Sander Lak doesn’t believe in showing product months before it is due to hit the sales floor.
Lak is the creative director of Sies Marjan, a fashion start-up still in its infancy. Lak was part of a discussion on fashion Friday in which U.K.-based Matchesfashion.com staged a pop-up store for a weekend of shopping at the WOM Townhouse in SoHo. The discussion was part of the programming for New York press, which included fashion blogger Leandra Medine hosting a Q& A session with Lak and Natalie Kingham, the buying director for the Matchesfashion.com.
Lak said, “Showing in February and dropping [into the stores] in June doesn’t make sense.” He added that showing a line and selling it to consumers should be appropriate to when she would be wearing the outfit.
It was an interesting comment given that Matchesfashion was using the pop-up event not only to bring in new customers to the site, but also to preview some new brands such as Sies Marjan, which is slated to become available on the site in August.
Lak, the former head of design at Dries Van Noten, was hired to create the brand by Joey Laurenti, the label’s chief executive officer. The brand is positioned as a new American luxury women’s ready-to-wear label. It was launched for fall 2016 during New York Fashion Week in February.
Lak also spoke about fashion week, and how “everyone is choosing their own way of doing things.” He said most companies for a long time have been sticking to the same format, noting the feeling that if one doesn’t do a fashion show, then it might be harder to get interest for the brand. He said that as things are shifting in the industry, “as a new brand we can do what we want versus following the system.”
Kingham said she’s always looking for effortless pieces that are easy to put into a wardrobe, although it’s okay if they look complicated. And she likes to meet with the designers to get a sense of what they like. She also noted that she can find a new brand through any number of ways, once even through Instagram, which is how she found Anna October.
Lak said he enjoys those meetings as part of his design process. “I am not an artist. I make clothes….I have to think about what will work.” He noted that at one point his design framework was about making a fashion statement and then “dumbing it down for the public. That doesn’t seem to work anymore,” explaining that “dumbing it down” meant taking a product and using polyester as the fabrication.
Lak also rejected the idea some have of designers going through a “tortured” process when creating designs for a season. “That idea is old fashion. Yes, I torture myself, but it’s because the fabric [I need] didn’t arrive on time” and I need it for something like the color palette depends on it.