Posts tagged stores

Inspirare’s Store is Live!

Earlier this year I introduced readers to via a Q&A with the CEO and design team. The concept operates on a business model that leverages social media to promote fashion designers so much so that the most popular designs get vetted through the Inspirare team – and soon after a handful of pieces will be produced and sold under the designers label on Inspirare foots the production bill. The designer gets a cut of every sale made.

Just this week Inspirare’s eCommerce store launched with a selection of pretty dresses by five of the winning designers (of a hundreds of entries). Check out the items, and learn more about each designer, their inspiration, and the Inspirare team story today.

image of Bella dress by Nami

image of Miss Marble Dress by Alejandra De Coss

image of alexa dress by lila and june

*phone source:  Mark Rutherford

I Spy…Window Displays

Department store windows get the most attention during the holidays, but we see some wonderful window art pop up at other times of the year. For people who shop at brick and mortars, visual displays is the best way to advertise new products. Here are some of the best recent store window visuals.


Club Monoco


Henri Bendel’s

Hugo Boss

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton


Pull and Bear


Inspirare Fashion Design Contest Wraps up 5/31

Be the fashion designer to launch the new INSPIRARE shop! Inspirare is on the lookout for a standout women’s wear design which will be the first style to be manufactured, promoted and sold exclusively on

Designers, start drawing, draping, designing and get your entries uploaded to Inspirare to be in the running to win. Submission deadline is May 31, 2012. Hurry! Time is running out!

Here’s an overview of what can be won!
1st Place – awarded to the best design

  • Designer will receive amassed publicity and a generous 20% royalty from each unit of their design sold.
  • The winner will also have the choice of a trip to San Francisco OR $1600 to spend at the ultimate online luxury fashion destination, Net-A-Porter or other retailers.

2nd Place – awarded to five runner ups

  • $500 to spend at the ultimate online luxury fashion destination, Net-A-Porter or other retailers upon request and approval by Inspirare – OR a choice of an iPad, iPhone or an Android phone.
  • 2nd place styles will also be shortlisted for possible manufacture and sale in future production runs. Check Designer Agreement on the website for royalty payments and promotion details.

3rd Place – awarded to 24 designers

  • $100 to spend at the ultimate online luxury fashion destination, Net-A-Porter or other retailers upon request and approval by Inspirare.

Also, check out my interview with Inspirare’s CEO Sean Peng here.

Interview With The Inspirare Team

image f Inspirare logoInspirare is a local brand that helps expose new fashion designers to shoppers through an exclusive eCommerce shopping experience. *Bonus, designers who sell their goods on Inspirare get fully funded by Inspirare. The site was founded last month, by Sean Peng. I sat down with Sean to get more insight on this innovative concept. Inspirare team members Kate Blank and Anne McEnroe also chimed in to answer a few questions below.

Where did the idea of Inspirare come from?
Over the last few years I noticed many flash sale sites growing rapidly, I wondered how we can use social platform to promote creativity and maintain the value of the product, rather than just bringing consumers discounted merchandise. The last 12 months I’ve been fine tuning this idea of connecting creativity and consumers. This is how the Inspirare model was born. I wanted to build a solid platform for talented, emerging designers to connect with their customer directly. Providing an umbrella company assures both consumers and designers consistent branding, quality and a consistent experience.

How does it work?
Inspirare’s Discover page provides an online network that allows fashion designers to share their designs and reach a worldwide audience at no cost. This community gives members the opportunity to vote and give feedback on work, allowing talented designers and their creative designs to get discovered. The Inspirare team then takes on all the tasks of getting the designs made here in San Francisco, selling online to consumers who seek original designs and support creativity.

What makes Inspirare different from other eCommerce sites?
Inspirare is really unique; it’s different from other fashion eCommerce sites in that it does not limit creativity. Within women’s wear, designers can upload just about any type of design, design submission is free. Also, it’s not limited to predetermined options. For example select 1) A shape, and 2) A color and you have your ‘designed’ end product. Our products are genuinely designed from start to finish, by our Designer members. Designers simply upload their sketch or sample, and we work with them to make it into production.
Also, Inspirare is building a solid launchpad for emerging talents by providing 100% production funding and by managing everything from manufacturing, photo shoots, quality control, consumer fulfillment and support. Both the consumer and designer will have a consistent, high quality experience, ensuring longevity of the designer and satisfaction of the customer.

In your opinion, why should fashion designers work with Inspirare?
We feel we’ve really addressed many of the major obstacles limiting the emergence of new designers. One of the major risks is of course financial. It can be difficult for new talents to find the capital that is required to fund the production, promotion and sale of a collection before any money has come back into their label. By working with Inspirare, Designers get the production of their design 100% funded, so they take no risk but still receive a royalty on all of their sales.
Secondly, the royalty payments are, as mentioned above, generous. A designer can earn from 10% to 20% of the gross sales of each garment sold as well as one off Effort Bonuses.
Third, Inspirare takes care of all of the production, logistics and customer support, which can often be difficult to master in those early stages of label’s development when there are so many areas you need to juggle. Designers can really focus on fine tuning their craft and staying creatively focused, rather than spending 70% of their time tending to administrative, financial and operational details.

