Mary Alice Malone, co-founder and designer of her namesake label, is dealing with the effects of coronavirus like the rest of the industry by remaining as flexible as possible.
While many luxury labels are in the midst of figuring out how they will forge ahead and address fashion’s now-disrupted calendar, Malone said her brand is staying the course for the fall and spring ’21 seasons.
“Everyone needs to do what’s best for them,” she told FN. “For some, maybe it is skipping a season. For others, maybe it’s going forward and doing the best you can with what is the regular schedule. Being small, you get the opportunity to be light and agile and switch things up very quickly.”
Watch on FN
Malone Souliers will continue to release 2021 collections as normal, but will modify as needed — including, for instance, presenting digitally for wholesale partners.
So far, the brand, which brought on Steven Hope — an expert in Chinese e-commerce — as CEO in 2018, has remained stable during the pandemic, she said.
And though production has stalled in Italy, Malone is hard at work on the creative side of the business. “The creativity never really stops,” she said. “We still have a collection to sell and we are still doing that.”
Despite ongoing disruption with department stores and in other areas of brick-and-mortar retail, the designer said e-commerce has remained steady, with customers buying both daywear styles and high heels.
“We’ve been planning to focus on that more over the past year, now it’s heightened,” said Malone on online sales. “We haven’t changed direction of the company, but at the moment, e-commerce is the one thing we can control right now.”
And while keeping the business strong is the No. 1 goal, Malone is taking the time to support those in need during the pandemic. For the month of May, she will donate 20% of revenues from all full-priced shoes to two international charities: Médecins Sans Frontières and The Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving.
The former is an international, independent medical humanitarian organization, currently providing assistance worldwide to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter is focusing much of its latest efforts on The Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provides long-term relief and recovery in vulnerable communities during this time.
As Malone continues to be optimistic about fashion’s ability to bounce back after hard times, she said she’s found that time spent being “inactive” can be “equally as important” as time devoted to work.
“I love my business. I love what I do,” she added. “And we are very non-essential. But, it’s out of my control. Sometimes the world just tells you to sit back and wait.”