MATCHESFASHION.COM fashion and buying director Natalie Kingham tells us what she's on the hunt for at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
What lured you down to Australian Fashion Week this year?
We always try to have one of the MATCHESFASHION.COM buying team present at MBFWA as it has a point of difference to the rest of the fashion weeks. For me it is always about keeping an open mind when attending shows and visiting showrooms - we are always on the lookout for interesting new brands that can offer something different within our edit. It is less about looking for specific products and more about discovering that exciting new label that we know our customer is going to love. We are always looking at our edit of brands, re-evaluating and working out what is missing. In my opinion the most important thing for a buyer to remember is to buy with a strong point of view and belief and to keep things fresh and exciting.
What are your favourite Australian brands?
Albus Lumen is a brand I’m particularly interested in seeing. I was first introduced to the brand when I was in Sydney for fashion week a couple of years ago and it’s one that our customers have really loved since we launched it. The brand has gone from strength to strength each season and I’m excited to see what the new season looks like. I also loved the brand’s collaboration with jewellery designer Ryan Storer for SS18, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this has evolved as well.Lee Mathews is another brand that we have worked with for a couple of seasons now—the collection is focused on effortless feminine designs and have proven to be incredibly versatile that translate across our international markets.
Do you currently stock any Aussie labels - if so, can you please name them?
We currently stock twelve Australian brands – Albus Lumen, Camilla, Carl Kapp, Ellery, Ephemera, Le Specs, Lee Matthews, Matteau, Pippa Holt, Ryan Storer, The Upside, Zimmermann. They all perform really well for us and our clients love that laid-back, clean and simple aesthetic.
How important is resort to your business - what percentage of sales does it account for?
As an International retailer our client wants to be able to buy-in season wherever they are in the world – whether they are looking for swimwear in December or knitwear in July. Additionally, our global customer has become increasingly impatient with the traditional fashion cycle, with a buy now wear now ethos. Resort collections have become such an important and viable part of the fashion calendar, and of our business. This is why with MBFWA being resort focused, it is so important for us to be in market.
We also work closely with many of our designers on exclusive capsule collections so that our customer can discover new pieces that excite and delight throughout the year and why this Emilia Wickstead vacation capsule is so perfect. We find these capsule collections do well for us as they are another way of injecting some freshness into the buy mid-way through the season.
Our international customers travel globally and enjoy the vibrancy and beauty of destinations like the Amalfi Coast, Bali beaches or Fijian islands. The MATCHESFASHION.COM vacation studio appeals to them as it is shoppable all year round, so whether they are travelling in the summer months or taking a winter break there is always a strong edit of holiday-wear available. Vacation wear appeals to the romantic side of most women, if you have to be polished and more serious in your day to day life it’s the perfect chance to experiment with or enjoy those more bohemian pieces. It’s also a growing category as so many designers have noticed that its relevant to have a vacation offer within their collections.
What are the benefits of importing Australian labels into your business?
We are always impressed by the calibre of design talent that emerges out of Australia – from Zimmermann to Ellery, Matteau to Albus Lumen, just naming a few – they all offer a unique point of view which is so important. We have found many of the Australian designers have so quickly become international names and brands which is so exciting - brands such as Zimmermann are frequently in our best sellers list and exclusive collaborations with Ellery in the past have almost sold out as soon as its launched on site. We have a global client who loves to discover the new and wants to be excited and delighted by our offer and our clients in Australia are no different – they are fashion savvy individuals who come to us for our curated edit of new and established designers.