New York Fashion Week (“NYFW”) unveiled the 2018 Spring/Summer (“SS”) collections to start the bi-annual global fashion season, which showcased the collaborative efforts behind the brands and the gamut of upcoming flowering talent. During NYFW, the Luxe.CO team and students of Orange Bay University took part in a one-week field trip to New York City (“NYC”) to gain insight into the US fashion industry.
11 September was the busiest day for the group, with a full schedule of visits to the Hearst Tower, the Elie Saab flagship store on Madison Avenue, Amazon Books, other fashion shows, and the first live broadcast of an Orange Bay University open class from Central Park, which enabled those curious about “Orange Baying” fashion business education to experience a real class.
- Visit to Hearst Tower
Hearst, one of the biggest media giants in the world, is a mass media and business information conglomerate in the US. The core business of the company is comprised of newspapers, magazines, TV channels, TV stations, and business information. Hearst publishes about 300 magazines in more than 100 countries, including EllE, Cosmopolitan, ELLE DECOR, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s BAZAAR, Popular Mechanics, and Seventeen.
Hearst Magazines International (“HMI”) Senior Vice President, Editorial & Brand Director Kim St. Clair Bodden presented to the group the development and global strategy of the company, as well as the different positions of its variety of magazines. Ms. Bodden also talked about the heritage of its brand and DNA.
Guided by Lou Nowikas, Vice President Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Planning at Hearst Corporation, the group learned more about Hearst Tower’s unique design and history, as well as interesting stories about the development of New York’s green spaces and the evolution of the city throughout the years. Mr. Nowikas also showed the group the experimental room of the magazine Good Housekeeping. After the visit, the students commented that “the magazine represented the supposed relationship between consumers and female media, which is through a continuing investigation of consumers’ needs, the media would continue to provide value-added products to its readers.”
- Orange Bay University’s Open Class
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on 11 September, Orange Bay University successfully held its first live open class in Central Park, which was broadcasted online real time. First batch of the students from Orange Bay University who were participating in the NYC tour presented a case study of Stitch Fix, an e-commerce and retail fashion business.
Stitch Fix is an online fashion company that was founded by Katrina Lake in 2011. The company built an ideal fashion retail model that provides customized styling services online, which reduces in-stock stress and realizes retailing customization. Customers of Stitch Fix fill out an online survey about their style preferences. From the survey answers and authorization to access users’ social medias, stylists from the company choose five items and send them to the customers every month on a scheduled date referred as the “Fix”.
The students studied the case of Stitch Fix, which included the experience of its founder, the company’s development, its business model, and the utilization of big data and AI technology. In the open class, the teacher and the students debated the reasons why Stitch Fix stood apart from other monthly subscription e-commerce companies, and hence becoming the “tech geek” in the fashion industry.
- Visit to Elie Saab’s Flagship Store on Madison Avenue
Elie Saab opened its flagship US store on Madison Avenue in March 2017, representing its eighth store worldwide. The store’s manager, June Haynes, explained the choice of the location, the interior design, and the operation of the store. During the in-store tour of ready-to-wear clothing and accessories as well as the visual merchandising practise, Ms. Haynes passionately introduced the history and heritage of the brand. Elie Saab is currently listed as one of the case studies in the “Luxury Operation and Management” course at Orange Bay University.
As a self-trained designer, Elie Saab established his studio in Beirut, Lebanon, when he was 18. He specialized in bridal couture, which made him one of the most respected and famous designers globally. In 2005, Mr. Saab started his ready-to-wear line in Milan, as well as an accessories line.
In 2015, the designer’s namesake brand Elie Saab included a sunglasses line in cooperation with the Safilo Group, the second biggest eyewear manufacturer and luxury company in Italy. Elie Saab recently also launched a perfume called “Girl of Now.” In April 2016, Elie Saab introduced the brand’s new bridal collection, “Elie Saab Bridal.” Meanwhile, the company opened flagship stores in London and New York, in addition to operating several boutiques in Dubai, Beirut, Hong Kong, and Paris.
- Visit to Amazon Books
Amazon opened its physical bookstore, located at Columbus Circle, in November 2015, where the highest-ranked and most ordered books line the shelves. In considering selling books, Amazon also took into account the top lists and comments from the most popular American book commentary website, Goodreads. In addition to books, consumers can try out and buy reading devices such as Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet.
The group visited Amazon Books and met with the founder of OIB, Wu Zhigang. The students commented that “Amazon Books fully utilized the synergy between the big data of online user statistics and physical retail stores, especially data from the analytical results of users’ searching behaviour, number of likes, content of comments, and saving and purchasing records. It has highly improved the sales performance of retail stores and customer satisfaction. Big data has become more than a digital tool; it is now a driver of consumers’ purchasing behaviour, which showcases the future of retail business.”
- Participation in LANYU 2018 SS Fashion Show
This was the third time the Chinese designer Lan Yu, who specializes in women’s couture, has been invited to take part in NYFW. Set to the melody of “Vain Longing,” the theme music of the television show A Dream of Red Mansions, based on the famous classical Chinese novel, the show opened with supermodel Taja Feistner, who was dressed in a white wool outfit stitched with lace in an asymmetric, aesthetic design.
The front row was filled with famous people such as the American actress Katie Holmes, the Brazilian actor and philanthropist Gabriela Dias, and Chinese celebrities Pan Xiaoting, Yang Yang, and Li Siyu.
Inspired by the Qinhuai River and the Confucius Temple in Nan Jiang, Lan Yu specially designed 10 pieces of couture in collaboration with “Nan Jing Week”, which included a series of artistic and creative events that fully expressed the attractiveness and creativity of traditional Nan Jing handcrafted items, such as Yun Jin fabric (one inch of which is worth one inch of gold) and traditional gold foil craft, with its history of 1,700 years.
About 20 Chinese designers showcased their new collections during NYFW. On 9 and 10 September, the group also attended the fashion shows of Taoray Wang and Vivienne Tam (please refer to the previous journal entries).