Nic Giolla Ein
Contents About Nic Giolla Ă‰in...............................................3 Branding..................................................................4
Consumer Profile.....................................................6 Comfortable Off...........................................7
Play on Reality............................................57
Heelâ€™s & Soles............................................59
2001: A Space Osyssey................................65
Chau Har Lee.............................................28
National Theatre Costume Dept.................84
London Fashion Week...............................45
Reaching the Consumer.........................................46 Supply Chain.........................................................47 Costing...................................................................48
Critical Path...........................................................51 Publicity.................................................................53
About Nic Giolla Éin Nic Giolla Éin is a contemporary luxury brand that creates conceptual, yet accessible footwear for women. The designs take inspiration from the modern world man has created with influences from technology, architecture and futuristic notions. The brand is not the typical luxury that we see today, but a more understated luxury of exclusivity and quality mixed with distinct design. Nic Giolla Éin is a contemporary fashion forward brand that features strong editorial pieces as well as more commercial designs, to cater for a broader range of customers.
Nic Giolla Éin’s designs will feature high quality leathers and exotic materials in addition to a number of new materials and technologies that are available. The designer’s interest in modern technology drives her ambitions to use innovative and challenging materials to evolve the aesthetics of the shoes. With the current economic climate it is seen that people are turning away from the garish bling that can be associated with luxury goods such as D&G, Versace and Dior, and moving towards a more heritage look. Statement logo’s such as Ralph Lauren Polo are now being considered quite showy and over the top. Heritage brands are becoming more popular because people associate them with quality and that is what consumer are seeking from their purchases. It can also be seen that people are looking for more exclusivity when spending large amounts of money and are interested in investing in young designers as they get that individuality aspect with the purchase. Nic Giolla Éin is more interested in ‘Slow Fashion’ rather than the materialistic ideas of the high street. Slow fashion is the “pre-eminence of terminally stylish designs with lasting appeal” (Guardian, 2010). It’s the classic pieces that make up a wardrobe that people seem to have forgotten in recent times, the classic white shirt, brogues, even the camel coat is now making a comeback. People are starting to slow things down and examine the mass consumption we have become accustomed to. Nic Giolla Éin’s designs will feature aspects of classic footwear in addition to more contemporary designs and shapes to bring it up to date.
The brands name originates from the designers surname, in her native language, Irish. The name Mc Clean originated from Scotland and means “Son of the servant of (St) John”. The name is representative of the designer’s strong identity as an Irish designer and incorporates her name in a discrete manor. There are not that many internationally known Irish footwear designers, with the exception of Eileen Shields, Nic Giolla Éin’s aim is to raise the profile of Irish designers and encourage the growth of design within Ireland.
To create high quality women’s footwear with unique materials and high quality design.
To attain a strong base of stockists in the UK and Europe within the first year.
To be ethically responsible where ever possible.
To be featured in the UK’s leading fashion magazines, particularly Vogue.
To source materials and production within Europe.
To break even after the first three years of trading. To hire an assistant after a year and a half of trading.
Branding in not only about attracting a consumer to your product, but it is about conveying the ideals and values of your brand through the text and image used to represent the brand. Creating a logo for your company helps to: Send a clear message Concrete the brand image Connect the consumer emotionally I commissioned a graphic designer to create some logos for my brand, which area work in progress. It is quite hard to find something that truly represents the whole ethos of the brand, so that people can instantly understand what the brand is about.
Luxury Market The clothing and adornment market was worth £46.2 billion in 2009, with luxury and budget ends of the fashion industry has experienced growth in the past decade, however peoples spending has become more conscious with the current financial climate. Far East production has enabled ‘value’ labels to produce ‘fast fashion’ with a disposable attitude. As people are becoming more conscious about their spending they are also becoming more interested in quality pieces that will last longer than one season. Mintel reports that, “the clothing and adornment market is predicted to grow by 11% between 2010 and 2015. This is a slightly faster rate of growth than seen between 2005 and 2010”. This is a promising forecast for Nic Giolla Éin as the premium end of the market is still in quite a healthy position. The designer market will also be less effected by the tax increases and spending cuts as it relies on a small sector of affluent and keen buyers, in addition to international travellers. For approximately one third of the retail market, fashion is considered paramount, and around 20% are shoe lovers, however they buy more shoes and so are proportionately more important to retailers. Over a quarter of retailers only purchase shoes to replace ones that have worn out, only 11% of these are led by price, a larger 23% tend to shop around for comfort and fit. Buying shoes is a treat for young affluent however it is the older affluent that is prepared to pay more for quality.
According to Mintel (2010), “China is the fastestgrowing luxury market, with sales predicted to rise 30% in 2010” so for this reason it will be important to have a presence within the department stores and boutiques to take advantage of this increased luxury spending. The USA has also shown signs of improvement, and the luxury market seems to be through the worst of the recession. It is important that Nic Giolla Éin has an international presence in addition to the strong UK base.
Consumer Profile When trying to define the consumer that would prospectively purchase Nic Giolla Éin’s designs, it was difficult to be realistic about who they would be. It is all too easy to just imagine a wealthier version of myself, and what I, as a designer and consumer aspire to. Initially I had decided to do questionnaires on the street, but upon much consideration I decided that the time spent on such an exercise and the quantity and quality of the results would not equate. I therefore felt that my time would be much better spent looking at ACORN and doing more specific questionnaires. I questioned a small number of people who I know, that purchase luxury shoes and also some people who work in the luxury retail industry. In addition to this primary source I also examined ACORN (A Classification Of Residential Neighborhoods), which is the first leading demographic tool that assesses the complexity of the consumer market in the UK. ACORN breaks down each consumer into different groups to classify them; this makes it easier to understand their spending habits.
The two main groups that Nic Giolla Éin will appeal to is the ‘Wealthy Achiever’ which counts for 21.5% of the UK population, and the ‘Urban Prosperity’ which accounts for 10.7%. Even though the ‘Urban Prosperity’ group is not one of the largest, Nic Giolla Éin will appeal to this market segment more than any of the others. The ‘Starting Off’ sector of the ‘Comfortable Off’ group, which in total accounts for 26.6%, may also be another target consumer. They are at a point of their lives when they are starting to earn a good wage and like to reward themselves every now and again with a splurge. “There’s people in every group who just want brand name status symbols, but with regards to ‘fashion-fashion’ I’d say the difference is young affluents want exclusive underground ‘in the know’ labels. Middle aged want amazing quality items. Wealthy rich men and ladies buy into heritage brands (international heritage, Hermes, Chanel etc as well as British ones)” Ashley Smith, Public Relations. (See appendix A)
Comfortable Off This consumer group is a relatively small one for Nic Giolla Éin but worth considering. It is made up of young couples and white-collar singles or sharers. They are generally quite financially comfortable without being terribly well off. In this category there is a mix of professional, managerial and clerical workers and many of them have few financial worries, and their education is in line with the national average.
“Everybody comes with a different mind-set shaped by their ‘time’, by they’re set-up and up-bringing. The luxury consumer who’s in their 20s now, only know a world that is dominated by labels, where we all validate ourselves through association. Meaning, ‘I wear Nike not Puma because Nike is my tribe.’ The culture 20 year olds grew up in is also a relentless spending culture. Until the recent crash, credit cards were about for everyone to do damage with and the idea that ‘consuming’ was ever related to ‘delayed gratification’ seems odd now. Pop culture and general media obsession with charting and discussing who is wearing what, driving what, holidaying where, has created a very competitive scenario for young people. And everybody is very educated about what ‘luxury’ is, who makes it, why we need it. The 20-somethings are a generation of tribes and consumers, more than any generation before it”. Josephine Dunn, Research Consultant. (See appendix C).
Urban Prosperity Consumer DEF is the largest target market for Nic Giolla Éin, and makes up 10.7% of the UK population. It encompasses well off suburban professionals, affluent urban professionals, prosperous young professionals, young educated workers as well as singles and sharers. This consumer group is well educated and living in the major towns and cities throughout the UK. It includes young professionals moving up the corporate ladder as well as mature professionals in the more exclusive residential areas of the major cities. The more mature demographic are generally in senior managerial roles or professional careers and often own their detached or semi-detached homes, where as the younger professionals generally are buying or renting apartments. This consumer group is quite cosmopolitan, and enjoys cultural activities such as the theatre, eating out and the nightlife the city has to offer.
Chau Har Lee describes her customer as: “Aged between 25 and 50, she appreciates luxury and exclusivity coupled with high quality and considered design. A professional and independent woman with discerning taste, a sense of fun and an awareness of fashion trends, yet she is not a fashion victim.” (London Fashion Week) When questioned further on her idea of her consumer base, she stated that: “To be honest I don’t have an ideal customer- I know her essence, which is like me, my mother, my friends, etc but I do not have a specific image of her. It’s more to do with an attitude and a considered choice”. (See appendix F)
Camilla Skovgaard describes her consumer as: “Probably 25-40 yr old group, not entirely poor, loves high heels and a bit of bite... I hope it’s a more intellectually sexy woman than a girly one. No bows, pearls and flowers!” (See appendix E) Atalanta Weller has described her consumer as: “A strong and confident with fabulous taste.” (London Fashion Week) When questioned further she stated that her consumer has not changed in recent time and the recession has meant that there are just fewer able to purchase her designs. According to Stavros Karelis proprietor of Machine-A in London’s Berwick St. he defines his customer base as: “People who love fashion and have a genuine passion for it. People who want to have that personal connection with the designer that comes from something made by their own hands that will probably never be made again”. (See appendix B)
“Born in the 60s, 70s & 80s, growing up was not yet dominated by labels and the idea of luxury was much less defined. People grew up wanting to be ‘in a band’, invent something etc, the whole ‘I want to be rich & famous’ just didn’t exist in the way it does now. And so ‘luxury’ was not something everybody strived for. Travel definitely, but it didn’t have to be 5 star. However, NOW the 30-49 year olds are probably the most affluent and culturally capable of your three groups. They have a bit of cash, they are educated enough to know where to spend it and they want to define themselves as individuals just like everybody else. And the manic craze for ‘luxury’ is also part of their life-story. The media representing this group has now declared ‘luxury’ a dirty word, and the tribe is following. Everything is luxury and glamorous these days, that’s why we now need ‘bespoke’, limited editions, clientonly-access etc. We all still want to be ‘special’. The psychology is so simple. In general I think this group doesn’t mind to spend a fortune on something that is only available to a chosen few, but would frown at buying something crude and mass-oriented like Burberry etc”. Josephine Dunn, Research Consultant. (See appendix C).
Wealthy Achievers Consumer A is made up of wealthy working families with mortgages, wealthy commuters and well off managers with large houses. They live in the more semi-rural and suburban areas of the country and have quite large houses 90% of which are owner-occupiers, and half own outright. They generally own approximately two cars per household and work in managerial or professional roles, with many owning their own business. The 1A consumer is well educated and quite well established high in the social ladder and enjoys being a wealthy, confident consumer.
“I think luxury is not so important to the over 50s. They have their stuff, they like well-made things, but the hysteria is not there. It’s about comfort and service and getting things that are solid and exquisite at the same time”. Josephine Dunn, Research Consultant. (See appendix C).
Competitors Camilla Skovgaard Nicholas Kirkwood Atalanta Weller Finsk Chau Har Lee
Left: Skovgaard collaborated with Amanda Wakeley for AW’10. The styles feature her trademark ‘saw’ tooth rubber soles. Below: Skovgaards desgins are fast becoming a red carpet staple with Rachel Bilson and Vannessa Hudgens being fans of the collection.
