top of page
  • Writer's pictureKatie

The Future of Fashion - Online versus In-person

I was sipping a cup of black tea in my office while reading up on some fashion news. I don't keep up with the industry as much as I should, but a certain article caught my attention. It was about a jewelry designer and his ability to buy back his name. This idea intrigued me. Buy back his name? How did he lose it?

See, he started his brand back in the early 1990s. In NYC he was lucky enough to get his pieces into department stores. Then opened some storefronts of his own. He worked with other designers such as Burberry and Michael Kors.

Literally, every designer's dream.

Then in 1996 Barney's went bankrupt. Other large departments stores would follow suit. By 2012 the jewelry designer had to sell 50% of his company off to stay afloat. I'm sure there's a lot more to the story there, but it must have been a hard decision. However, in 2015 he sold the remaining half to Carolee LLC, a brand owned by Brooks Brothers. And he left the industry without his name.

Well, Brooks Brothers went under last year. This was the designers' chance to start anew.

He bought back his brand. His name. His identity. This is something not many get the chance to do once it's gone. Now he is opening five new stores in NYC and one in San Francisco. As well as expanding to include handbags, hair accessories, and soft accessories.

The Questionable Future

I personally think his decision to expand on his product categories is smart. It's always good to have options. My question is, is his faith in brick-and-mortar stores a smart one? In the article he states,

"I don't believe physical stores are done; I just think we have to provide an interesting conceptual store that people will enjoy experiencing...I also think people are looking for community."

In my opinion, yes and YES. I love a thoughtfully designed store with products that are beautiful and beg to be bought for my home/closet. I've been in many stores where their design and displays blew me away. But I have yet to experience a sense of community while shopping. And this is coming from someone who has worked at big brand stores and has been "trained" to provide the customer with an experience they will remember. To me, it has always felt forced.

My Questions

I'm not really sure where I was going with this blog honestly. I just happened to see the news story and thought how interesting. And really wondered what other people may think of the situation.

  • What do you think of e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar?

  • Will the pandemic change the way we shop forever? Or will it go back to "normal"? No masks, no plastic dividers, and no social distancing?

  • Is the jewelry designer's decision to forge ahead with in-person stores a smart one? Or will he be reliving the past?

  • How can we build a community within the fashion industry? Rather than the one-and-done transaction that currently exists.

There is so much more to fashion than just style. Personally, I long for the days when it was viewed as a craft. When the process was more hands-on and intimate. But I want to hear your thoughts. Post in the comments below or in the comments of the Facebook/Instagram share of this blog post.

Here is the original news story for reference.

Katie Knipper

Owner, Designer, Maker

Hammer & Heart Heirlooms