Ports 1961 cre­ative di­rec­tor Mi­lan Vuk­mirovic on the brand’s lat­est streetwear col­lec­tion: Ports V

#Legend - - SPY CAM - KIERAN HO chats with Ports 1961 cre­ative di­rec­tor MI­LAN VUK­MIROVIC to find out more about Ports V, the brand’s lat­est streetwear col­lec­tion, in a cam­paign pho­tographed and pro­duced by Vuk­mirovic and styled by Marc Goehring

A MUL­TI­TUDE OF lux­ury fash­ion brands have been stream­lin­ing their fo­cuses and shak­ing off dif­fu­sion lines over the past years. Dolce & Gab­bana got rid of D&G; Marc Ja­cobs shed its Marc by Marc Ja­cobs la­bel; and Burberry fused its Burberry Pror­sum, Brit and Lon­don lines into one co­he­sive brand.

But there’s at least one brand out there dis­rupt­ing this trend. Ports 1961 has just an­nounced the launch of its de­but con­tem­po­rary streetwear-in­spired col­lec­tion, de­signed by cre­ative di­rec­tor Mi­lan Vuk­mirovic and avail­able exclusively on Far­fetch. The “see now, buy now” cap­sule is a col­lec­tion of uni­sex prod­ucts not meant to be col­lected and hid­den away in the wardrobe – this is a col­lec­tion for real, ev­ery­day life. Com­pris­ing a range of prod­ucts in­clud­ing slo­gan T-shirts, graphic sweaters, colour-block denim and ac­ces­sories such as back­packs, hats, card cases, phone cases and daily es­sen­tials, there’s def­i­nitely some­thing for ev­ery­body.

What prompted the launch of the Ports V line? Did you see a gap in the mar­ket?

I re­alised three years ago that a new gen­er­a­tion of clients was com­ing: Cus­tomers who love fash­ion, who have di­rect ac­cess to fash­ion via so­cial me­dia plat­forms – so, they’re well-in­formed – and who buy more and more on­line. This new digital gen­er­a­tion is fast. Peo­ple get bored quickly, and there­fore they want con­stant nov­elty and at a rea­son­able price point. Also, fash­ion is so much more demo­cratic to­day, so in the vol­ume of tonnes of col­lec­tions and brands, they want limited edi­tions and ex­clu­sive prod­ucts. And this mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion has no rules. They mix streetwear with sports­wear with lux­ury. It’s more than a trend; it’s a real change of con­sum­ing fash­ion. That’s why we came up with Ports V – a see-now, buy-now con­cept with six col­lec­tions a year, evolv­ing con­stantly with the trends.

How do you iden­tify emerg­ing trends?

When I start a col­lec­tion, I al­ways think about what I would like to wear next and what I have seen around me the past months – movies, mu­sic, ex­hi­bi­tions… A cre­ative di­rec­tor to­day needs to have his own voice and style, but also needs to be like a sponge and re­flect in his work what is go­ing on in the world.

What’s the turnover time for one cap­sule col­lec­tion from de­sign to de­liv­ery?

Ob­vi­ously the first year will be a test for us. For now, we have de­cided to have six cap­sules a year, so a new de­liv­ery ev­ery two months.

Col­lec­tions used to be bian­nual, then quar­terly and now, with Ports V, bi­monthly. This sched­ule seems to be closer to the drop rates of streetwear and fast fash­ion than that of a lux­ury brand. Do you think that hav­ing col­lec­tions tra­di­tion­ally re­leased sev­eral months apart – by sea­sons – isn’t quick enough to sat­isfy the con­stantly evolv­ing needs of your cus­tomers?

Ports V is not evolv­ing in the lux­ury world. Lux­ury needs time, so hav­ing a fash­ion show col­lec­tion on the cat­walk and see­ing it six months af­ter­wards in-store is okay. Even so, we are see­ing more and more lux­ury brands cre­at­ing small, ex­tra cap­sule col­lec­tions. Things are go­ing faster for sure. It’s a sign of the times.

Do you a think a brand and the de­sign­ers of a col­lec­tion should dic­tate what peo­ple wear, or should the sys­tem be more or­ganic, where there is more in­ter­ac­tion and di­a­logue be­tween the de­signer and the wearer?