When asked if celebrity endorsement something that Skovgaard considers or merits, she answered: It happened on its own, was not something I was actively seeking. It seems when one heard of it then the other thought it might be cool to check it out also and so the word went... We often didn’t know in the very beginning until the assistant of the celebrity would contact us if they could buy more as the style had been worn out on tour (or whatever) and sold out in stores. So they have actually purchased the shoes in stores - not gifted”. Camilla Skovgaard, (See appendix E) 16
Camilla Skovgaard Danish born designer Camilla Skovgaard is a graduate of Cordwainers and the RCA. Skovgaards designs are growing in recognition for their design aesthetic and has been described as “Intelligent fashionista – Think Arne Jacobsen in couture” (The Times UK). Skovgaard puts more emphasis on design and materials rather than decoration and her classic but modern designs are catching the attentions of Rhianna, Halle Berry and Kylie. Skovgaard has also collaborated with many designers, most notably her seven seasons working with Matthew Williamson from (2005-2009). Rubber is Skovgaard’s trademark material now with her signature ‘saw’ soles. Rubber is a natural material and is excellent for recycling, Skovgaard’s father and grandfather were both in the car tyre industries their whole lives so she was brought up with rubber. Materials Rubber soles, fish skin, nappas, caprettos, calfs, patents, sheep, goats and some furs/pony hairs also.
Camilla Skovgaard is stocked prolifically throughout the world, London is particularly saturated with her collection being stocked in Dover Street Market, D&Me, Feathers, Genevieve, Matches, Selfridges, Bluebird and Harvey Nichols. In the USA, Saks Fifth Avenue, stock her designs throughout the state with other smaller boutiques also as stockists. Skovgaard is stocked in over 63 cities worldwide, which is great for obtaining mass sales but not for that more exclusive feel that consumers are looking for more and more when they purchase luxury footwear.
Competitors “My price point is a little different to those that you may think are CS shoes’ competitors but it can make a difference to the buyers so in the end they are not really competition. To be a real competitor it is many factors coming together as one - package value of design/quality/price point and then all the backside pillars of consistent deliveries, being on time, lead time turnover, re-orders, exclusives etc. I don’t think much about who they are as I am busy with keeping tabs on own stuff happening”. What the Future Holds for Camilla Skovgaard... “Maybe a shop, keep trying to improve the wholesales flow, consistency at factories. New opportunities come up that reveal glimpses of something one would not have thought of at first when writing a ‘business plan’ and this is part of what makes the journey exciting for better or worse”. (See appendix E)
Over the Knee Boot - £650.00
Peep Toe Wedge - £428.00
Metallic Leather Sandal - £285.00
4 boot styles in A/W 2010
19 mid styles in A/W 2010
3 low styles in A/W 2010
High: 5.3inch heel Platform: 1.3inches
High: 5.3inch heel Platform: 1.3inches
High: 5.3inch heel Platform: 1.3inches Low: 2.5cm
Nicholas Kirkwood, originally from Germany is a London based designer and former student of both Central Saint Martins and Cordwainers, London College of Fashion. His sculptural designs have a huge architectural influence and he continues to use innovative materials throughout. Kirkwood started his career as a milliner working for the Irish designer, Philip Treacy, where he worked for five years. Over the years Kirkwood has worked with designers such as Ghost, John Rocha and more recently Erdem and Rodarte. His shoes are becoming increasingly popular with Sarah Jessica Parker being one of his biggest endorsers.
Exclusive for Rodarte - £955.00
Lattice Detail Sandal - £695.00
Metallic Leather Brogues - £285.00
40 high styles in A/W 2010
1 low style in A/W 2010
High: 5.5 inch heel Platform 2.5cm
High: 5.5 inch heel Platform 2.5cm
Right: An endorsement from Sarah Jessica Parker is a sure sign you’re doing something right. The actress, has brought many designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo to life through her Sex and the City character ‘Carrie Bradshaw’. Jessica Alba also sports Kirkwoods designs on the red carpet. Materials Devoré satin, hand-printed suede and leather, degradé fabrics, python, shaved stingray, laser-cut mirror leather, cobra and rubberised leather.
Kirkwood is know for his collaborations with designers and artists. His creations for Rodarte are fantastical creations that are generating masses of press attention. His more recent collaboration with New York based artist and social activist, Keith Haring. Kirkwoods creation with the iconic Liberty print.
Above: Kirkwood has his own specially designed stand at Dover Street Market.
Nicholas Kirkwood has taken a similar supply approach as Camilla Skovgaard, and is stocked widely across the world. He has quite a number of stockists in the UK, including Dover Street Market, Harrodsâ€™ Shoe Boudior, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Selfridges and Start in London. Worldwide Kirkwood is stocked in more than 45 cities.
Above: Wellers more conceptual creations. Right: Model Amber Rose and blogger Suzie Bubble are fans of Wellers modern designs. Bubble regularly features Weller on her fashion blog. http://stylebubble.typepad.com/style_bubble/ Below: Wellers collaborations with Barbie, for her 50th Anniversary and fellow NEWGEN designer Craig Lawrence for his recent collection launched at Machine-A in Berwick St. in October.
Atalanta is a London based designer and graduate of London College of Fashion, whose designs are modern and futuristic creations that push that boundaries of footwear. Weller is inspired by architect Pierre Luigi Nervi, Anime movie Appleseed to name but a few, and has collaborated with designers such as Henry Holland, Gareth Pugh and Sinha Stanic. The receiver of the NEWGEN award, Weller continues with her second collection for Spring/Summer 2010. Alongside the highly coveted main collection, with fans such as Rhianna and Agyness Deyn, Weller still creates more conceptual one off pieces, which is more innovative and less commercial. Weller describes her consumer profile â€œA strong and confident with fabulous taste.â€? (London Fashion Week).
Weller has taken a minimalist approach to where she stocks her brand. Instead of flooding the market with her designs, she has carefully chosen a select few to represent her brand. There are only two stores in the UK, Browns Focus in London, and Hervia Bazaar in Manchester. Weller also has one stockist in Italy, New York, Minneapolis, New Zealand, Malaysia, Russia, and three in Hong Kong.
When asked about her reasons for establishing a more commercial brand as well as her conceptual one she said: “I love making conceptual shoes, but I am also a commercial shoe designer, there is no one or the other and no one is better than the other for me. I have always wanted to do both”. (See appendix D). When asked to discuss what materials she faours she commented that: Commercially probably leather as there are so many types of leather. For conceptual work I like to change materials for every project I do. (See appendix D). Below: One of her more conceptual pieces, ‘The Big Shoes’
Shoe Boot Pony - £675.00
Ankle Boot Wedge - £515.00
Solo ankle boot with straps - £445.00
6 high styles in A/W 2010
3 mid styles in A/W 2010
2 low styles in A/W 2010
High: 4-5.75 inch heel Platform 1-1.75 inches
Mid: 2.5-3 inch heel
Low: 1 inch heel
Finsk Finsk was set up by London based, Finish designer Julia Lundsten in 2004. Lundsten, a graduate of Cordwainers and the RCA, describes the brand as “Modern, graphic, architectural yet natural and organic.” (London Fashion Week). Finsk’s infamous wooden wedge has already made waves in the fashion world, and raised the profile of the brand. Lundsten’s designs are highly inspired by architecture and furniture and she compares the heel and sole of the shoes as arms and legs and the upper as the seat of a chair. The shoes are made as ethically as possible with the materials being a by-product of other industries. In addition to the main range, Finsk also create limited edition products throughout the year, which feature only ten or twenty pieces per style. They are interested in keeping the original concept alive and not mass-producing their product. Finsk has become a regular at both New York and London Fashion Weeks through her collaborations with Ports 1961 and Basso & Brooke.
Materials Wood, metallic, leather, suede.
Black Suede Wedge - £420.00
Cut Out Sandal - £320.00
Suede Flat - £185.00
6 high styles in A/W 2010
2 mid styles in A/W 2010
1 low styles in A/W 2010
High: 4.5inches heel Platform 1.5inches
Lady Gaga is seen here in this unusually understated ensemble, wearing Finsk. Style Bubble blogger Suzie Bubble is also a fan of Lunsten’s designs. Finsk is stocked exclusively at Beyond the Valley in London’s Soho and a handful of e-tailers in he UK.
Consumer Profile “She is someone who is interested in contemporary design and fashion and knows her own style. She appreciates good design, handcrafted shoes and is prepared to spend a little extra for a good quality and comfortable product.” (London Fashion Week)
Chau Har Lee Chau Har Lee is a London based conceptual footwear designer and graduate from Cordwainers and the RCA.Through the use of innovative materials and modern technologies she has pushed the boundaries of footwear and create her unique aesthetic. Currently working on her first collection for her own label, Chau also freelances for Bally, Camper and Capulet.
Consumer Profile “Aged between 25 and 50, she appreciates luxury and exclusivity coupled with high quality and considered design. A professional and independent woman with discerning taste, a sense of fun and an awareness of fashion trends, yet she is not a fashion victim.” (London Fashion Week).
Har Lee’s steel heeled designs sits pride of place upon the counter of one of the main rooms in the shoe gallery. Har Lee has received much interest in the product, but has yet to finalise the technical issues of the shoe and has yet to receive any orders on the design.
Website Comparison In today’s market a website is the easiest way to advertise your brand. Most households are computer literate and the majority of people that have mobiles now have smart phones. People spend an increasingly large amount of time on the computer be it for work or pleasure, so it is vital that as a company Nic Giolla Éin’s website is up to scratch. Ease of navigation is super important, if people cannot find what they want immediately they will get bored and exit the site. Clear menus with a simple layout is best. I have looked at my competitors websites to see what the structure and presentation are like. Both Camilla Skovgaard and Ataltanta Weller have quite clean simple websites that are easy to navigate and provide all the information a consumer could want to know. Nicholas Kirkwoods website is suprisingly basic and actually does not function amazingly from a cumsumer point of view. It seems as if no effort was put into the presentation and layout as well as the input. This does not really reflect well on the brand.
Finskâ€™s cover page is a little busy, it basically has all the information there in one place. It does have links to other pages for other information but the actual information provided is very little. When I was last on it there was a dead link for the new collection. A consumer trying to view the collection would be a little put off by this, which is not good for the brand. As Chau Har Lee is just in the infancy of the brand, there is not much to the website. It has a cover page complete with 3D animated logo which loads as an into to the site. This is a nice touch as it draws attention to the brand logo and reaffirms it in the consumers mind. The layout is simple and it does itâ€™s job well. Only time will tell if it continues to function as well when the brand begins to grow.
This is the initial idea for the layout of my website, it is a work in progress. I like it to be really simple and basic and super easy to navigate. I think this layout is super basic, maybe a little too much so, but it is my starting point.
Market Positioning Nic Giolla Éin is a conceptual, contemporary brand that sights it’s competitors as Atalanta Weller, Chau Har Lee, Nicholas Kirkwood, Camilla Skovgaard and Finsk. All of these brands have quite similar styles and price points, however they do have some slight differences. As shown on the chart below, all the brand vary in how conceptual they are and it can be seen that the price points vary somewhat. Nic Giolla Éin is going to be quite a conceptual brand but the price points will not be as high as some of its competitors, it will be positioned somewhere in between where there is a small gap in the market.
High Price Chau Har Lee
Nic Giolla Ein
Low Price 35
Good problem solver, and able to find different ways of doing things.
Good range of heel heights to suit all tastes and ages.
Good communication skills, both visually and verbally.
High quality designs.
Well organized, with time and work, and excellent at planning. Ambitious. Professional attitude towards work.
Unique and high quality materials that compliments the designs. Based in London, which is convenient for efficient trading. It is seen that women are buying shoes and accessories as a â€˜feel goodâ€™ purchase in this particular financially difficult time. People are buying more investments pieces that are good quality and will last longer. Where possible the brand will be ethically conscious, which is important to the older demographic.
Quite bad at managing stress.
