Like many of her designer peers, Rebecca Minkoff is focused on how to keep her eponymous brand ahead of the curve on industry issues like sustainability and diversity.
Minkoff and her brother and CEO Uri Minkoff have long been leaders in the digital space, from establishing in-store technology that integrates smart mirrors into fitting rooms, to deploying drones at New York Fashion Week. The company’s next task is finding ways to engage shoppers as they grow increasingly interested in issues like environmentally friendly material sourcing, the impact of fast fashion, and a lack of variety in size and race on the runway.
We spoke with Minkoff about how she’s tackling some of the biggest challenges in the fashion industry right now. The interview was edited lightly for clarity.
How are you incorporating sustainability into your business?
The rise of fast fashion has had the biggest impact on sustainability. By making our show “see-buy-wear,” you’re now buying the real thing. It’s not 24-hour fast fashion, it’s the real thing available to you now, and that cuts fast fashion off at the knees because a girl can buy our clothing without waiting for it to be copied. If more people did that then fast fashion would have nothing to offer and a bulk of that waste will go away.
How does diversity, both in size and race, factor into the way you design and structure your runway shows?
We offer a range from zero to 10. We used to offer larger sizes and they were not purchased, so we decided not to keep offering something that wasn’t wanted. As far as diversity, my company is 115 people plus, mostly women, and every ethnicity you could want. If you look at our runway shows, I don’t just use white girls. I have a very diverse demographic that I cater to. Our customer base over-indexes with Hispanic, Asian and African American. Caucasians are actually the smallest part of our customer base.
You’re huge on Snapchat and Instagram. How do you use these social platforms to enhance your brand and share your personality?
Talking to our consumer is our number one priority. And she’s living on Snapchat; she’s living on Instagram. So if I can be that best friend to her every day, whether she’s buying or not, content is king. We just want to be there with her in all of important moments.
How would you describe your approach to customer service?
A millennial customer really wants to guide and decide how she wants to be treated when she walks into a store. You know exactly from the moment she walks in that she tailors the experience to herself, and she appreciates us for knowing that. If I get approached in a store, I walk out. I don’t want anyone to talk to me. Not because I’m mean, but because I’m in my own world. It’s the only time of day I get to be alone, without my kids or at work. I just want to shop.
Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping