After showing my first official collection in London, I decided to come to Paris too. And I became conscious of the difference between trade shows and private showrooms. From a buyer’s point of view, which one is more agreeable for you?
There is no rule. As a buyer, I have to go to Premiere Classe, for example. I think starting with big trade shows like this is not a bad thing for a young designer. It is actually good because so many visitors go there: buyers, maybe some owners of showrooms and press. We have a very busy schedule and it is easier for us as buyers that lots of designers are all in the same place. So we have to go there. It is true that it can be frustrating for designers to be in the same place, with everybody in a square meter, having the same light and walls as everyone else, and you cannot express a lot apart from your products. I do lots of showrooms too, but not all of them, so it depends. There used to be some designers who were together in one showroom, in an apartment in the 18th or 19th arrondissement, but even if I want to go there, I cannot. I won’t have enough time.
Today, some designers can have success just by themselves with social media, with the Internet. You can be independent. You can have a great website, a great Instagram, and it will give you more attention than one of these tradeshows or showrooms.
“YOU NEED SOMEONE TO HELP YOU TO DO EVERYTHING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.”
What are the main mistakes that young designers make, from the point of view of a buyer and a retailer?
To not take care of early delivery, to not be in the showroom and let other people speak about your collection, to not support the retailer in any way, to not renew yourself.
Is Paris the only city to set up your showroom if you want to get orders?
Paris is essential, but you can also have your showroom in New York, London or Milan.
How important is the social following of a new brand for you?
It can be important, but not 100%. I consider everything, but the most important thing is my instinct and feeling, and the fact it can complete our current assortment.
“EVERYONE COPIES YOUNG DESIGNERS BECAUSE THEY HAVE A STRONG IMAGE.”
Do you think designers should have a PR at the beginning of their careers? A lot of emerging talent is quite unsure about these kinds of decisions.
You are very lucky in the UK with London Fashion Week and the British Fashion Council. They give so much support to young designers and push them a lot. We don’t have the same in France.
I have studied and worked in London for many years now, but I am Turkish. Even though Turkey is strong at textiles and production, there is no systematic help for designers there too. Most countries don’t see the importance of supporting young designers – the UK is special in that sense. But still, if a designer will hire one person at the beginning of their career, who should that person be?
You need someone that can help with everything. When you get an order, it is important to get your collection in time. It is great if you can do your lookbook in advance. Someone that can help you with the press, with contacting people, production of the collection, production of the showroom. You need someone to help you to do everything as early as possible.
“FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS AND WHEN IT COMES TO STYLE, DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE CURRENT STYLES.”
Do you think customers right now are more interested in young designers?
I think we are all a little tired of big brands which are the same everywhere and who don’t really renew themselves. Very strong brands like Vetements are being copied by companies like H&M, and they are very fast at it. Everyone copies young designers because they have a strong image.
Are we in a transitional period right now, where there are no specific rules and designers can create their own path and be successful?
What is interesting right now is that a lot is coming into the industry just from the streets. You see something on a celebrity; it goes super fast. It is about ‘see now, buy now’. It is true that we are in a moment of transition, but I am not sure if it actually changed a lot for a young designer to establish themselves. It is not only that the system is moving, I think for a young designer starting up a brand, you still have to focus on your collection, make sure it is still relevant.
In a previous interview of yours, I read that you would like to see a ‘buy button’ on Instagram. It would be great but at the same time a bit scary.
The ‘buy button’ is actually happening; there are apps where you do exactly that.
Do you think the influence of social media is negative or positive?
Well, you need to be careful. It is a great way to communicate. It is fantastic to be so well informed all the time. We have now been open for twenty years and I know that a dress can be on the covers of all the magazines, it can be super strong for the press, but it might not always be good for sales, unfortunately. And this is what I love: making a selection which is good for both press and sales. Sometimes there are some pieces that are everywhere in the press and on social media, but they remain on the shop floor and you don’t know why. It doesn’t mean that that look is bad. You can love it, but not really want to be the person who wears it.
Do you think that young designers should discount their pieces at the end of the season in the same way that big brands do, or can a different model work for them?
I’m not sure if there are other solutions, I would be interested to know…
“SOMETIMES THERE ARE SOME PIECES THAT ARE EVERYWHERE IN THE PRESS AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT THEY REMAIN ON THE SHOP FLOOR AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHY.”
As a young designer, there are many moments where you question everything. Your style, your decisions, your timing…
You shouldn’t be asking these kinds of questions to yourself. There is space for everything. There are lots of shops around the world and lots of different people. You should do what your instincts are saying. Follow your instincts and when it comes to style, don’t worry about the current styles.
What is a big no for you in the work or attitude of a designer?
I’m sensitive to all kinds of little things… but you have to be extremely rude to get a big no! And I know how things can turn around in many ways…
Is there anything that young designers are not aware of that can really influence your work with them?
Not really, I think they have to try with all their energy. Some designers I meet say: “I was afraid to contact you.” Don’t be afraid!!!
How do you like to be approached by designers?
Again, no rules. I like to discover them by myself of course, through the Internet, showrooms or social media or friends, but I don’t mind being contacted directly, and it happens a lot.
Could it be better for new brands to show you their collections off the fashion week schedule? I can only imagine how many appointments you have during the fashion season – what would be the most ideal time for you?
Any time. Anywhere. Any place.