There are quite a lot of luxury brands on the market at the moment.
Bad with money, the financial aspect of the business would need to be closely monitored.
The economic climate does not lend itself well to luxury spending. Consumers are spending less on fashion. The materials and technologies used will increase the price of the shoes.
S.W.O.T. Analysis Opportunities
To be my own boss.
Technology can be used to promote the brand, having a web presence is so important, Facebook is a great way to reach consumers, and an online shop is more cost effective than a physical store.
To have more flexible working hours. To have creative control
Collaboration with an on-schedule designer that shows at London Fashion Week would be a good way to garner some press attention and also build a strong reputation. Press attention will attract celebrities to the brand and raise its profile. An accessories range could be developed to sit along side the footwear line. The brand could be launched in China and the US also.
Financial instability and liability.
The financial climate, if it does not improve the company will struggle to grow.
Time, not being able to do everything myself, and not being able to employ someone to help, it may affect the standard of the business.
Disposable Fashion, the throwaway nature of fashion effects people opinion on luxury and value for money. Celebrity association, if the wrong celebrity is seen in the designs the brands image can be damaged. Using materials that are not seen as environmentally friendly or sustainable, may affect the brands popularity. Financing the brand will be incredibly difficult in the first number of years before it starts to break even.
Political The current financial climate has a huge affect on trading, with the governments raising taxes and duties. As of January 2011, under current Conservative Liberal Democratic Coalition legislation, VAT is set to rise from 17.5% to 20%. According to BBC News, it is thought that the richest 10% of British households will loose an average of £1,800 per year. This will have quite an impact on the disposability of their income and their subsequent spending habits as they will not have that extra cash to spend on luxury spends.
The “entrepreneurs relief” rate of 10% on the first £2m of gains will be extended to the first £5m, this will offer fledgling businesses a better chance at success due to this increase. The Conservative Liberal Democratic Coalition party have also announced that small companies’ tax rate will be cut to 20%, which will be beneficial for Nic Giolla Éin starting out, paying less tax will mean that more money will be going back into the business, which will help it grow.
Over the following years we will see a steady growth in the economy, with 1.2 % this year, 2.3% next year, 2.8% in 2012, 2.9% in 2013. However, debt is predicted to peak in 2013/14 at 70% of GDP. The Conservative Liberal Democratic Coalition budget has also indicated that banks will now face a levy of 0.04% starting from January 2011, which will then rise to 0.07% in 2014/15. This levy will undoubtedly affect customers of the bank, including the general public and businesses. This could reduce the amount the bank are willing to lend and thus make it difficult to get any loans that may be required to launch Nic Giolla Éin or to help keep it afloat further along the line.
Economical Since the demise of the U.S. financial sector in 2008, the effects have been felt on a global scale. London was hit particularly hard when Lehman Brothers’s filled for bankruptcy in the U.S. and thousands of jobs were lost overnight in what is thought as the largest bankruptcy ever. Since then, the global economy has seen a knock on effect, with many other banks going bust, including HBOS and Northern Rock. Between the banks not lending quite as they used to and people have a lot less money than they were used to it is proving to be a very difficult time for retailers on every scale. People are just not able to afford the frivolous spending they had become accustomed to in the past decade. Officially Britain has come out of the recession it the first quarter of 2010, however people are still feeling the pinch, with many still making considered purchases and not re-entering the frivolous spending of before. Mintel reports that one in four adults feel that their financial situation is now ‘healthy’ but many still describe it as being ‘tight’, while 40% are still struggling. It is a difficult time to try and establish a luxury brand, as people do not have that extra cash to spend on luxury items and people are very much sticking to the essentials. However, in these times great creativity can be found and there are always people that are looking for something different. If they have a large sum to spend on an item they want to spend it on something that is exclusive and unique, and not mass-produced and seen over every else. This attitude allows for brands like Nic Giolla Éin find their place in the market.
Technological Technology is ever present in modern society; we are too reliant on it that it’s hard to imagine life without it. It is thought that affluent consumers are more likely to turn to the Internet for information on products and services, and they are generally more likely to read blogs, newspapers and magazines online also. The Internet is the most effective way to reach a mass audience, with regard to cost, effort and scope. Today’s society is awash with ‘Smart’ phones, with 7.8 million already possessing a smart phone and another 11 million coveting them, and there is practically an ‘app’ for every aspect of your life. A large number of retailers including Chanel, Gucci and Net-A-Porter, have created apps to help promote their brand, and inform their consumers of their products. Many of them offer the viewer the option of browsing the collections and locate stores etc. They are extremely simplistic but are an effective way to reach their consumers. It would be beneficial to the Nic Giolla Éin brand to have a specifically designed app that would sit next to the online store and promote the collection and the brand.
Social Due to the current economic situation, many affluent consumers are cutting back in their spending, they may continue to purchase household and lifestyle items but they appear to be spending less on luxury apparel and jewellery and extended travel. They are now more concerned with environmental and ethical products and are spending accordingly. It has only been in recent years that all these issues have been called into question, as many brands have been exposed for their less than ethical behavior. Nic Giolla Éin will, where it can use environmentally friendly materials and also recycled and biodegradable packaging where possible. This will be an aspect of the brand that will attract the more socially conscious spender. Figures from a recent Mintel (2010) survey report that, “37% [of affluent consumers] say they will buy a product from an ethical company even if it costs somewhat more than competitors, and 31% say they will buy even if they have to go out of their way to do so”. An ethically conscious brand helps to make consumers feel less guilty about spending such large amounts of money on one particular item. It is seen that older age groups are more socially conscious and feel that ethical and sustainable trading is important. It is generally seen that companies like Primark appeal to a younger generation that turn a blind eye to their ethical grey area, Primark’s consumers don’t have a social conscious but as they age their opinions will undoubtedly change.
It seems that being ethical or seeming to be ethical it vitally important to businesses these days. It is seen that“49% of consumers will seek out similar products from a different brand if they hear that a company’s corporate behavior is especially bad”. (Mintel, 2010)
Legal Chinese and Indian manufacturing has had a huge impact on the market for quite a while now, but we are now seeing that the laws being implemented are ensuring much stricter governing of their rights and conditions of work. These stipulations on factories mean that they are incurring extra costs, which are then being transferred to the companies and then to the consumer. It is thought that more production will start to come back to Europe and as the Asian and Indian workers start rights start to balance with the rest of the world. Once Nic Giolla Ă‰in is established there may be need to employ an assistant to help to manage the day-to-day running of the brand. It will be important to be well informed on all the current employment legislation to ensure the rights of the employee are upheld.
Environmental Environmental issues are part of the social fabric of today, and have a huge bearing on a brands reputation also. It is important to try to be conscious of the carbon footprint left by the mass production of goods, and the way in which business is conducted. Nic Giolla Éin will reuse all materials where possible before recycling within the office space. There will be a limitation on paper work as most of the work will be done online and backed up for safe storage, some documents will have to be printed for extra security, but they will be kept to a minimum. Where possible sustainable materials will be used without compromising the design, and organic and sustainable packaging will also be used where possible. Nic Giolla Éin will try and reduce it’s carbon footprint in whichever way is feasible. Nic Giolla Éin will adhere to the CITES agreement wherever necessary. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an organization that was set up to protect endangered species in the wild. CITES ensures that the wildlife species are not endangered and over used as there is such a great demand and a wide range of uses for them such as food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. The law deals with animals that are well known to be endangered species but also those that are not, agreements are set in place to ensure that they remain plentiful and to maintain the resource for the future.
Range Plan Last No.
* Exclusive styles will be made with exotic materials.
The range for Nic Giolla Éin will be quite small for the first few seasons until the business get’s off the ground, to test the waters as such. Like my competitors have done, I intend to start small and then grow with each season. This first season is going to feature 12 styles on 4 different lasts. When looking at my competitors I noticed that they had very few mid heels, Nicholas Kirkwood and Chau Har Lee had none at all. I think this is an area that can be quite an earner for a brand as the truth of the matter is that the most bought items are generally the mid heels. They are generally not as attractive as the super high ones, so I’ve decided to do only 2 styles on a mid height last to cover this area and assess how well they sell, it may increase or decrease in the following seasons depending on sales figures. I have also decided to do an exclusive selection of styles to generate more press attention and to give myself more creative freedom as a designer.
Trade Shows Nic Giolla Éin is going to have a diverse range featuring high fashion pieces that will garner some press attention, which will in turn attract the buyers. The range will then be developed from there and tailored somewhat to make the product more commercial and affordable. Many of the designer’s I have looked at have structured their brands in a similar way, this allows them to be quite creative but also still have a solid business where they are actually selling their designs. The aim is to get press attention through hiring a PR company and then if that does not secure sales then the trade shows will have to be considered.
There are a number of high profile trade shows, both national and international that are worth attending. They are a great opportunity to showcase the brand and collection to international buyers, as well as making connections within the footwear industry. I have identified three main trade shows that Nic Giolla Éin could possibly attend. I have also considered London Fashion Week as a possibility once the brand has been established for a number of seasons and has a stronger identity. Trade shows are a great place to get noticed by buyers and press, however when you consider the cost to attend, plus transport costs for goods and staff to attend, living costs while there and the cost of customizing the stand it all adds up. It is important to carefully consider the shows that would be most beneficial and only show there. Nic Giolla Éin would be best suited to attend Pure London, Micam in Italy and WSA in Las Vegas. There are a variety of stand sizes available at all the trade shows, to cater for different requirements and budgets. As Nic Giolla Éin is only starting out it would be most cost effective to apply for the smallest stand to begin with. The initial collections will not be very large so only a small space will be required to display the designs. It is important to make the most of the space and ensure that the presentation of the stand looks professional and not just thrown together.
Pure London is a fair based in Londonâ€™s Earl Court, which is attended by thousands of buyers from around the UK and abroad. The most convenient and cost effective option is to apply for the full scheme, this will mean that everything will be set up before I get there and all I need to do is spend my time decorating the stand to a suitable standard. It can be very difficult trying to bring and set up personal shelving units, however this can prove a good option if you have a suitable construction that would better suit the presentation of your brand, however it does need to be approved in advance by the organisers. Full Scheme: ÂŁ328.00 Full stand pre-built for you which includes; walls, signage, lighting, rails / shelves and furniture (allocation based on stand size)
Eligibility for Application to NEWGEN: Applicants should be based in the United Kingdom. Applicants should have a business and would normally be expected to have shown off schedule. Applicants must have a minimum of two stockists. International sales are not required. The collection should consist of womenswear or accessories and not consist of menswear or bridalwear. [ For further application requirement information see Appendix] It is important to have built up the business a little before applying to NEWGEN, doing various tradeshows will help with securing stockists which will aid the application.
“The Exhibition is the sales hub at London Fashion Week with new and established designers of ready to wear and accessories collections”. (British Fashion Council, 2010) London Fashion Week showcases some of Britain’s best up and coming designers. It is an opportunity for luxury brands to display their collections where leading British and international retailers can see their brand. London Fashion Week also features NEWGEN, sponsored by Topshop, showcasing new British talent, and Estethica, sponsored by Monsoon, for ethical designers. NEWGEN is a prestigious award to receive, but it also acts as an important way for designers to make connections with influential, international buyers and press. Nic Giolla Éin’s competitors, Atlanta Weller and Chau Har Lee have previously been granted the NEWGEN award, which has helped them to progress with their business, and highlight their brand. Showing at London Fashion Week is more beneficial when you have established your brand a little beforehand. I think it is something to consider for Nic Giolla Éin after a few seasons trading when the brand is a little stronger.
