Has the fast fashion backlash really begun or is it all media spin? According to a recent article in The Telegraph, consumers are turning their backs on cheap chic and getting to grips with the ‘buy fewer but better’ message. Not that this is news to me. I would far rather one beautifully made Valextra bag than ten cheaper ‘fashion’ items but I’ve always preferred the classics over anything obviously ‘of the moment’ (Celine’s box bag excluded). Which brings me to My-Wardrobe. What great timing for it to relaunch with its ‘everyday luxury’ tag. I’ve always liked the buy at My-Wardrobe, it’s pitched at the working woman with both entry level and luxury price points but the offer is strictly wearable, not fantasywear (I mean, how many people have that lifestyle?). The My-wardrobe muse is – not surprisingly – founder Sarah Curran herself, who embodies the fashion-literate, career-woman customer, from her wear-everywhere Acne blazers to her Camilla Skovgaard heels (“give me a heel that makes me feel like I’m going to do some damage!”).
The relaunch has been marked in a number of ways. My favourites are below:
The importance of styling
My-Wardrobe is the only site that styles each outfit in a variety of ways to maximize sales. “Our customer doesn’t have a separate work wardrobe, a going out wardrobe, a weekend wardrobe,” says Curran, who keeps five customer profiles uppermost in mind at all times. “It’s the whole work-life balance and how the wardrobe fits in. It’s about women getting on with life in a way that looks good.”
The search function works really well. Once you have clicked on dresses you can choose from ten different types, then refine further by Designer, Size and Colour and filter by New In and Price. It’s fast and user-friendly which is important for the time-poor My-Wardrobe customer.
Street style inspired photography
The walls in the old My-Wardrobe offices in Great Portland Street were covered in Scandinavian street style pictures and it was agreed that this approach would work for My-Wardrobe. The editorial has been ramped up with aspirational girl-on-the-go pictures shot on location in London (mostly around their new Camden HQ) rather than in a studio in Nottingham.
Appointing Grazia’s Fiona McIntosh as editorial director (in keeping with the recent trend for print veterans to migrate online), the Daily Buzz features upbeat, bite-sized newsy content to shop from. Strategic co-branded marketing allows quirky collaborations. On the first tights-off day of the year, they were shooting wedges teamed with OPI nail polishes.
Key names that fit the ‘everyday luxury meets effortless style’ mantra include Equipment, Acne, Preen Line, Goat and – new for My-Wardrobe – 3.1 Phillip Lim. Lim sums up the ethos for me. Fairly classic with just enough of a fashion-forward pulse.
Sarah Curran doesn’t do “girly girly”, she wears masculine cut blazers but layers on the rings and “Mr T jewellery”. Which is possibly why the jewellery buy at My-Wardrobe is so strong. At the AW11 press day, I gravitated towards Ioselliani and new to the jewellery offer will be Alexis Bittar and 3.1 Phillip Lim (yes, My-Wardrobe is backing Mr Lim in a big way with lingerie, shoes, the lot). The Lim bling lands in August.
And let’s not forget the men. My-Wardrobe’s men’s division is growning at a healthy rate and will continue to do so under the direction of new head of menswear Troy Munns, who came from ASOS. To celebrate five years of My-Wardrobe, they have launched a hunt for Britain’s best dressed real man with Esquire magazine. Paul Smith and Patrick Grant are on the judging panel and it’s a pretty serious competition – the hunt goes on til September.