Women’s designers Isa Tapia, Heather Williams of H Williams and duo Jury Artola and Olga Grib of men’s brand Artola joined forces at FN Platform for a panel Monday, hosted by Fashion Editor Christian Allaire.
Topics ranged from inspirations and spring ’16 trends to social media, the sweet spot for price points and challenges for emerging brands.
Here are some of the highlights:
Spring ’16 Hot Trends
Jury Artola: “Skate shoe-inspired footwear and a bohemian category that is vintage-inspired.
Olga Grib: “Men are finally open to wearing more color.”
Heather Williams: “The bohemian trend, with a very modern upper. We also have a sneaker, but infused with our style and background.”
Isa Tapia: “I’m currently obsessed with slides. We are branching out to sneakers as well.”
Tapia: “I have pictures of people on the subway — I kind of creep.”
Williams: “A theme of architecture. [My husband and I] just got married, and my husband is kind of a closet nerd, so I also incorporate pieces of the anime [cartoon world].”
Artola: “My inspiration comes from small boutique museums and hip-hop and classical music.”
Standing Out in a Crowded Market
Tapia: “If you have a very strong brand identity and point of view, you will succeed.”
Williams: “Do more with less and consumers will see your signature style.”
Grib: “We are super-excited that the men’s market isn’t a snoozefest anymore. In the fashion business, you have to balance the business side to make it [wearable and appealing] for the consumer.”
Are Customers and Retailers Willing To Take More Risks?
Grib: “Men’s buyers are not afraid to experiment. We still infuse fashion into each category.”
Williams: “Fast fashion used to be cheap, but now the consumer is getting it. And they’re open to wearing more crazy colors.”
Hot Trends You Won’t Try
Artola: “Mixing materials and colors doesn’t make sense for our market.”
Using Social Media To Fuel Sales
Tapia: “I’m taking photos of shoes wherever I go to post. [Instagram] is a great platform for brand identity.”
Williams: “I took a break, and when I re-launched in 2014, I realized I had to get my own voice on social.”
Artola: “We use Facebook and Instagram to reach our consumers directly. As a small business, we hear all of their feedback.”
The Right Price
Williams: “I dropped my prices this season to help the brand sell while keeping the quality [intact].”
Tapia: “I tend to think of price points as how I shop. I know how to build a luxury and more expensive shoe, but that’s not what I’m buying.”
Grib: “There needs to be a price variation among styles. We have a range of prices to keep up with the competition.”