“This showroom in Paris provides a unique opportunity for emerging British designers to promote themselves outside London”. (London Fashion Week, 2010) NEWGEN designers are selected to display at the Showrooms in Paris, the private view of which is hosted by the highly respected Sarah Mower. This a wonderful opportunity for designers to expand their contacts and get more exposure for their brand. Chau Har Lee and Atlanta Weller have both displayed at the Paris Showrooms, which has undoubtedly advanced the prospects of their brands.
Reaching the Consumer Shop premises in prime locations in major cities are extremely expensive, so boutiques and department stores are ideal for stocking Nic Giolla Éin. It is important that the customers can go into a shop and have a tangible product they can feel and try on in order for them to commit to a purchase. In addition, an online presence will be crucial to promote the brand and allow for consumers to find the brand, as many of us will search online for information about brands and products before we commit to buying. According to Mintel, three out of five of us regularly shop online, so an online presence is vital in this current market, it also generates more profit for the Nic Giolla Éin as there is no wholesaler involved, the product goes directly to the customer. This will enable more money to be put into the brand, and help it to grow. Nic Giolla Éin will be stocked on quite an exclusive basis, it is important to the brands values that it is not in every high end shop and too ubiquitous in any city. Generally boutiques only stock a select number of styles from any collection, so it will be good to have a mixture of boutiques and department stores to stock in, as the department stores tend to be able to stock a wider range of styles. It is possible to attract the attention of buyers at trade shows, but also to arrange private meetings with them to pitch the brand to them.
Dover Street Market is a highly conceptual store, which will complement the contemporary design of Nic Giolla Éin. Selfridges have a huge selections of shoes in their recently opened Shoe Galleries, stocking there would be a god place to attract customers that are not aware of the brand, but will be attracted to the design. It is also found that being placed beside brands that have a similar style but higher price point can be beneficial to the sales as consumers will quite often opt for the lower price point, while obtaining a similar style and attitude they were after. As an Irish designer it is important to be stocked in the countries leading departments store, Brown Thomas, which has stores in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork. Other stockists globally would include L’Eclaireur in Paris, Seven in New York, Tsum in Moscow, Mitsukoshi in Tokyo and selected stores of Saks Fifth Avenue in the US to begin with; this would grow as the brand grows. It is important to ensure that the factory can produce the quantities for the orders, so it is good to start out small and then grow with each season. It is vital to stock in places that represent the brand in the correct way, and also to gain maximum exposure. The boutiques in Paris and New York stock brands with a similar style and attitude, and the department stores stock a wide range of different products and brands, which is good to introduce the brand to new customers. It is important to think about where the product is to be placed as it can affect the brands image.
Nic Giolla Ein Buyer/HQ
Costing Cost Per Unit €50 per pair
Shipping €5 per pair
Insurance €1 per pair
Indirect Costs £25.50
Total Cost £97.80 per pair
Profit £245.21 50
Acme Studios is a London-based charity, formed by artists in 1972, which provides over 400 studio units, runs work/live and studio residency schemes and manages an international residencies programme for visiting artists. Acme is one of the leading studio development organisations in England and has helped more than 5,000 artists with this fundamental means of support. Acme Studios is funded by Arts Council England.
Premises Robinson Road 15 Robinson Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 9LX. Mid-19th century brick-built former brush factory. 44 self-contained and 4 partitioned studios (ranging from 200 to 800 sq.ft. / 19 to 74 sq.m.) on basement, ground, 1st & 2nd floors. Site also includes the Acme Project Space at 44 Bonner Road and a housing unit at 46 Bonner Road. Established in 1981. Current lease expires April 2030. Landlord: The Crown Estates Commissioners. Studios originally developed with support from the Arts Council of Great Britain. The site and studios are part of a refurbishment and up-grading programme which commenced in 2001. Local Authority London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Access Site comprises of several buildings around a yard. Entrance through new accessible gates into the yard but ground surface currently uneven. Other facilities Wheelchair accessible toilet block and wash-up facilities in yard. Some sinks in studio corridors. Entryphone system. Public Transport Bethnal Green underground. See â€˜Further Readingâ€™ for local bus map. Parking On-street Pay & Display and Business Permit by application from Tower Hamlets Council.
It’s important for Nic Giolla Éin to have a professional business premises to trade from. Many businesses start out from a spare room in an apartment, however these would not be an ideal situation for Nic Giolla Éin. Having an online shop would bring in more profits for the business, which can then be reinvested. It will be necessary to be able to store some stock on premises for this purpose. It will also be vital to have a professional showroom to be able to host buyers appointments to sell the collection each season.
It will also be good to have a separate work space that is not attached to my living space. It is important to make a clear divide, as running your own business can really consume all your time and if you work from home you never feel like you have that break from it all.
Expenses Below I have outlined a basic costing for the first year of trading. It will be hard to know exactly what the costs are but this is an estimation based of realistic costing of each aspect covered.
I do not feel that at this stage I am capable of making estimates on sales figures or any more in-depth assessment on the financials of the business as at this stage it would be nothing more than pure speculation.
Rent Rates Phone/Internet Mobile Insurance Stationary Travel Legal Accountant Wages PR Website Trade Shows Ofﬁce Equipment Ofﬁce Furniture 52
£8,600.00 £3,500.00 £465.60 £420.00 £850.00 £420.00 £1,032.00 £1,200.00 £900.00 £18,000.00 £2,400.00 £800.00 £8,600.00 £2,500.00 £1,500.00 £51,187.60
Send Out Invoices
Trade Shows, Buyers Meetings, Fashion Week
Photo Shoot, Press & PR
Design and Build Website
Publicity PR is vital to the success of any brand, managing the publics perception of a brand is key as it can make or break a company. PR can be extremely costly but it is a necessary expense, however there are some agencies, like ‘Blow PR’ that specialise in young up and coming talent and they sometimes do not charge a fee until the brand is actually bringing in cash. “PRs know what’s right and what’s wrong for any given brand. Placement in the right kind of magazines can lead to more interest in any given brand from within the industry, more interest from buyers who see it being endorsed by respectable publications, and increased brand recognition by the public ultimately leading to increased demand for a product, brand or service”. Ashley Smith, Public Relations. (See appendix A)
“Celebrity endorsement has a huge impact on sales, but it is important to get the right celebrity” Atalanta Weller (See appendix C) Long term PR objectives for Nic Giolla Éin would include features in national glossies such as Vogue and Elle and publications such as Dazed and Confused and ID magazine. Collaborations with onschedule designer’s area a great way to get exposure, and associating with a brand that shares a similar attitude or style will boost the profile of the brand even further. It is also a great way to finance a collection, in addition to doing freelance work to keep money coming in. It is vital that Nic Giolla Éin gets on board with a PR company to get press coverage and exposure. Getting features in trade magazines such as Collzioni/Drapers/WWD/WWB will attract the attention of buyers and public alike. Getting the stock in the stores is key to building the company, it is also important to gain stockists to aid an application to show and London Fashion Week. Celebrity placement is hugely important when launching a brand, having your product endorsed by the right celebrity can boost sales and impact on the consumer’s opinion of the brand. Magazines like Grazia, Look, Vogue, Elle, they all follow celebrity fashion so closely, people aspire to dress like their favourite celebrities and want to buy into their lifestyle. A celebrity endorsement by Lady Gaga, Rihanna or Cheryl Cole would give Nic Giolla Éin maximum global exposure.
Play on Reality
Heels & Soles
Although my visial inspiration is taken from sci-fi and futuristic ideas, I do not want the colour palette to reflect that. I think it would be too obvious, and pretty tacky to use metallicsâ€™ in the colour palette. These images have a beautiful neutral palette which I hope to use in my designs. They could be used in the form of russet and nude toned leathers.
This palette is quite rich and not the colours one would typically associate with a sci-fi inspired project, however I feel that these colours would complement the style of the designs and create that modern look without being too obvious.
There is a real contrast between the warm inviting colours of the sleeping space and the surroundings in the picture featured on the right. Not only in the tones but in the visuals. I aim to make use of the more neutral colours overall and use highlights of the brighter colours throughout my designs.
My initial inspiration came when watching Stanley Kubrickâ€™s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The aesthetics are so simple and clean that visually it appealed to me. I also found the story line quite interesting. The film deals with thematic elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It got me thinking of how man has become so reliant on modern technology. Even with consideration to modern footwear, the sheer amount of machinery required to make shoes is insane. It is unquestionable that technology is a vital part of our life and with its use we can achieve so much more, however some aspects of out life would be much better without it.
The visuals of 2001: A Space Odyssey are so striking, it is interesting how the sets contrast so much. In the picture above left, we can see the huge contrast of the spacesuit and the decor of the scene. Although the furniture is very old fashioned and classic, with the colouring and styling it appears quite modern in a very subtle way. This is something that I admire about this movie, and something I feel is at the heart of Nic Giolla Ă‰in. As a designer I feel the contrast between old fashioned sensibilities and modern aesthetics. I feel that Stanley Kubrick represents this also with this movie. As we evolve we still hold on to ideas and experienced of the past. From this point I started to look at other movies with a similar theme and visual. This lead me on to look at A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, The Fifth Element, Lawnmower Man, iRobot, Minority Report, and Tron/ Tron Legacy.
From this point I started to look at other movies with a similar theme and visual. This lead me on to look at A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, The Fifth Element, Lawnmower Man, iRobot, Minority Report, and Tron/Tron Legacy.
The original Tron movie was released in 1982, and featured Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn, a computer hacker that enters the virtual world of the computer system to help retrieve a program he created. The new incarnation sees Flynns’ son Sam, as the lead character, plagued by the mysterious disappearance of his father. Sam embarks on a quest to find his father, which see’s him enter the same virtual reality his father has been trapped in since 1982! The visuals are rather more sophisticated this time though. The visuals for the original Tron movie were ground breaking at the time of it’s release. Unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey that seems to never date, when we look at the original Tron, it’s almost hard to believe that it was state of the art technology. It is easy to see that technology has evolved and our perception of modern has changed with it. The new Tron: Legacy movie maintains the striking visuals of its predecessor but uses much more sophisticated and up to date technology. I have always had a real love of lights, especially neon lights, even though they are a little tacky. SciFi movies always tap into that love of lights and gadgets that I have, more accurately my inner geek. I think it’s the harsh contrast between the light and dark that attracts me so much, I feel like I always want the contrast to make it more interesting.
The National Theatre Costume and Props Dept. had a massive store of costumes and accessories for the many theatre productions they produce. Among them I found what looked to be a pilots helmet. It reminded me of the Tron visors. The hardware on the side and the way they sit on top of one another is quite interesting. I like the juxtaposition of the different parts.
The Tron movie has been a source of inspiration for many throughout the years. John Lasseter the head of Pixar and Disneyâ€™s animation department has comented that the movie as helped him see the potential of computer generated imagery in the production of animated films. French electro-pop due Daft Punk have had a life long fascination with the movie, and have subsequently scored the sound track for the new Tron: Legacy movie.
Above: Gormely standing amongst his structure in full light glory. The light emitted from the lamps power the ‘glow in the dark’ paint, which illuminates the structure when the lights are quenched. When you enter the room, it is dark, the staff usher you in with a torch. The structure appears in front of you from the darkness. It takes a minute for the eyes to focus and understand what they see before them. It doesn’t take too long to become familiar with the object and want to explore. It is quite breathtaking. The lights suddenly come up and the viewer almost feels like an interrogation is taking place. When the lights are down there is a safety in that you can hide in the dark, you cannot quite make out the people at the other end of the room, there is a comfort in that. However, when the lights go up you feel exposed, and a little like a rabbit in the headlights. The heat from the lamps is also so intense that you break out in a sweat, the whole experience is a little unnerving for the viewer. Left: Blind Light, 2007.
London based artist Anthony Gormley has revitalised the human form in sculpture over the past 25 years. His fascination with the human form and how we register emotion is the basis for a lot of his work. In Breathing Room III pictured below Gormley investigates how time acts on objects and how objects act on us. Time and light are the principal materials of the work. Brething Room III is an interactive piece where viewers are encouraged to meander among the sculpture and become part of the piece.
Mario Merz’s ‘Objet cache toi’ (Object Hide Yourself) 1969 bears and injunction that was scrawled on the walls of the Sorbonne, Paris during the 1968 student protests, that took part in the city in the May of that year. The sculpture represents a “demand for the disappearance of commodity culture in favour of a world without possessions”. (Cold War Modern, 2008) This ideal is akin to that of Nic Giolla Éin, however it is to the total extreme. Nic Giolla Éin aims to promote longevity in design and make things to last rather than simply last the season. The designs will be modern but also have some classic elements that help to make it more transitional. ‘Objet cache toi’ - metallic net, tubular metallic structure, tarred cloths, clay blocks, neon.
Returning again to my initial starting point, 2001: A Space Odyssey, I decided to look into space travel. The thought of taking a flight is more than some people can think about, imagine the power and velocity one would feel travelling into space. It began me thinking about the clothing, footwear and other accessories that are required, that can actually handle the force and effectively so itâ€™s job to project the body in this volatile environment. The shoes are a little like diving shoes, as they have a large ridged front section and large straps that fasten the shoe. They look quite clumsy and bulbous, but I can imagine that it is a practicality with all the other equipment on that last thing an astronaut wants to be doing is fiddling with laces.
I started to look at old space suits and aeronautical suits. I was quite interested in the details and hardware on them. It can be seen in the legs of this suit to the right that the legs and arms are coiled. They have a metal wire inside them to help them keep their structure. WGSN sighted a new trend as the slouchy boot for AW 11/12. The black style on the right reminded me of a detail one would find on a space suit. The drawstring topline is a practical detail that is seen here as a fashion rather than function.
The Science Museum in Kensington has a wealth of Space and aeronautical related items housed throughout their premises. The third floor of the museum displays various flight artefacts, among which I found this suit. The Windak Full-Pressure Flying Suit dates from 1962 and is constructed of a single layer of gas-tight rubberised silk bonded to strong cotton. The suit is internally pressurised by air in order to achieve a higher pressure upon the body than exists at high altitude. I find the buckles and fastenings really interesting, because even though the suit is designed for a practical function it is still quite well designed from an aesthetic point of view. It must function well, otherwise it would be pointless, I am interested to know if aesthetic qualities were important to the manufacturers. Was it stylish in its own time or is it only fashionable now because of this vintage quality we now admire?
These x-rays of space suits and helmet show such great detail of the inner workings of a spacesuit and all the internal details that cannot be seen. I love the utilitarian look about it, everything has a function and is not there too look good.
The headgear is just as inspirational as the suits themselves. Here is an example of NASAâ€™s headgear. The National Theatre Costume Department had an array of goggles, many of which were flying styles. It was good to look at the shape and materials and hardware in them. The Science Museum had this Partial-Pressure Flying Helmet which dates from 1957. The helmet was worn as a partial pressure suit. In the event of decompression above 40,000ft, the suit would inflate automatically to provide n oxygen-tight unit. The helmet contains so much advance technology for its time in such a small space. Also the laced detail on the back of the helmet is quite an interesting aesthetic detail. I think the contrast between the different materials is also interesting.
National Theatre Costume Dept.
This was an astronauts costume at the National Theatre Costume Department. It appeared to be quite old, but some of the details were quite good. It was interesting to see a costume designers’ take on a space suit. I like how they used a tapestry ring for the hooped neck, very inventive. The hardware on this is very basic and ‘functional’ looking. I’m not sure if it’s intentional but I like the old worn appearance of the gold details. The colouring of this costume is not the normal shiny silver garish incarnation you would expect.
Here are some swatches from the National Theatre Costume Department. They had a very limited futuristic section, but a wander around proved to be a lot more beneficial for patterns, textures and materials. They had quite a lot of leather armor which was really good for leather details and effects. Reflective pattern created on a garment in the Futuristic section.
I know armor is a little bit of a deviation, but it still protects the body like the space suits, albeit in a different way. I find the leather work really interesting in this piece. I really like the panels that are held in place by studs. I think it could be transformed into something more futuristic quite easily.
â€œAs a body Architect she invents and builds structures on the skin that reshape the human silhouette. Her provocative and often grotesquely beautiful imagery suggests a new breed; a future human archetype existing in an alternate worldâ€?. (Lucymcrae.blogspot.com)
Lucy McRae is one half of the Australian creative duo Lucy & Bart. With training in both ballet and architecture, Mc Rae has a great understanding of the human body’s capabilities and also an in-depth knowledge of more structural aspects of design. “Her provocative and often grotesquely beautiful imagery suggests a new breed; a future human archetype existing in an alternate world”. (Lucymcrae.blogspot.com) Mc Rae’s work is super interesting, the approach she takes to everything is really different, she definitely thinks outside the box. Her work is so striking, and although she distorts the human form, it is still quite beautiful in a way. I love the term ‘body architect’, I imagine some old man in an office drawing up plans for a body, making patterns like we do for shoes, but for a kidney and the bone structure of some crazy looking super human. This is almost like some kind of porcupine armor. I feel like I’m starting to look at body armor a little more than space and sci-fi. I suppose that is what shoes are. If we didn’t live in such an industrial world we probably wouldn’t even require shoes. Human’s have created this world and this need for protection against it.
McRae worked on this Emotional Sensing Dress along with the Probes Programme at Philips Design. â€œThe programme accelerates a vision for next generation sensitive technology. The Skin Probe dresses explore emotional sensing technology conceiving dresses that blush and shiverâ€?. (Lucymcrae.blogspot.com)
The Scandinavian pop singer Robyn worked with McRae for her recently released â€˜Indestructibleâ€™ music video. The video featured Robyn and other actors in the video bound up with clear tubes that at avarying stages of the video have different coloured liquids running through them. It is quite a simple idea, and looks quite primitively done, however the visual effect is pretty stunning.
Stills from the video, the tubes are intertwined throughout the body. The tubes almost become part of the body, the flowing of the liquid is almsot like their blood is pumping through it. It kind of adds to the intensity of the drama.
I tried to emulate the image above, using Electroluminescent wire that I bought online. Itâ€™s quite simple and a little odd looking. I just wanted to start playing with the wire and see what itâ€™s properties were and how it moves and looks. I think it lights up really well, and I really like it, but in terms of shoes I think it will be very difficult to make it look super lux or interesting. I think it just is what it is. I think I need more experimentation before I give up on it though.
I know itâ€™s a bit silly wrapping my feet up in wire, but I quite like the shapes that they made. I like the messy placement of the strands and the glow from the wire. It was fun to just mess about and play about with the wire.
I found this great looking shoe by Francesca Castagnacci where she used Fiber-Optic material. It looks really sculptural and interesting in the image, but I suspect, after purchasing some of the material myself, that it actually looks a lot different in reality. I just loved the idea of having light in my designs, but so far I just havenâ€™t really found the right soloution. The fiber-optic material is not really that great looking in reality. It looks great in a picture, but it is a compromise in aesthetics that I am just not happy with. This area will need some significant development to make it work.
P.P.D. The concept development has been a tricky task over the past number of weeks. Trying to think about every aspect of the brand and consider what is the best decisionfor Nic Giolla Ă‰in has been quite a challenge, but one I have enjoyed. This term has been the first where I felt I was in total control, of everything. I think that the year in industry has made me a better and more focused worker, and helped me build routine into my work schedule. I have found it really good to be self motivated this term and enjoyed being more proactive and productive. I do still feel that I could be a little more careful of timing, as I still find that I spend a lot of time doing very little sometimes. This is something that I have to be mindful of throughout the year as my motivation could slip easily if I do not monitor my progress regularly. Since we have not been given very strict guidelines as to what is expected of this Concept Development document, I have found it really good to be motivated to think more independently, and be more decisive. This is something that I struggle with a lot and it holds me back as I dither over decisions. Being decisive is important for the next phase of my project as I will need a little less conversation and a little more action. I have not yet started to really experiment with my inspiration during this term, as I found that the business and research aspect of the brief took over. I had so many areas of inspiration that I found it hard to focus on what I really needed and wanted. Only through creating this document did I see what visuals sat well together and what I want to progress with. I am now looking forward to getting creative in the next term and really focusing on developing my ideas. This term I have really seen a change in my working methods for the better and hope to improve upon these skills during the rest of the year.
References “China is the fastest-growing luxury market, with sales predicted to rise 30% in 2010” Mintel, 2010. Luxury Good Industry has Gone from Boom to Bust. [Online] USA: International Herald Tribune. (Published 2010) Available at <http://academic.mintel .com/sinatra/oxygen_academic/my_reports/display/id=280639&anchor=atom/list/id=280639&type=NSItem&class=MarketUpdate/display/ id=550496&anchor=550496> [Accessed on 21.10.10] “37% say they will buy a product from an ethical company even if it costs somewhat more than competitors, and 31% say they will buy even if they have to go out of their way to do so”. Mintel, 2010. Marketing to Affluent Consumers – US – July 2010. [Online] (Published 2010) Available at <http://academic.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen_academic//display/&id=482735/ display/id=539917/display/ id=482735> [Accessed on 25.10.10] “The Exhibition is the sales hub at London Fashion Week with new and established designers of ready to wear and accessories collections”. (British Fashion Council, 2010) “This showroom in Paris provides a unique opportunity for emerging British designers to promote themselves outside London”. London Fashion Week, 2010. [Online] Available at:<http://www.londonfashionweek.co. uk/content. aspx?CategoryID=684> [Accessed on 04.11.10] “demand for the disappearance of commodity culture in favour of a world without possessions”. (Cold War Modern, 2008) Crowley, D. and Pavitt, J. 2008. Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970. London: V&A Publishing. “As a body Architect she invents and builds structures on the skin that re-shape the human silhouette. Her provocative and often grotesquely beautiful imagery suggests a new breed; a future human archetype existing in an alternate world”. <http://Lucymcrae.blogspot.com>. [Accessed on 08.12.10] “Her provocative and often grotesquely beautiful imagery suggests a new breed; a future human archetype existing in an alternate world”. <http://Lucymcrae.blogspot.com>. [Accessed on 08.12.10] “The programme accelerates a vision for next generation sensitive technology. The Skin Probe dresses explore emotional sensing technology conceiving dresses that blush and shiver”. <http://Lucymcrae.blogspot.com>. [Accessed on 08.12.10]
Books Pearman, H. 2004. Airports: A Century of Architecture. London: Laurence King Publishing. Geduld, Harry M. and Gottesman, R. 1978. Robots Robots Robots. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Reichardt, J. 1978. Robots. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd. Hanson, M. 2004. The Science Behind the Fiction: Building Sci-Fi Moviescapes. Mies: Rotovision SA. Betsky, A. 1998. The Complete Buildings and Projects / Zaha Hadid. London: Thames and Hudson. Crowley, D. and Pavitt, J. 2008. Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970. London: V&A Publishing. Websites Mintel WGSN http://shop.surelight.com/EL_lighting_wire.htm http://www.yatzer.com/2242_bright_fashion_by_francesca_castagnacci http://www.atalantaweller.com/ http://www.finsk.com/finskhomepage.html http://www.nicholaskirkwood.com/ http://www.chauharlee.com/ http://www.camillaskovgaard.com/ http://www.lucymcrae.blogspot.com/
Appendix A Interview with Ashley Smith, PR
How would you describe PR? Making sure the right thing is at the right place at the right time - and if there isn’t a right place or right time then making one. What are the benefits of PR for a fashion label? PRs know what’s right and what’s wrong for any given brand. Placement in the right kind of magazines can lead to more interest in any given brand from within the industry, more interest from buyers who see it being endorsed by respectable publications, and increased brand recognition by the public ultimately leading to increased demand for a product, brand or service. What effect do you feel PR has on consumers and their purchasing habits? Good PR can make something that is essentially a piece of crap a must-have item. The right celebrity placement can make something sell-out in a day, and the right endorsement within VOGUE or another similar magazine can give a brand buzz so everyone wants a piece of it. What do you find is the biggest influence on consumer purchasing? Right now price due to the recession. Good design at economic prices is more important than quality or branding right now. Celebrities also seem to have a depressingly large influence over consumer habits. How do you feel that the recession has affected the luxury fashion industry? Obviously fewer people are purchasing high price points items, however when it comes to super luxury there’s little difference as the super rich target market for these brands continue to be outrageously wealthy keeping this particular ‘supr-luxe’ market afloat. Can you define what you think is the typical luxury consumer, in young affluent, middle aged, and older age group? What are the most effective ways to reach them? There’s people in every group who just want brand name status symbols, but with regards to ‘fashion-fashion’ i’d say the difference is young affluents want exclusive underground ‘in the know’ labels. Middle aged want amazing quality items. Wealthy rich men and ladies buy into heritage brands (international heritage, Hermes, Chanel etc as well as British ones) Why do you think people buy luxury goods? Abroad. Tax free luxury shopping. What do you feel are the most important qualities for a luxury brand to have? Strong brand direction and a dedication to quality and appropriate design. Exclusivity is important - if something isn’t exclusive can it ever really be luxe? Considering a newly established footwear brand, what are the first things you would do to promote? That depends. I’d want to find an angle - every new brand needs a unique selling point - if a brand isn’t doing something new then is there a need for it? I’d hit trade press first (Collezioni / Drapers / WWD / WWB / etc - all the accessories, supplements) cause a new brand needs to reach industry first to secure stockists. Then I’d go for a fast turnaround celebrity placement (Cheryl Cole, Gaga, Rihanna - something like that) to get the brand out there quickly. Then I’d use that placement to secure stories in the weeklies (Grazia, Newspaper supplements etc) and then work on longer term long lead placements in national and international glossies. I’d like to see a young brand collaborate with an on-schedule designer - it’s important.
