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The fu­ture of fash­ion is at the end of a mouse – Gemma Jones catches up with the on­line fash­preneurs

Friday - - Living -

What’s your per­sonal style?

Fem­i­nine and chic with a tad of swag! I wear clas­sic pieces and use unique ac­ces­sories to spice up my look. I’m crazy about flo­rals and prints and love to mix them up with sin­gle­colour basics.

How does your per­sonal style af­fect the buy­ing process of the com­pany?

I tend to go for things with a bit of edge. I keep it fresh and unique with a touch of that re­gional twist. I like to ex­press my­self through fash­ion and add ele­ments of some­thing dis­tinc­tive to my looks, which trans­lates into my per­sonal style.

What’s your back­ground with the com­pany?

I am one of the co-founders of www.fash­link. com. Ini­tially we launched in Jan­uary 2012 as an in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal cat­a­logue dis­play­ing all the lat­est in fash­ion in re­tail stores around the UAE. Be­fore the end of 2012 we took a step into the e-com­merce world and re­vamped the site into an on­line bou­tique of­fer­ing unique items from re­gional de­sign­ers.

My in­spi­ra­tion has al­ways been sup­port­ing re­gional tal­ent, and there is a lot of it! Un­for­tu­nately there are very few bou­tiques in the re­gion that can of­fer all their prod­ucts on­line. So I wanted to pro­vide a plat­form for de­sign­ers to show­case their prod­ucts through the vir­tual realm.

We de­liver world­wide and we love the fact that we have cus­tomers for our re­gional de­sign­ers that or­der from all cor­ners of the world. We are also ex­pand­ing our of­fer­ing to af­ford­able, unique and fash­ion-for­ward items that can’t be found in ev­ery other mall.

What other web­sites do you shop on?

I find that www.asos.com is great for fast fash­ion, and www.shop­bop.com of­fers most lux­ury brands.

What’s unique about your com­pany?

Our items tend to be fash­ion-for­ward for the con­ser­va­tive woman, or the woman liv­ing in a con­ser­va­tive re­gion. As the de­sign­ers we work with are from the GCC and the Le­vant, they mostly have a lit­tle eth­nic twist to their prod­ucts.

Within the month we will be launch­ing the Mid­dle East’s first fash­ion iPhone app, which means that you can shop on the go. Our An­droid edi­tion will be com­ing shortly af­ter.

We are also ex­pand­ing our prod­uct line to fast-fash­ion, on-trend items avail­able at af­ford­able prices, and we will be launch­ing our men’s sec­tion soon as well.

If money was no ob­ject, what would be your one blow-out style pur­chase?

I’d buy my­self a walk-in wardrobe with all the new-sea­son col­lec­tions, world’s best ‘it’ bags and, of course, those must-have shoes!

What’s your per­sonal style?

Un­der­stated el­e­gance with a hint of colour.

How does your per­sonal style af­fect the buy­ing process of the com­pany?

What we buy de­pends on the de­mand from our clients. In ad­di­tion, each cat­e­gory is man­aged by an ex­pert. While my per­sonal style has a very small in­flu­ence on the buy­ing process, I must ad­mit that I am a big fan of Chanel and Louis Vuit­ton, es­pe­cially vin­tage finds. While I find Chanel prod­ucts clas­sic and beau­ti­ful, the savoir faire and crafts­man­ship of Vuit­ton never fails to im­press me.

What’s your back­ground with the com­pany?

I gained ex­pe­ri­ence in lux­ury man­age­ment dur­ing my time work­ing as a re­tail sales man­ager for Louis Vuit­ton. While I was there, I was over­whelmed with re­quests for dis­counts, al­ways hav­ing to dis­ap­point ev­ery­one as top brands like Vuit­ton, Hermes and Chanel never dis­count their prod­ucts.

I won­dered if there was a so­lu­tion to this prob­lem, and one day while speak­ing to a friend about it, it oc­curred to me that the only way to get a BMW at 40 per cent less than the orig­i­nal price was to buy it pre-owned... so could this work for bags?

This led me to start www.thelux­u­rycloset. com, which of­fers pre-owned items from top lux­ury brands, most of which are in likenew con­di­tion. The site started sell­ing only hand­bags in Jan­uary 2012, but now we of­fer a wide range in­clud­ing lux­ury watches, shoes and jewellery.

