New York Fashion Week is in full swing and now, more than ever, beauty brands are clamoring to be a part of it.
Indie skin-care brands, in particular, are infiltrating the fashion calendar, which is dominated by major brands like Maybelline and Tresemmé. Luxury brand 111Skin appeared backstage at Brandon Maxwell on February 9, K-beauty brand Whal Myung partnered with Prabal Gurung on February 10 and Bawdy Beauty, a sheet mask brand focused on rear ends, collaborated with Chromat on Friday. Bawdy is using NYFW as an opportunity to create awareness ahead of its debut in 400 Ulta stores in May. Currently the brand is sold at Riley Rose, Credo and Free People.
“We can become the beauty product on every counter backstage for those [designers] who show more skin. Just like you always see mascara and hair products, you will see our products,” said Sylwia Wiesenberg, founder and CEO of Bawdy Beauty.
Wiesenberg spoke to Glossy about what defines NYFW’s value, why now is the right time for Bawdy to appear backstage and how the concept of wellness is infiltrating fashion.
Makeup brands usually get the most attention at NYFW. Why are the shows important for a skin-care brand to be a part of?
Makeup is a part of fashion, but I think women today are interested in more than just makeup. They also want to focus on skin care and their bodies. NYFW is the most important fashion week in the world. You have amazing brands, and it attracts celebrities, editors and influencers. Fashion is no longer just, “Let’s put on a beautiful dress.” It’s about lifestyle. I bet that in the next few years, we will see more skin-care brands backstage, because real beauty starts with good skin and wellness and self-care. Wellness will be integrated into fashion.
Would you say the real value for your brand during NYFW isn’t just what is seen backstage, but also the opportunity to gift product to editors, celebrities and guests?
Yes, definitely, and also gifting the models who are there. They are the ones who always want to look and feel good. I think it’s important for both indie and big brands to be present and find new angles [to market themselves], because the market is so over-saturated with every product you could want. I may be building my own category [of butt masks], but in two or three years, that category will probably be as crowded as any other skin-care or beauty category.
Why work with Chromat?
I am a big believer in diversity, and I always loved Chromat swimwear. I think we represent the same values: We want to empower women and make them look amazing, and feel confident and sexy. Last year, Chromat introduced plus-size models, models with prosthetic legs and trans [activists], so that people can talk about these things and feel free and unembarrassed. You wouldn’t reject the idea now that a plus-size woman would be interested in a bikini. I need that kind of inclusiveness. A lot of people ask questions around why they should [use Bawdy]. I say it’s a self-care item; I want people to be proud of what they see.
How are you measuring the success of this partnership?
After the show, I will see how many new followers we get and how many people express interest in the product, whether they are artists, editors or models. It’s about building excitement and controversy in the category. It’s hard to measure the success, but people will be talking about this, just like when Chromat introduced plus-size models in its show.
It does pay off. It’s kind of like running ads on Instagram — not necessarily in the sense that you will get people to click-through to buy, but that people will remember your brand. It is so important to build brand awareness, because one day, sales will come. A lot of people focus on numbers, but I focus on branding. I think that even if people see the masks and say, ‘I think this is the stupidest idea,’ they will still talk about it.
This article is part of our series on New York Fashion Week. For more NYFW coverage delivered daily to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.