Appendix B Interview with Stavros Karelis Proprietor of Machine-A
How would you describe Machine-A? Machine-A is Londonâ€™s premiere destination for emerging fashion design talent and brands with outstanding levels of creativity and vision at their hearts. Our store space at 60 Berwick street stocks an unmatched array of such designers and through our continuing commitment to uncovering new creative talent and giving established names in the worlds of fashion, art and design a platform on which to showcase their work we have transcended the boundaries of retail towards establishing Machine-A as an important hub for these industries which is unparalleled elsewhere in London. What motivated you to open the space/store? A genuine gap in the market and the fact that no-one else in London was taking steps to support all of the amazingly talented young people we have here. What excites you about fashion? Newness. What do you look for in a designer? First and foremost talent. Secondly business common sense and practicality.
What are the most popular brands in your store? Why? Without naming any names the most popular brands are those at the lower price points (*the store is very high end - at times prohibitively so) who are able to make collections that are on trend and wearable. It makes sense though. In New York a lot of designers create anonymous diffusion lines of super wearable trend based stuff to earn some cash cause at the end of the day that’s what sells. Describe your customer/s. People who love fashion and have a genuine passion for it. People who want to have that personal connection with the designer that comes from something made by their own hands that will probably never be made again. Do your customers tend to spend, on impulse, seasonally, or with purpose? All three. We’ve got loyal customers internationally who buy new pieces each season. There’s always bemused tourists and shoppers coming by the store and then being swept up in the moment and buying things, and there’s also those who come (mainly from Asia where we’ve had amazing press on the store) with the sole purpose of buying something - ANYTHING, from MACHINE-A. How often do they purchase? Monthly, quarterly, biannually, yearly. Because of the fashion forward approach of the store repeat purchasers tend to happen seasonally. What do you find is the biggest influence on consumer purchasing? Connection with the product and retail experience. If someone feels drawn to something and can really connect with a product and feels safe and comfortable in the surroundings then they’ll feel compelled to spend money and buy into the who wider concept. How do you feel that the recession has affected the luxury fashion industry? Buyers are less willing to take risks on new designers and it’s getting more and more difficult for emerging brands. Everything has just flatlined. I think it’s starting to come back though maybe - maybe out of people’s sheer boredom with the past couple of years. Are ethical and sustainable issues important to your consumers? Have you been to MACHINE-A? lol. It’s something that we’ll probably need to think about more in the future but we’re positioned as a high fashion avantgarde boutique. Does it count as ethical if all of our designers only use Saga furs? Are consumers interested in the materials used to make the product, or just the aesthetics? Aesthetics draw you in, the feel and quality of the product is what grips the customer and makes them literally not able to let it go. As I’ve said - we’re a high end store so it’s important that our designers are using high quality materials and finishings too. Many of our customers and visitors to the store are from within the industry or studying fashion and arts so they’d be the first people to point out any shortcomings. What do you see as the future for Machine-A? World domination probably.
Appendix C Interview with Josephine Dunn Luxury Market Specialist
Could you tell me a little bit about your career? It’s just for my report reference, to give a brief outline of your expertise. My path went like this: German Abitur (a-levels equivilant), Fine Arts Diploma (Christie’s), Fashion Writing & Promotion (LCF), Postgrad. in Performing Arts (ALRA) – all passed with ‘distinction’. As you can see it’s quite a mix of interest and skills – making me the perfect wife should my husband ever want to run a presidential campaign or appear on a game-show. After my studies at Christie’s and the LCF I was just not ready for a desk job, so I started working as an independent producer with photographers (shoots, exhibitions), independent film people, bands and music companies. My work was very fluid and interesting, and I explored a lot of different angles of the various industries I was involved with (publishing, media, music & film). I am a creative person, adore the whole process and collaborated on many projects over the years – mainly working as a freelance pr consultant (product launches, events, writing - all sorts of copy, press materials, websites, articles), writing music, developing film scripts, devising photographic productions, producing fashion shows, etc - the lists is endless. When I got married I wanted to do something more structured. I was offered a job at Graff Diamonds in the PR department and stayed there for six years; leaving last summer (2009) as Joint-Head of Global Communications. During my years at Graff I built my expertise of the luxury industry. Graff is a multi-million £££ business and the time I spent there was a time of growth for them and myself. From 4 stores to over 30 in six years, the press department (3 staff in London) had to oversee all the new territories and provide materials, manage global events, create and oversee every campaign, look after client data, get global publicity, launch collections, start a charity, create press materials, newsletters, then a magazine, more events, VIPs etc, etc. It was tough, it was great, it was multiplying - like a gremlin ;) Last summer I knew I wanted to leave the corporate world behind and start working my own business. On the day I decided to resign, I signed my first client, a jewellery designer. Over the past year I’ve worked with some absolutely wonderful people, big projects, small projects (fashion, film, jewellery etc) and I am looking at a very busy year ahead, which is great considering the unpredictable times we live in.
Can you give me your definition of what a luxury consumer is for each age group? 20’s – Everybody comes with a different mind-set shaped by their ‘time’, by there set-up and up-bringing. The luxury consumer who’s in their 20s now, only know a world that is dominated by labels, where we all validate ourselves through association. Meaning, ‘I wear Nike not Puma because Nike is my tribe.’ The culture 20 year olds grew up in is also a relentless spending culture. Until the recent crash, credit-cards were about for everyone to do damage with and the idea that ‘consuming’ was ever related to ‘delayed gratification’ seems odd now. Pop culture and general media obsession with charting and discussing who is wearing what, driving what, holidaying where, has created a very competitive scenario for young people. And everybody is very educated about what ‘luxury’ is, who makes it, why we need it. The 20-somethings are a generation of tribes and consumers, more than any generation before it. 30-49 – Born in the 60s, 70s & 80s, growing up was not yet dominated by labels and the idea of luxury was much less defined. People grew up wanting to be ‘in a band’, invent something etc, the whole ‘I want to be rich & famous’ just didn’t exist in the way it does now. And so ‘luxury’ was not something everybody strived for. Travel definitely, but it didn’t have to be 5 star. However, NOW the 30-49 year olds are probably the most affluent and culturally capable of your three groups. They have a bit of cash, they are educated enough to know where to spend it and they want to define themselves as individuals just like everybody else. And the manic craze for ‘luxury’ is also part of their life-story. The media representing this group has now declared ‘luxury’ a dirty word, and the tribe is following. Everything is luxury and glamorous these days, that’s why we now need ‘bespoke’, limited editions, client-only-access etc. We all still want to be ‘special’. The psychology is so simple. In general I think this group doesn’t mind to spend a fortune on something that is only available to a chosen few, but would frown at buying something crude and massoriented like Burberry etc. 50+ I think luxury is not so important to the over 50s. They have their stuff, they like well-made things, but the hysteria is not there. It’s about comfort and service and getting things that are solid and exquisite at the same time. What do you think motivates consumers to buy luxury goods? We are all our own little ‘pin-board’. Stick on a bit of Balenciaga, perfume yourself with Moroccan Tuberose mixed by an underground nose/genius in Paris, carry a vintage LV and the message is clear to the educated world – you are not cheap, you are in ‘the know’, quirky, different, interesting etc bla bla. Of course it works on many levels, depending which message you are trying to emulate. In another cultural context all this would be totally lost. I remember wearing these (which I thought divine grey boots) from Free Lance until my dad told me they reminded him of orthopaedic, Polish waitress apparel. What do people expect from a luxury brand? Depends on the person and their level of being a luxury consumer. Someone might be ok with wearing a jumper that says Gucci, even if it is badly made and in a cheap fabric (considering the price). But certain tribes don’t care, as long as the label is obvious. Other people expect the item to be of superior quality throughout, from the finish, right through to the packaging. But somehow everyone expects to become ‘one’ with the qualities and markers the brand stands for, through the mere transaction of money. I buy LV because LV means tradition, quality, heritage, Gorbatchov.. Are luxury consumers loyal to brands? Why/Why not? We all change all the time. Even if the brand keeps performing on the same level and message, that is sometimes not enough for us fickle consumers. Brands have to grow within their ‘story’. Bit like Madonna. Brands only stay on top if they keep re-inventing themselves while keeping their brand qualities intact. Are ethical and sustainable issues important to luxury consumers? Yes, more and more so. Nobody wants to feel guilty for ethical reasons on top of feeling guilty for (probably) spending too much money. Take diamonds for instance – all diamond dealers/companies now issue certificates that declare that the diamond is ‘conflict free’ and that your diamond hasn’t been used to sustain
rebel forces and finance wars in their countries of origin. Are consumers interested in the materials used in a product and where it is manufactured? I think the ‘where’ will become more and more important in light of the current global economic crisis. We all want to buy ‘cheap’ and a lot, but this destroys our own markets with cheap imports from i.e. China or other emerging markets. I think we will see a change in consumer behaviour. Made in Britain could become a sign of quality once more, just like it is still associated when people see ‘made in germany’ on a product. It will stand for something bigger & deeper than mere quality and durability. How do you feel that the recession has affected the luxury fashion industry? It came down on it like a truck and put it into a good, old spin for about 18 months. I think I went to a sample/in-house sale every week! But – thank god for the BRIC countries, especially China, Russia and India where business is booming and expansion is needed. Europe and the US are still hurting and consumer behaviour is more restrained than before. But that doesn’t mean people are not buying. They are. It’s one thing knowing you’ll have less money to spend, it’s another to ‘realize’ that you have to change your actions accordingly. Shopping, spending is a national past time in the UK. We shop to have fun, to relax, to ‘be’. It’s very complex to change a behaviour pattern so engrained. Like a diet. If you grow up on tasty pizzas and burgers, milkshakes and sweets – the step towards the salad bar is a big one. From a personal perspective, what footwear brands do you wear and can you tell me a little bit about your spending habits and what you look for in a shoe? Like every girl I love shoes. Not sure who my favourite designer is. Like Cinderella I don’t want to fit a shoe I cannot afford, hence I’ve never set foot into Louboutin or the likes. I do buy shoes quite a bit, the more expensive ones usually in the sale. I have a pair of Valentinos (sky high), own a pair of Jimmy Choos, some Prada, love Jean-Michel Cazabat and Michel Perry, but my main stay comes from Ash, Dune and Office. I shop for seasons, always need boots in winter in all sorts of varieties (mid heel is best), find summer shoes difficult (can’t do dainty heels in the heat), don’t like ballerinas much, love Converse but they hurt my feet, cant resist a ridiculous, over the top, bitchy high heel, etc. I used to covet the Belstaff boots (the knee high ones), never understood Uggs and will always love cowboy boots. But I guess now it’s really important to me, to not end up with aching feet. Yes, I still wear killer-heels, but much less and I’ll always have some flats in the handbag for the quick turn-around after a meeting. I think my most expensive pair of shoes are a pair of cowboy boots from Mexico (bought at R-soles) for £250. I still twinge thinking of the price. But they are state of the art, with great studs, super solid etc. Now I guess I just have to save up for a horse and I’ll be fine.
