Newbie designer and all-round brills person Ashley Williams has collaborated with Selfridges. The launch of this fun link-up, planned around the Denim Studio’s 1st anniversary, is taking place tonight and I’ll be there to see it up close.
This range is a clever way of a retailer and a designer working together to test the waters – here’s why.
The capsule comprises eight Autumn/Winter 2014 designs, but each given a denim spin. So there’s the amazing leather horse jacket and dress, re-imagined in denim, an exclusive motif of western style dancers on a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans and the cat print on a white tee that’s perfect for pairing with true blues. Easier & cheaper to buy into than leather, no?
Instead of buying Ashley’s mainline collection, Selfridges have been clever in setting themselves apart from their competitors and dipping their toe into the Ashley pool at the same time. They have been able to work with an emerging designer on their terms, collaborating on the product itself – utilising the designer’s nous and the retailer’s rep as a denim destination. With a prestigious launch event and the press-worthy story backing the partnership up, Selfridges is able to see how the goods perform in store and test Ashley product on their customer to see if she’s a worthwhile investment for future seasons (if you ask me – duh.)
I’d like to see more of this in the future. Sure, I’ve heard plenty of stores asking for an exclusive on a style or a colour way to give them the edge over other retailers, but why not ask for specific tweaks, or plan product with the designer personally to utilise the retailer’s large-scale production knowledge/expert contacts and the designer’s idiosyncratic vision? After all, if there’s one thing that designers could use a leg up with it’s getting their garments made by the right factories to achieve the right price, and then ultimately achieve the right sell-through. It’s all good for everyone.