The runway show of Pamella Roland, who launched her namesake fashion brand 22 years ago, is a New York Fashion Week staple. As Roland tells it, she’s shown a seasonal collection at the event every season, except for during the pandemic and a hectic headquarters move. It’s an opportunity for her to show her latest work to her retail partners, including Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman — hangers don’t do the styles justice, she said. It’s also a chance to earn new brand fans. They already include Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie and Madonna, based on their support for the brand on the red carpet.
On this New York Fashion Week episode of the Glossy Podcast, Roland discusses her secrets to longevity in fashion, including how her business has evolved. She also shares what she’s come to believe about the importance of retail partners, community and fashion week. The below highlights from the conversation have been lightly edited for clarity.
Market diversification as a brand safeguard
“Our customer in the Middle East never stopped shopping [during the pandemic]. They would be calling us, saying, ‘We need this dress. We’re still doing this and that.” So that kept us going. And then we launched a small collection that was a less expensive line. We kept pretty busy, actually. [The pandemic] didn’t bother our business too much. … The international business is growing.”
Experience equals speed
“One of the successes of our businesses is how great our production is and how quickly we’re able to get our things out, compared to before. We obviously know so much more now. And we just have a great team, who works hard to get things out. And that’s one thing our retailers say to us: If they need something quickly, they can get it from us.”
Answering consumer demand
“We have all different types of customers. I always say that we dress the daughters, the mothers and the grandmothers. … At Harrods, the bigger, the better. We can sell the dresses — huge, expensive dresses. And we also have some [retailers] saying, ‘Hey, can you get the price points down a little?’ And we work at trying to do that. We work with our customers and our retailers very well. We listen to them. I think that’s why I’m still in business: I listen to what they need and want. It’s not necessarily about what I want. I want to be able to run my business and keep it going. So I listen to what they want. We are doing things more comfortably now, I have to say. We’re doing a little more suits — women are wearing more pantsuits again — and they have waistbands with nice ease.”