Appendix D Interview with Atalanta Weller
What do you feel is the most important advice to give to a graduate? Know why you are going in to this business and what you want to achieve. If you are going to set up your own line then work out your budget- then double it. What have you found are most the most challenging aspects of: A. Setting up your own business? Maintaining creativity while also juggling all aspects of the business, from design to production, PR, sales, finance. B. Realising your conceptual designs? Probably time v money. What materials do you favour working with and why? Commercially probably leather as there are so many types of leather. For conceptual work I like to change materials for every project I do. “A strong and confident with fabulous taste.” A definition of your consumer as taken from London Fashion Week Profile. Considering the current climate and the progression of your brand since that statement, can you further define your consumer? No, it’s the same. It’s a global market. There are still people out there prepared to spend, perhaps fewer of them though. Who do you see as your main competitors? Other brands with a similar price points and stockists. Is celebrity endorsement something that you consider or merit? Whether I like it or not is not really relevant, as it is a part of the fashion industry. Press is a vital part of the industry. Celebrity endorsement has a huge impact on sales, but it is important to get the right celebrity. Did you feel that a more commercial line was a necessity to fund your more conceptual pieces or was it something that you were interested in? I love making conceptual shoes, but I am also a commercial shoe designer, there is no one or the other and no one is better than the other for me. I have always wanted to do both. What are your plans for the future of the brand? Sell more shoes – more than that is confidential I’m afraid.
Appendix E Interview with Camilla Skovgaard
What do you feel is the most important advice to give to a graduate? persistence...persistence...persistence... What have you found are most the most challenging aspects of: A. Setting up your own business? Perhaps the realisation of how many other ppl’s jobs you need to know... almost better than them. Never expect the ‘experts’ to necessarily give you the best advice or return on what they are supposed to be doing. B. Realising your designs? It’s a median cross of choices - style identity/price point/factory’s ability. The more one finds footing with factories the more a natural progression of one’s designs reveal itself. I find that the more you sell the more creative freedom you actually get at the factories... so in this sense, money comes before the ‘art’. But, design is not always about doing the most complicated ideas, it’s just as much about what you chose not to do. What materials do you favour working with and why? Naturally leathers of many sorts - nappas, caprettos, calfs, patents, sheeps, goats - whole lot. Some furs/pony hairs also. Rubber is probably my trademark material now with my signature ‘saw’ soles....I sometimes think ppl forget rubber is actually a natural material excellent for recycling (my father and grandfather were both in the car tyre industries their whole lives so I’m literally brought up with rubber). Could you define your average consumer? Career, age, style? Prob 25-40 yr old group, not entirely poor, loves high heels and a bit of bite... I hope it’s a more intellectually sexy woman than a girly one. No bows, pearls and flowers! Who do you see as your main competitors? My price point is a little different to those that you may think are CS shoes’ competitors but it can make a difference to the buyers so in the end they are not really competition. To be a real competitor it is many factors coming together as one - package value of design/quality/price point and then all the backside pillars of consistent deliveries, being on time, lead time turnover, re-orders, exclusives etc. I don’t think much about who they are as I am busy with keeping tabs on own stuff happening.
Is celebrity endorsement something that you consider or merit? It happened on its own, was not something I was actively seeking. It seems when one heard of it then the other thought it might be cool to check it out also and so the word went... We often didnâ€™t know in the very beginning until the assistant of the celebrity would contact us if they could buy more as the style had been worn out on tour (or whatever) and sold out in stores. So they have actually purchased the shoes in stores - not gifted. What are your plans for the future of the brand? Maybe a shop, keep trying to improve the wholesales flow, consistency at factories. New opportunities come up that reveal glimpses of something one would not have thought of at first when writing a â€˜business planâ€™ and this is part of what makes the journey exciting for better or worse.
Appendix F Interview with Chau Har Lee
What do you feel is the most important advice to give to a graduate? My advice is to gain as much hands-on experience as possible, keep an open mind, and to enjoy it. After my BA I tried out a lot of different jobs in different areas from hand welting shoes to cladding leather interiors- that helped me to work out what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do and a gave me broader insight of the industry. You work with steel, acrylic and wood, to name a few, what do you find most challenging and why? Previously I used a lot of leather and fabric in making- shoes, bags and interiors so I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. The masters at RCA gave me the opportunity, access to expertise and facilities to learn new techniques and find alternative ways of building a shoe. The most challenging was learning to use 3D software- because I’m more accustomed to having something physical in front of me that I can manipulate, alter, and adjust, it took a while getting used to creating something in 3D space, and although you can see it on the computer I wasn’t entirely sure what it would look like once it had been 3D printed. “Aged between 25 and 50, she appreciates luxury and exclusivity coupled with high quality and considered design. A professional and independent woman with discerning taste, a sense of fun and an awareness of fashion trends, yet she is not a fashion victim.” Can you further define your consumer? Career, age, style? To be honest I don’t have an ideal customer- I know her essence, which is like me, my mother, my friends, etc but I do not have a specific image of her. It’s more to do with an attitude and a considered choice. Is celebrity endorsement something that you consider or merit? I’m not against it but I’m also not chasing it. In the same way that I do not have a vision of a specific customer wearing the shoes, I am happy to see them being worn on anyone who chooses to wear them. At the moment there is an 8 week lead time to make the individual pairs and they are priced accordingly, because of this it means they are not an “off the shelf” immediate product so it will have to be a considered decision. Who do you see as your main competitors? I’m not trying to compete with anyone so I can’t really answer this. When I created the graduate collection, it was with a view to develop these constructions that would, in time become easier and more feasible to produce locally, using less components and less manufacturing time, I was not trying to gain an angle in the market place or compete with anyone. It was a thought towards how to make manufacturing in the UK easier in the future considering there are hardly any places left here to produce women’s luxury footwear to the required standard, and also not being able to meet the minimums or go through the logistics of having them produced in Europe in small quantities.
I think there’s plenty of room in the world market for good design and I am happy to see my shoes sitting alongside high-end fashion designers that I respect and admire, although I don’t like to think that I’m competing with anyone. I feel it’s important to be aware of what’s out there but also not to look too hard at what other footwear designers are doing as you can’t help but be influenced by it. It’s more important to me to keep it original. Are you planning to make more commercial designs for your brand? Yes, although this may take some time. There are several different constructions that have the potential to become more commercial but will take time to develop and to find the right people to manufacture them (not necessarily footwear people). My hope is the narrative shows throughout the collections over time- I had found that people have enjoyed watching the progression and seeing how the concept pieces turn into more wearable pieces so I think it’s important to continue to show this story and it’s what I enjoy too. What are your plans for the future? My plans for the future are to continue to develop the collection, work on some new concept pieces. Collaborating with materials and manufacturing companies. I’m continuing to work with Selfridge’s and looking to expand the range there, and possibly some things lined up for Feb Fashion week. The main thing is to continue to have fun with it.
Appendix G Trade Show Report There are a number of high profile tradeshows, both national and international that are worth attending. They are a great opportunity to showcase the brand and collection to international buyers, as well as making connections within the footwear industry. I have identified three main trade shows that Nic Giolla Éin could possibly attend. I have also considered London Fashion Week as a possibility once the brand has been established for a number of seasons and has a stronger identity. Trade shows are a great place to get noticed by buyers and press, however when you consider the cost to attend, plus transport costs for goods and staff to attend, living costs while there and the cost of customizing the stand it all adds up. It is important to carefully consider the shows that would be most beneficial and only show there. Nic Giolla Éin would be best suited to attend Pure London, Micam in Italy and WSA in Las Vegas.
“Pure London delivers an exciting three-day event offering retailers an impressive hunting ground for their next best selling brand”. (Pure London, 2010) Pure London is a fashion event that is held twice a year in February and August at London’s Earls Court. It exhibits clothing and accessories that fall under the following categories: Womenswear, directional, Boutique, Studio, Premium, Accessories and Footwear. According to the PURE London website an average buyer spends £90,000 at Pure each year, a wide range of buyers attend the fair including independent, department, multiple and online retailers, from the UK and overseas. It is important for Nic Giolla Éin to have a presence at Pure, to get buyers interest, and to be a part of the British footwear scene. They layout of Pure is pretty basic and industrial looking, the stands are pretty small, and the overall finish of the event is not to the same standard as MICAM. However it is a good opportunity to display a collection to British buyers. Full Scheme: £328.00 Full stand pre-built for you which includes; walls, signage, lighting, rails / shelves and furniture (allocation based on stand size) Space Only Stand: £245.00 Area for you to build your own full stand, plans must be approved by organisers. Premier Full Shell: £344.00 Full stand pre-built for you which includes; walls, signage, lighting, rails / shelves and furniture (allocation based on stand size). Premier Space Only: £256.00 Area for you to build your own full stand, plans must be approved by organisers.
Exhibitor Marketing Package: £200 +VAT This package ensures the brand receives maximum exposure publicity pre, during and post show. There are 140,000 visitors to the website each season so it is important to keep the profile up to date. This package includes: – – – – – – – – – – – –
Brand name Brand logo Up to 20 product images Website link Email link 60 word brand description Brand origin Product type listing(s) Upload unlimited press releases Text search option Filter search option (i.e. filter by brand origin, by product, by New, by show section) Product Trails
Additional Costs Travel: As the brand is based in London the travel costs will be minimal, with an oyster card the fare to the Earls court from Old Street will be £1.80 per journey, which will work out at roughly £15.00 per person for the three days of the fair and the initial set-up day. Decoration: The decoration costs will vary depending on how elaborately the stand is to be decorated. I would expect to spend at least £100, on printing images from the look book and purchasing items to make it look more inviting. Living Expenses: As I live in London there will be not much living expenses, lunch will be all that will be required, this will cost approximately £5.00 per day per person, with the extra budget of £5.00 pre day per person for snacks and tea or coffee throughout the day.