Def­i­nitely more in­ter­ac­tion. Like I said be­fore, the new gen­er­a­tion of cus­tomers has no rules and aren’t so faith­ful to a brand in the long run if the creativ­ity and of­fer­ings aren’t ap­peal­ing to them. That said, the mar­ket­ing is be­com­ing so pow­er­ful for ev­ery brand that, by cre­at­ing limited edi­tions and cre­at­ing buzz, you push clients to buy. Mar­ket­ing peo­ple are lis­ten­ing more to clients’ needs and wants.

As con­sumers are be­com­ing aware of sus­tain­able and eth­i­cal fash­ion, con­sump­tion be­hav­iour is start­ing to change. How does a prod­uct line with bi­monthly cap­sule col­lec­tions such as Ports V fac­tor in sus­tain­abil­ity?

Sus­tain­able fash­ion is hap­pen­ing very slowly. For many brands, it’s a mar­ket­ing trick. The price point is so im­por­tant that it comes first for most of the com­pa­nies. Peo­ple are shop­ping vin­tage or re­cy­cled fash­ion be­cause it is a trend. In re­al­ity, com­pa­nies like H&M should pro­duce less.

Is this col­lec­tion de­signed to be a line of ever­green ba­sics to com­ple­ment higher-priced items from the main fash­ion col­lec­tion? Or rather, is it a col­lec­tion of the hottest thing at the mo­ment and you’d like to see it worn in its en­tirety?

Ev­ery Ports V cap­sule will be dif­fer­ent. It is re­ally about what I want to wear. Fash­ion al­ways comes with a de­sire. No­body needs one more ba­sic item…

These col­lec­tions op­er­ate on a see-now, buy-now sched­ule. Cus­tomers are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­pa­tient and want to get their hands on the new­est thing as soon as pos­si­ble. At the same time, more and more brands are adopt­ing this re­tail strat­egy. In a sense, fash­ion starts to lose its place as a pil­lar of de­sire and be­comes just another con­sumer prod­uct. Why do you think con­sumers have be­come so im­pa­tient?

Fash­ion will al­ways be there to make peo­ple dream. Fash­ion shows to­day are en­ter­tain­ment and pub­lic­ity. It feeds so­cial me­dia and con­sumers. It’s just go­ing faster. Clothes were al­ways sup­posed to be sold, so there is noth­ing wrong with be­ing more con­sumer-driven. Maybe the fash­ion world for­got that a few years ago and made space for Uniqlo, COS or Zara to ex­ist. But now, new con­sumers are tired of the ba­sics and want more creativ­ity. That’s why high fash­ion is still so rel­e­vant, and fast fash­ion is evolv­ing by be­ing cooler and less bor­ing.

What made you de­cide to dis­trib­ute this col­lec­tion exclusively through on­line re­tail? And why Far­fetch?

Ports V speaks to a cus­tomer for whom new­ness, ex­clu­siv­ity and ac­ces­si­ble price points are in­te­gral to their con­tem­po­rary fash­ion ex­pe­ri­ence. We felt that the launch exclusively through on­line re­tail in com­bi­na­tion with the on­line cam­paign on our Ports V In­sta­gram ac­count, in­clud­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tions with KOLs across in­dus­tries, gen­ders and na­tion­al­i­ties, was the per­fect way to reach and ac­ti­vate the hearts and minds of con­sumers. Far­fetch has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence op­er­at­ing glob­ally and is avail­able in dif­fer­ent lo­cal-lan­guage web­sites, which makes it a per­fect plat­form for the global ex­pan­sion of Ports V.

Al­though the launch was exclusively through on­line re­tail, I still see the im­por­tance of off­line re­tail in in­ter­act­ing with the con­sumer and cre­at­ing brand aware­ness. We aim to have pres­ence in the off­line chan­nel via pop-up stores, key de­part­ment stores and po­ten­tially di­rect re­tail. Ports V em­pha­sises our com­mit­ment to en­gag­ing with a new gen­er­a­tion at more ac­ces­si­ble price points, as pre­dictably, they will be­come our core con­sumer in the next decade.

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