Inverted Edge x InterviewFriday, May 09, 2014
Inverted Edge is a super rad online shopping platform featuring independent contemporary fashion designers (if you haven't checked them out, you really should). This is the to-go place for people who enjoy shopping for high quality designer pieces!
So happy to be able to interview founder Debra Langley for this post :)
She's such an inspiration!
Interview with Founder Debra Langley
1. What inspired you to start Inverted Edge?
DEBRA: Over the past few years and particularly when I was running DKNY JEANS International, I kept encountering collections and pieces from new designers all over the world who had what I would call a global design sensibility, i.e. I could imagine different friends and I wearing these items, even though we live in different countries and we're of course all different shapes. And at the same time, I could see there was a growing trend amongst savvy shoppers to mix things up in order to reflect their individual style, i.e. a little High Street, a little luxe, maybe some vintage, and a dash of new contemporary designers who were unknown or just starting to be known.
But what I could also see was that often independent designers weren't able to get traction beyond their domestic markets, so putting all this together, I saw an opportunity to curate a collection of designers whose fashion would appeal to a global audience, and at the same time help to raise the profile of those individuals who we felt were ready to sell to a larger cross-border audience.
We began with designers from Asia Pacific because we wanted to support the best internationally-ready talent around us. The designers in our roster often epitomize the global citizen we’re selling to: they were educated at great design schools around the world, have worked with well-known brands in the US, UK or Europe, and are now building audiences back home. Our role is to help raise their profile around the world and contribute to their growth and success.
Actually, there are many amazing independent designers from other parts of the world who want us to carry their collections, and some days we're inundated with inquiries. We're open to working with them in order to be able to deliver an interesting, enticing and high-quality collection to an international audience in Singapore and beyond.
2. How do you think Inverted Edge differentiates itself from the other online retail offerings?
DEBRA: We differentiate ourselves from our online competitors through the following:
- Our curation point of view, which differs from our competitors. The ethos behind Inverted Edge is not simply following fashion, it is about shining a light on internationally-ready designers, and
helping them share their creative vision with a wider audience. But having a great vision isn't necessarily commercial, and we also need to ensure that the designer mix holds together and makes sense from a retail merchandising point of view.
- Our exclusive collaborative capsules and singular pieces. For example, with our Exclusives category,
customers have an opportunity to purchase something very special that the designer may have made as a singular piece for an event or show, or for a collection and for whatever reason (often cost) it didn't get made. So we see this as a chance for those of our customers who covet unique items to own something that no one else has.
- Our styling service at our showroom.
In Singapore, we also offer a real world styling service, where customers can come alone or in small groups to our showroom to shop the collection with our stylists. We are one of the few places where you can try product from more than 50 different independent designers from the region who aren’t readily available in stores. And then there’s the fun that comes from a group of women shopping a private collection with their own personal stylist - every woman’s dream! Many of them will then shop online after that, or come back with a different group of friends. We have one incredible customer who moved back to New York and still shops with us!
3. How did you first become interested in fashion?
DEBRA: I have been interested in fashion for many years, but it was really while running DKNY JEANS International (for which I ran all markets except North and South America) and seeing so much more of the opportunity in the industry - particularly from the perspective of the impact of technology, i.e. ecommerce, social media and mobile capability - that this interest became more of a passion.
4. Describe your personal style. Any influences or inspirations?
DEBRA: My personal style is very pared down and minimal; I'm an unfussy, unfrilly person! I love monochrome, maybe with a pop colour in choice of accessories because it's easy and goes so readily from day to night and from one occasion to another. I like Celine and Alexander Wang, and from our current collection, I'm obsessing a bit over Raoul.
5. Having lived in different countries, what do you think of the fashion scene in Singapore as compared to the other cities you’ve lived in?
DEBRA: I think the fashion scene in Singapore is very vibrant, increasingly sophisticated and has great promise in terms of the opportunity to create compelling multi-channel experiences. We're at more than 76% web penetration here and 80%+ smart phone usage, with the ability to get to a physical space very readily for an event. And social media is very powerful here. We're just constrained because of our climate: i.e. it's tricky to get into awesome Fall Winter layering and cool use of new fabrics when it's always so hot.
Inverted Edge will be holding a one day only shopping affair this Saturday!
RSVP now (through their website) and stand a chance to go home with awesome prizes ♥︎