partnered with the consulting firm Launch Collective for the business side of Save Fashion, which may include expanding to other markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
Barbara Randall, executive director of the FCBID, said Thursday, “We are trying to create programs that really support the industry. And as we are having this conversation about zoning [in the Garment Center] we feel we have to address that fashion has an address [in the neighborhood] that is here to stay.”
In total, about 60 labels will be sold in the space with a minimum of 50 percent markdowns, and each week a select group of names will be featured. To try to make a personal connection with shoppers, most of the designers will make cameos in the store.
Rachel Comey, Madewell, Victoria Bartlett/VPL, Charlotte Ronson, Acne and Rogan are among the labels that will be offered. Each week the merchandise and the store’s interior will be revamped to create a different shopping experience. The third week of May will be devoted solely to men’s wear, with Steven Alan and Thom Browne’s Black Fleece among the participants. Merchandise from the past four seasons will be available. Refinery 29 co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefno have 6,000 to 10,000 units of merchandise, and are banking on sell-through rates of 60 to 70 percent.
They will celebrate the endeavor with an April 30 party. Founded as an online magazine three years ago, Refinery 29 added an e-commerce component that specializes in emerging designers about two years ago. “To us, this is really a great opportunity because we have had this connection to these designers since Day One. It is a nice branding position,” von Borries said.