What other web­sites do you shop on?

I shop on www.ama­zon.com. Also, a site I spend a lot of time on is www.emi­rates.com, which is an ex­am­ple of ex­cel­lent cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in my view.

What’s unique about your com­pany?

Mainly the prod­ucts we have, which range from Hermes Birkins to the clas­sic ‘it’ bag Louis Vuit­ton Speedy. It is about find­ing items from cov­eted brands, and cu­rat­ing ex­quis­ite items from the world over. Our pop­u­lar items sell fast, which leads our clients to come back of­ten to check what’s new – some of them visit our site al­most ev­ery day.

We are ex­cited to ex­pand our cat­e­gories. We re­cently added branded jewellery and are look­ing to start with cloth­ing soon. We’re also work­ing very hard on de­vel­op­ing our on-site cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. We’re cur­rently work­ing on a re­quest func­tion, which will al­low our clients to be as spe­cific as, “Email me when a Prada shoe in red in a size 39 gets added.”

If money was no ob­ject, what would be your one blow-out style pur­chase?

It would be a clas­sic car. Per­haps an old Mercedes SL con­vert­ible.

What is your per­sonal style?

My day-to-day style pretty much con­sists of a sharp-cut pair of chi­nos, pat­terned shirt and a round-neck pullover. I live in Grenson brogues. I have a lot of shirts. I’m very fussy! To sum it up, I would say I’m a clas­sic kind of guy with an eye for qual­ity.

How does your per­sonal style af­fect the buy­ing process for the com­pany?

As a par­ent, I make sug­ges­tions, but we have a re­ally fan­tas­tic buy­ing team at Alexan­dAlexa who are in tune with what our cus­tomers like, as well as what’s on trend each sea­son

for chil­dren’s wear.

What’s your back­ground with the com­pany?

Six years ago and with two chil­dren un­der the age of five, my wife and I loathed the stress of fam­ily shop­ping trips and wanted to ac­cess the world’s best kids’ col­lec­tions with­out hav­ing to hit a high street on a busy Satur­day af­ter­noon. As reg­u­lar on­line shop­pers for our­selves, in 2007 we iden­ti­fied a gap in the mar­ket for a pre­mium chil­dren’s on­line store, and the Alexan­dAlexa brand was born. We strived to cre­ate an on­line shop­ping des­ti­na­tion for par­ents like us.

What other web­sites do you shop on?

I like www.mr­porter.com and www.yoox. com for my­self, also www. match­es­fash­ion.com and www. ernestalexan­der.com. For gifts for Alexa, I al­ways go to www.net-aporter.com, and Mr & Mrs Smith’s new fam­ily site is my go-to for hol­i­day book­ings!

What’s unique about your com­pany? ?

We’re so pas­sion­ate about ev­ery item we se­lect for our cus­tomers and strive to in­spire them with our ex­per­tise, pre­sented in a way that makes shop­ping for your child fun. We’ve evolved be­yond just be­ing about the la­bels.

Al­though fash­ion is the essence of what we do, it’s now about cu­rat­ing the best in style, in­no­va­tion, per­for­mance and de­sign for chil­dren – whether that’s an awe­some high chair you’d be proud to have in your home or a Nike run­ning shoe you trust is the best you can buy.

If money was no ob­ject, what would be your one blow-out style pur­chase?

I’d buy the most deca­dent watch you can find! I love watches, par­tic­u­larly ones by Pan­erai and Hublot.

Clip-on ear­rings Dh250 Wayed Vin­tage Sphire Love necklace Dh420, Co­quette Dress Dh1,430, Yasi Couture

Clutch Dh145, Bas Huroof

ESF Spring

ear­rings Dh230, The Ah­lis

Mo­hawk suede pumps size 38 Dh1,490, YSL Zippy wallet Dh2,285, Louis Vuit­ton Hand­bag Dh6,980, Louis Vuit­ton Clutch Dh3,840, Matthew Wil­liamson for Bul­gari Pumps size 38 Dh1,305,

Chris­tian Louboutin

Geo­met­ric shift dress Dh555, Rok­sanda Ilin­cic

tune with Keep­ing kids in

is the idea be­hind high-end trends

com www.alexan­dalexa. Mint jelly ap­ple Mary Janes Dh195, Mini Mel­lissa

Stripe heart ap­plique dress Dh277, Rykiel


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