How Top Luxury Designers Are Finding Opportunity in Challenging Times

It isn’t easy to succeed in today’s luxury marketplace. Competition is more fierce than ever before, and the retail climate continues to undergo dramatic changes.

But Sophia Webster, Pierre Hardy, Rick Owens and Tabitha Simmons are determined to make 2017 a strong year. Here, they sound off on store expansion, digital growth and perfecting product and deliveries.

Sophia Webster, founder and creative director, Sophia Webster

The opportunities: “It was incredibly exciting opening our first brick-and-mortar boutique in London, and we’re excited to roll out more stores globally in key destinations as well as continue to strengthen our omnichannel business to make for a seamless consumer experience.”

The challenges: “Our company has grown tremendously, especially in the last year, and that has afforded us a lot of opportunity. At the same time, one of the biggest challenges is finding a way to grow and take on new things. We are fortunate in that we often have new ideas, projects and potential collaborations come across to us, and it’s about identifying what’s right for the brand and true to my vision.”

The investment: “The biggest investment definitely begins and ends with the production of my shoes and bags. With each collection, we all join heads together to produce a high quality, luxury product. We are constantly in meetings and fittings, making adjustments here and there, to ensure the finished product is something we can all be proud of.”

Pierre Hardy, founder and creative director, Pierre Hardy

Pierre Hardy spring 2017
Pierre Hardy presents his spring 2017 collection at Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

The opportunity: “To continue developing our e-commerce platforms.”

The challenges: “Strengthening our retail performance in Japan and reinforcing our global brand awareness. From a product perspective, continuing to develop our handbag and accessories collections.”

The investments: “People. In 2017, we will be adding several members to the team within all divisions. We are also investing in new ways of visual communication, marketing and PR.”

Rick Owens, founder and creative director, Rick Owens

The opportunity and challenge: “To express positive energy and help maintain the universal balance between rigid conformity and full-on anarchy. I intend to get more reckless and go as full-on weird when I possibly can.”

Looking back at 2016: “I wish I had been completely and serenely imperturbable. There were a few moments where I wasn’t.”

Rick Owens
Rick Owens works on a fall ’16 men’s look.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

Tabitha Simmons, founder and creative director, Tabitha Simmons

The opportunity: “We have great opportunities to grow within our partnerships and expand in other markets we aren’t yet in.”

The challenge: “Making sure our deliveries are on time and have the right product in season.”

Tabitha Simmons Celebrity Statement Shoes Spring 2016
April 2016: Tabitha Simmons stepped out in her own design for the Tory Sport store opening in New York.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock.
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