How did you pick San Francisco as your manufacturing base?
San Francisco was once one of the major apparel manufacturing cities in the US. As more and more people turned to mass produced clothing and outsourced to Asia, the apparel factories here sharply declined. Currently there is a hint of a reemergence in the area and it’s something that we want to be a part of and support the regrowth of jobs in this specialty industry in San Francisco.
Local production also gives us an opportunity to make smaller runs of unique products. We can closely monitor the quality of our goods and ensure fast turnaround times, getting the most popular designs in store and to the consumer quickly. Developing an efficient online model ensures that we can absorb the higher, local production costs.

Are there any special tips & tricks for designer submissions?
Kate Blank (Director of Fashion Design at Inspirare): Presentation and an individualistic style that runs throughout. I really love when I go to the designer behind a submission, take a look through their profile, and find a clear and concise representation of what they are all about. It’s all about the details.

What can consumers do to help Inspirare succeed?
Anne McEnroe (Part of the Fashion Design team at Inspirare): The success of any business depends on getting the word out there. Telling others about us, becoming a member of the Inspirare community though our website and shopping at our online store are several ways consumers can help us grow. Inspirare is not just about manufacturing and selling clothes. It’s about supporting emerging designers, keeping manufacturing local, and creating a quality marketplace for San Francisco fashion. We believe that our success is everyone’s success, and that’s worth sharing!

Tell us about the Inspirare Design Competition.
Kate Blank (Director of Fashion Design at Inspirare): It’s a really exciting opportunity for designers to win some amazing prizes but more importantly, receive some incredible media exposure and get their name out there. We are on the hunt for a stand out women’s wear design to be the first listed for sale on the Inspirare online shop. We are going to make their design into a product, sell it, promote it and as always, share the profit with the designer. The garment and the talent behind it will benefit from the huge advertising and marketing push that will be in place during our Shop Launch phase. It’s a really great opportunity for someone just starting out. On top of that, there are also some amazing prizes for both the 1st place winner and 29 runners up.

Who can apply for the Design Competition?
Kate Blank (Director of Fashion Design at Inspirare): Anyone who is creative and designs women’s wear. It is aimed at non-professional, emerging design talents so we have left it quite open as far as who can enter. We aren’t accepting garments that have been produced and sold, because we really want to see something new and fresh. The idea of Inspirare is to give a leg up to new designers. We really want to discover someone amazing and feel that this competition will help them on their road to success.

Paper Windows at SEPTIEME ETAGE

Septieme Etage in Geneva, Switzerland has been known to produce some remarkable window displays. I posted about the store’s paper cut displays produced by Mia Pearlman.

Septieme Etage is at it once again with window displays made of Fedrigoni paper. Artists Natascha Madeiski and Alex Graef designed the graphic displays. The visuals are an extension of the artists lamp project with Fedrigoni, called Naked City Lights.

Visual Displays at Septieme Etage and Au Dela du Septieme Etage in Geneva, Switzerland

While searching the web for some interesting visual store displays for a side project, I stumbled upon Paperstorm, which was produced by Cut Paper artists Mia Pearlman, for two Swiss stores in Geneva called Septieme Etage and Au Dela du Septieme Etage. Pearlman has been known for whipping up some pretty nifty looking paper art installations for various venues across around the globe (she has a pretty impressive portfolio, and a wonderful website). Her work seems to be themed around weather, and particularly dark and stormy weather. These installations for the Swiss stores were up in 2008, so this in not current, breaking news, but I thought the visuals were so beautiful that they were worth sharing with you.

G-Star RAW Gallery at the Shanghai World Expo

Actress Liv Tyler is the new face of urban, street-wear brand G-Star. Liv’s duty as brand ambassador has taken her to Shanghai to welcome the temporary pop-up gallery called the G-Star RAW Gallery to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. This is a momentous event for G-Star as this year’s World Expo is expected to be the largest to date with more than 190 countries represented, and an expected attendance of over 70 million visitors.

The G-Star RAW Gallery is a glass pavilion which houses a presentation of the lines: Raw Essentials, the Liv Tyler inspired Low-T, and the proprietary Arc denim styles. G-Star took this opportunity to showcase their signature craftsmanship by producing custom-made tool jackets and traditional Chinese dresses, which were made exclusively out of denim (shown below).

Previously, the G-Star RAW Gallery has appeared at Tokyo Design Week 2008 and 2009 (during the World Expo) and made an appearance at this year’s Pitti Immagine Uomo.

Louis Vuitton Maison in London

The Louis Vuitton Maison on New Bond Street in London opened its doors to the public today. Designed by architect Peter Marino, the establishment brings innovation, fashion and heritage under one roof.

As a reflection of the company’s long and proud tradition of collaborating with artists and purchasing art, Marino has designed the Maison (aka store) to resemble a collector’s home. The store is spread over three opulent floors and boasts a large selection of the fashion house’s products, a library, and work by heavyweight artists such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Gilbert and George.

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