Inside Retail: What were some of the interesting lessons you learnt while working at Marc Jacobs and Alannah Hill and how have they helped shape the entrepreneur that you are now?
LC: Working at Alannah Hill gave me a great insight into the running of a SME, and I saw first hand how important staff is to a business and how they can either make or break you. The power of e-commerce was a striking component of work with Marc Jacobs. I assisted the sales teams during market week appointments and so many of the big department stores and it was interesting to learn that each of their e-commerce sites had their own dedicated buyers and that products selected by the store buyers and the digital buyers were often different – what worked on the shop floor – wouldn’t necessarily translate into the digital space. E-commerce was still a fledgling market – Myer and David Jones didn’t even have e-commerce departments! Most people didn’t have the confidence to shop online – it was foreign and risky, the biggest marketplace locally was eBay and Facebook had just moved from colleges to mainstream! How far we’ve come since then.
Inside Retail: Where do you see premium fashion going in 2021 and what are some of the interesting trends on your radar right now?
LC: As we are still “mid-pandemic” we are still going to be seeing a lot of fashion comfort wear like high end track sets and leisure knit sets. Think min rib loose tees and cropped sweatpants in neutral tones and more sporty versions with a 70s twist for outdoor adventures. When the cooler months arrive, we will be layering with trench coats, fun puffers, and nostalgic flannel. The other important trend for 2021 (and beyond) is closed loop fashion and to me is the most fascinating element to establish itself firmly in the mainstream during 2020. The ability to enjoy your items – wear them, love them and then be able to recycle them into new items to love and enjoy (endlessly) is a great premise particularly when you look deeply into the environmental implications of indulging in fast fashion. We focus a lot on sustainable fashion – it’s extremely important to me that we protect the future of our planet wherever and whenever possible.
Inside Retail: What are some of the coolest brands that you’ve got your eye on?
LC: Finding the right mix between casual and dressed up has been the challenge of 2020 and I am sure things will remain similar for ‘21. I have been looking to the following local brands to fill those gaps in my wardrobe: Acler based out of Adelaide, the design team now show to make a killer trench coat and pitch perfect separates with inspired detailing; For a more laid-back look I am loving ARTHUR Apparel it’s collection is very retro and super cool. I am living in their tie dye tees and shorts this summer. International brands I have been obsessing over include Sandy Liang, a New York based designer with some awesome 90s fashion vibes and a great unisex line. A great brand I discovered during quarantine is Les Girls Les Boys, colour blocked tracksuit sets which are organic and ethically made. So good!
Inside Retail: How would you describe the Australian and international fashion landscape right now?
LC: We are currently in a state of flux, some businesses are going from strength to strength while others have been struggling or have excited the race. It’s been a hard year for most people, and I think we are definitely seeing a shift in the mentality of where people are choosing to shop and what they think about the products that they are purchasing. Who are they supporting when they make a purchase and how in turn is that business supporting their community of makers, employees, and the planet? We are in the midst of a long overdue revolution. There has definitely been a lot of light shed on the mal practice of fast fashion.
Inside Retail: What do you think is the key to curating the ideal mix of pieces? It is such a crowded market out there, how do you select the best for your customers?
LC: I look at sales data, I study trends but when it comes to making the final buying decisions, I really follow my intuition a lot – I need to feel confident about the brand, support the design aesthetic, support the fabrication choices and the craftsmanship. If I don’t fall in love with it when it finally arrives at the office and it’s a letdown – I know it won’t sell.