When Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake took her company public in 2017, her pitch was a little bit rusty. Stitch Fix’s IPO, which valued it at nearly $2 billion, was the biggest exit for an e-commerce company last year. Now, the company has to prove it can continue to recruit new customers -- on top of the more than 2 million who use Stitch Fix already, according to its S-1 -- if it wants to keep growing. For the first few years of business, Stitch Fix did little paid marketing, relying on word of mouth and organic growth to bring in new users. That’s changing, as the company figures out the best ways to reach potential customers, and it’s top of mind for Lake as she navigates her first year at the head of a public company. Lake joined the Glossy Podcast to discuss Stitch Fix’s category expansions and marketing push, plus the changing customer behavior it’s both leading the way for and adjusting to.
Finery co-founders Brooklyn Decker and Whitney Casey, in an attempt to create the ultimate virtual closet, confronted the issue that caused all the versions that came before them to fail: They removed as much manual work as they could. For inspiration, Decker and Casey looked to similar life-simplifying apps for other industries, like Mint for finances and TripIt for travel itineraries (rather than the idealistic “Clueless” closet other virtual companies have claimed to build). From there, they spent a year and a half building proprietary technology with a team of coders that can pull together every wardrobe-related online purchase a user’s made by combing a linked email inbox for receipts. Decker joined the Glossy Podcast to talk about Finery’s obstacles, goals and future potential. Edited highlights below.
There are only a few aspects of the runway show that Rebecca Taylor misses: the way the clothes move down the catwalk, the post-show euphoria (before any critiques come in) and all the congratulations. But to her, all of that amounts to only 5 percent of a show production. This New York Fashion Week, Taylor has been showing her collections -- the entirety of which are meant to be sold commercially -- in one-on-one appointments with buyers in her showroom. There she can discuss every item in detail, express her inspiration and get direct feedback from a valuable, if selective, audience. Taylor joined the Glossy Podcast to discuss the evolution of her relationship with the runway show, her decision to break away from the in-season model and the role technology has played in her collections.
Ken Downing, the fashion director and svp at Neiman Marcus, will see just under 100 fashion shows this season. That's a light year. It used to be about 120 overall -- and at one point, it was that many shows in New York alone. Things are changing. As designers change the ways they show their collections -- be it on the runway, in private appointments at showrooms or at presentations -- the buyer's job is ultimately unchanged, according to Downing. On an episode of the Glossy Podcast's NYFW series, Downing reflected on the future of the fashion show and how the CFDA's role is shaping the path forward for the industry.
As other designers reconsider the role that runway plays in their businesses, Alice McCall is just getting started at New York Fashion Week. For her debut runway show, which took place Saturday morning, the Australia-based designer said she embraced the exact elements of the production that others find to be distracting. That included planning the music; choosing the hair and makeup, and coordinating accessories; overseeing model castings and even designing punchier products that make for a splash on the runway. It all had to come together fairly quickly, too, as it was only in December when McCall decided to show in New York. For the latest episode of the Glossy Podcast’s NYFW series, she shared what she believes to be the benefits of a traditionally formatted runway show, which includes a “spicier” collection, specially designed shoes and bags, and the runway’s lasting halo effect.
Celine Semaan, the CEO and designer at the sustainable fashion and accessories brand Slow Factory, realizes that running her own fashion brand is, in and of itself, an unsustainable exercise. During New York Fashion Week, Semaan hosted an event about sustainability, technology and human rights in the fashion industry because, as she put it, she wants to do her part to mobilize the industry to taking steps, no matter how small, toward becoming more sustainable. She also planned to watch out for meaningful messages around change during the runway shows, now that being considered an activist brand is considered cool. Semaan spoke to how the customer-brand dynamic is changing, what she expects to see during NYFW and how even fast-fashion companies are making headway.
Vicky Yang, a talent and digital strategy manager at the talent agency The Society Management, has picked up a few new tricks over the last several years. While managing modeling jobs and schedules for the company's roster of talent, Yang now also deals with the daily schedules, PR and brand contracts for the group of influencers (called "creatives" internally) she now represents. Yang joined the special NYFW edition of the Glossy Podcast to discuss how her role has changed in the digital age, how traditional modeling management has kept up and how the front row has evolved.
Designer Audra Noyes has put in hours working at luxury fashion houses Lanvin and Ralph Lauren. But she's always had her sights set on putting on a fashion show of her own. And her brand, Audra, held a spot on the official NYFW runway calendar for nine seasons. But this year, she’s taken business behind closed doors, deciding not to host a show but to instead host private appointments with editors, buyers and influencers. Noyes joined the Glossy Podcast to discuss her departure from the runway, how a wholesale brand can still have a direct and intimate relationship with customers, and what she wishes she had known when she was first starting out.