An increasing shift to see-now-buy-now, more brands departing the traditional fashion calendar and shows, finding ways to market to consumers in an increasingly crowded online environment and navigating today’s shifting consumer shopping habits are some of the biggest challenges the fashion industry has faced — this year alone.
To dive deeper into these topics and get an insider’s perspective, Glossy spent a portion of our first year producing weekly podcasts that called attention to some of fashion’s biggest emerging designers — including Tanya Taylor and Timo Weiland, who divulged how they’re building their brands. We also featured Shira Sue Karmi of Launch Collective, who discussed the changing path to success for new designers. (Hint: It no longer involves Vogue and Barneys.)
We spoke to digital editors from Harper’s Bazaar and Teen Vogue about the evolving nature of fashion media, and the differences between print and online properties. We also chatted with Clique Media Group’s founder and CEO Katherine Power, who discussed creating content and distributing it on digitally native publication WhoWhatWear and social-based brand Obsessee.
The list goes on. To make catching up slightly easier for you — and to offer you some entertainment for your holiday travels — we decided to recap the top five podcasts of the year, in no particular order.
Alan Tisch, founder and CEO of the Spring shopping app
Alan Tisch joined Glossy’s first-ever podcast to discuss the 2013 launch of the mobile shopping app Spring, as well as how it coined the term “conversation commerce” by way of Facebook Messenger. Spring — a platform which aims to cut out the middlemen (department stores), as well as their markups and sale culture — gives brands control by allowing them to choose their own images, set prices and control their individual branding. “We’re giving brands the best part of selling direct, which is margins, data and control,” Tisch said.
Vanessa Friedman, New York Times’ fashion director and chief style critic
Vanessa Friedman discussed the changing nature of fashion media and telling stories across different mediums. (While at the most recent fashion weeks around the globe, Friedman offered readers a glimpse of the not-so-glamorous aspect of filing stories at all hours of the day, due to time differences.) In addition, Friedman argued that brands shouldn’t be too quick to listen to their customers and change their entire business models just because shoppers want to buy something as soon as they see it. She said designers still need to lead, and having a six-month period between seeing fashion shows and production time allows fashion to be a leading authority.
“If [fashion brands] listen too much to what people want, [they] can’t lead them — and that’s what [they] should be doing as a company.”
Tanya Taylor, designer of her eponymous women’s label
Tanya Taylor took what could be deemed a traditional path into the fashion industry: She was a Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund finalist, and soon after, her clothes appeared in department stores. But Taylor isn’t coasting on that for success. On the podcast, she discussed the uncertainty that comes along with retail, particularly wholesale. Today, Taylor is testing a number of different selling techniques to side-step customer exhaustion of products. Because many pieces in her collection are print-heavy, she is careful to not put every piece in stores. Instead, she only provides a selection of them — she featured three out of 12 prints at Saks Fifth Avenue, when the retailer sold its Spring 2017 collection.
Jen Hyman, founder and CEO of Rent the Runway
Jen Hyman has big goals: that every woman will eventually have some sort of subscription to fashion and rent an element of her wardrobe. Hyman discussed the initial challenges Rent the Runway faced, from convincing consumers that renting clothing wasn’t gross to getting brands onboard — she said brands were very skeptical when the company launched, seven years ago. Brands initially thought a clothing-rental model would cannibalize retail, she said — however, consumers’ rental habits revealed they choose very different clothes than what they buy. Hyman also discussed the crucial role data analytics play. Her company’s team of 13 engineers, data scientists and analysts are the oil that allows the Rent the Runway machine to have one-day turnarounds: Items can be returned, cleaned, repaired and out to a new consumer within 24 hours.
Ali Weiss, Glossier’s vp of growth
Weiss (who has no relation to Glossier’s founder, Emily Weiss) joined the Glossy podcast to discuss how the Glossier brand was built out of its founder’s extremely popular blog, Into the Gloss, and how it relies on social media to expand its extremely loyal following. Glossier isn’t looking to be its consumers’ sole beauty brand, Weiss said – instead, using social media, it seeks to find what gaps it can fill in its users’ beauty cabinets. Glossier takes a skin-first, makeup-second approach to its products, which include face wash, moisturizers, lip balms, highlighters and serums — which seems to work, as it continues to go from strong to stronger: It had to recast its projected revenue twice this year, and it used a funding injection of $24 million to open its first retail showroom.