MICAM is “a unique platform that successfully combines business, glamour and communication”. (MICAM, 2010) The National Association of Italian Footwear Manufactures holds the leading international footwear only event at Rho Fiera in Milan, biannually, in March and October. It covers over 70,000 square feet and houses 1,600 companies in total, 1,000 Italian and 600 international. The fair sees approximately 40,000 visitors, almost half of which travel from abroad to attend. The event showcases a range of goods featuring quality, design and innovation. It offers viewers a preview of the forthcoming season and also provides an opportunity to do business and establish commercial contacts. The aesthetics of the show are very well thought out, with a different theme for the décor for each show. MICAM is furnished with plush looking bar areas and the carpets and walls are quite not your standard cheap boring carpet that you may find at any other fair. The stands are generally closed booths, most of which are very nicely presented. The British Footwear Association oversees the British contingent, and they host a party during the fair, which all the British companies attend. This is an excellent opportunity to network and make contacts. MICAM would be very beneficial for Nic Giolla Éin for the aforementioned reason but also because the show has so many attendants and it is a great opportunity to showcase the collection.
Registration Fee: €77.00 incl. advance of €42.00 per square meter requested, plus 20% VAT. Exhibitor Fee: €163.00 per square meter. Supplementary Entries in the Catalogue: €52.00 per entry. Pre Decorated Stand: €102.00 per square meter. The exhibitor fee and registration fee cover: – Use of the exhibit area – Stand name sign – Electric power consumed for lighting and power up to 5 kW of installed power – Promotional material – Listing in the Official Catalogue of the show – Exhibitor badges – One copy of the Official Catalogue; – Technical assistance during the show and during stand setup and dismantling – General surveillance of the pavilions and general fire prevention – Stand cleaning – Location of the legally required number of fire extinguishers in the stands – Municipal advertising tax Additional Costs Travel: Travel costs to Italy and back will be quite high, it will be necessary to have two people attend, as it would be impossible to do solo. Considering transport to and from the airport, flights to Italy and transport there the average cost would be £400 for two people. Decoration: The decoration costs will vary depending on how elaborately the stand is to be decorated. I would expect to spend at least £100, on printing images from the look book and purchasing items to make it look more inviting. Living Expenses: Living expenses would be quite high for attending MICAM, as it could cost €50 per person per night for accommodation and also lunch each day would cost €7.00 per person, and dinner €20.00. An estimated total would be €650.00 for the whole stay.
“WSA is the most comprehensive footwear and related accessories show in the world”. (WSA, 2010) World Shoes and Accessories is an event that is held in the Venetian and Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Established in 1948, WSA houses some of the world’s premier brands. Exhibitor categories include, Men’s footwear, women’s footwear, children’s footwear, handbags, accessories, shoe care, jobbers, athletic footwear, computer technology, publications, footwear industry associations, International Pavilions and designer collections.
Option 1 – Exhibit Space Only: $15.00 per sq ft. or $14.00 per sq ft. for booths over 3,000 sq. ft. Exhibitor has their own custom-designed booth. In-line configurations must have three 8 ft. high walls. All booths less than 400 sq. ft. require a soft or hard wall package. Option 2 – Soft Wall Package: $25.00 per sq ft. or $33.00 per sq ft. (on/after 1/08/11) Soft wall package includes: exhibit space, three 8 foot high walls with tan muslin fabric, two 75 watt-arm lights, one 500 watt electrical outlet, one 6’ draped table, two chairs, one wastebasket, one booth sign, gray carpet. Option 3 – Hard Wall Package: $29.00 per sq ft. $40.00 per sq ft. (on/after 1/08/11) Hard wall package includes: exhibit space, three 8 foot high wood laminate panels, two 75 watt-arm lights, one 500 watt electrical outlet, one 6’ draped table, two chairs, one wastebasket, one booth sign, gray carpet. WSA On-Site Media Package: $3,750 The package offers: – Products, company logo, advertising creative and booth number featured throughout each day on flat-panel monitors on the show floor. – WSA-produced programming will integrate all logo/product/advertising elements into an enter taining visual display. – Guarantees editorial coverage of your newest products and programs, plus a full-page of advertising in each issue of WSA Daily magazine, distributed by hand each morning to all buyers and show attendees – Full page of advertising in WSA Show Directory & Buyers Guide Additional Costs Travel: The travel costs to WSA would be quite vast, expected cost of travel including transport on either end £1,200 for two people attending. Decoration: The decoration costs will vary depending on how elaborately the stand is to be decorated. I would expect to spend at least £100, on printing images from the look book and purchasing items to make it look more inviting. Living Expenses: Living expenses would be quite high for attending WSA, as it could cost $70.00 per person per night for accommodation and also lunch each day would cost $10.00 per person, and dinner $40.00. An estimated total would be $1,200 minimum, for the whole stay.
Appendix H Shop Report When considering possible stockists for Nic Giolla Éin, I thought it important to look at my competitors and where they stock and in how many different department stores and boutiques they stock. Some brand like Camilla Skovgaard and Nicholas Kirkwood have a huge number of stockists throughout the world. However, brands like Finsk and Chau Har Lee, have a more exclusive approach to selling and only have a select number of stockists. They are just two very different methods of selling, and it is important to consider the supply chain, as supply and demand needs to equate. I went to a number of stores in London where Nic Giolla Éin’s competition is stocked to see what other brands they were situated next to and also to get a feel for the store and what the shopping experience is. It is important that the attitude of the store correlates with that or the brand. “Liberty is the leading destination store in London, a wonderful emporium where the latest fashions sit alongside design classics”. (Liberty) Liberty is situated in the heart of London, just off Regents Street. The wonderful Tudor style building dates back to 1875. The interior is as luxurious as the goods it houses, with original wooden staircases leading shoppers up to each floor that houses brands such as Marni, Prada, Mason Martin Margeila and Acne among others. The store is well laid out with lots of space for mulling around, browsing the designer goods. The staff are friendly and helpful, and make you feel completely welcome. The store has a nice atmosphere and presents the goods superbly. The Shoe Studio houses many of the top labels including YSL, Nicholas Kirkwood, Burberry, Acne, Balenciaga, Dolce and Gabanna, Georgina Goodman, Maison Martin Margeila and Celine. Kurt Geiger have a huge area in the shoe studio, but there is a large section that houses all the top designer brands. The classic cabinets that house the shoes complement the wooden interior perfectly and really highlight the sense of heritage and style that Liberty portrays. Matches is “an iconic retail experience, trusted by London’s most fashion literate clientele, offering the best of the best in established and new international labels”. (Matches) Matches have a number of stores throughout London that house a vast collection or luxury labels, including Acne, Belle by Sigerson Morrison, Camilla Skovgaard and Tory Birch among others. The shop is situated in all the prime shopping areas of London. The Marylebone store has a nice layout with all the shoes displayed clearly and appropriately with some items interspersed among the clothing and other accessories. The décor is warm and inviting, and the staff are quite the same, however upon my visit, I did get the feeling that I wasn’t completely welcome.
“For the forward-thinking fashion lover, Browns Focus is their absolute favourite fashion destination”. (Browns) Browns Focus is the little sister to the larger flagship store Browns, which is situated directly opposite on Molten Street, just off Oxford Street. The façade of the building is quite unassuming, however once you step inside the store it has a completely different feel to it. The interior is quite dark and a little cramped, the staff are a little pretentious and not at all welcoming, however if you talk to them they can be pretty helpful. The shoes are clearly displayed and are well spaced out, they only stock a small number of up and coming designers. Browns Focus pride themselves on supporting emerging talent, and brands generally are stocked there until they become well known enough to be stocked in the flagship store. Brown Focus considers itself a more modern and forward thinking store, and they stock designers such as Rag & Bone, LD Tuttle, Maison Martin Margiela and Alexander Wang among others.
“The new department will fit perfectly into the essence of what Selfridges is - a place where everyone can find something extraordinary to buy, from the inexpensive to the luxurious.” (Drapers) Selfridges is synonymous with luxury, the shopping emporium, situated on Oxford Street, houses a vast range of affordable and designer brands. The name is associated with luxurious brands and the shoe studio is just the same, with a whole host of brands such as Viktor & Rolf, Stella Mc Cartney, Marc Jacob, Chloe and Marni among others. The gallery, which is measured at more that 35,000 sq ft, is said to be the worlds largest shoe department. The layout was carefully planned for the ultimate shopping experience, with different rooms and ‘apartments’ that all have a very different atmosphere. The staff are helpful and friendly, however all the staff must be highly trained in stealth surveillance as they look as though they are ready to spring into action at any moment. This is a little off-putting when you are just having a little wander around.
“I would like for DSM to be the place where fashion becomes fascinating”. (Rei Kawakubo) Dover Street Market is a conceptual fashion store created by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, and is situated in London’s Mayfair and Tokyo. The store is highly conceptual and also highly pretentious. The store layout is fantastic, with the shell of the building being very industrial and basic, however the displays for the merchandise are more like art installations than shop fittings. The staff are quite pleasant, however the security guards do have a tendency to escort you around the premises from time to time. The stock is presented suitably and the shoes are placed within the brand display or in a designated shoe section. The shoes are clearly displayed and Nicholas Kirkwood has a designated stand for his designs. The store used to house more independent designers, however in recent times they have reduced their footwear selection. They stock designers such as Charlotte Olympia, Camilla Skovgaard, YSL, Pierra Hardy, Sigerson Morrison and Lanvin.
“Beyond the Valley concept store has gone from being a spring boards for designers to one of London’s leading destinations for design and fashion innovation”. (Beyond the Valley) Beyond the Valley is a quaint little shop set in the heart of Soho on Newburgh Street. It has a mix of quirky lifestyle brands as well as their own label. The staff are friendly and there is a relaxed atmosphere within the store. The shoes were at eye level and well spaced out, however they don’t have a large selection, their main brand is Finsk, which they have quite a lot of, and they also have selected pieces from Vivienne Westwood for Melissa and Forest/River. The shoes they have are all quite different so they don’t really detract from each other.
Conclusion Liberty’s have a nice relaxed attitude to their store which I really respect and feel that is an important value for a brand to have, or this reason I think Liberty’s would be good for Nic Giolla Éin. The Matches store was a little too elitist for my liking, I did not feel completely comfortable there and their stock in the Marylebone store was little overstated, so I think Nic Giolla Éin would not be best positioned in this store. Selfridges Shoe Gallery is a one stop shop for any brand you could ever imagine wanting to own almost. People that go to Selfridges go there for the major labels as they know that is exactly what they will find. Although it would be good to have the brand placed in such a place, I feel that the major labels may drown Nic Giolla Éin out and being stocked there may not be very beneficial. Chau Har Lee is at an advantage at the moment as her shoe is sitting in prime location on the counter of one of the shoe rooms, so it gets the attention of people who are actually making purchases as well as passers by. Browns Focus is slightly pretentious for Nic Giolla Éin, but they do have a great reputation for supporting up and coming designers, and their customers shop there for that reason. They are the type of consumer that like to have something new and undiscovered, something that is not worn by every celebrity and plastered over every glossy magazine. It is important for a new brand to be able to reach this type of consumer and for this reason it would be beneficial for Nic Giolla Éin to stock there. Dover Street Market prides itself on its exclusivity and conceptualism as a store. It can be a quite pretentious, which is not something that I admire in a shopping experience. I would prefer the brand to be situated in a store that has a better shopping experience for the consumers. However, it is important to look at the consumer, and actually understand who they will be. The type of consumer that will appreciate the aesthetics of Nic Giolla Éin will more than likely be someone who admires the exclusivity of stores like Dover Street Market. It is important to place the brand where the realistic consumer is and not in a store where I personally prefer, so I think for that reason, Dover Street Market would be a good place to stock Nic Giolla Éin. Beyond the Valley is a most definitely a lifestyle store, with the majority of the stock being clothing. The range of shoes is pretty meagre at only three brands, and Finsk seems to be the main focus of the stock. It would be difficult to compete with them, as it seems to be their only physical stockist in London. I think the other brand that you are surrounded with is quite important and Beyond the Valley doesn’t really have enough space for another similar brand to Finsk.
WGSN AW 11/12
WGSN AW 11/12 Colour Trend 135