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The Glossy Podcast is a weekly show discussing the impact of technology on the fashion and luxury industries with the people making change happen.

The Glossy Podcast Glossy

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The Glossy Podcast is a weekly show discussing the impact of technology on the fashion and luxury industries with the people making change happen.

    Designer LaQuan Smith on overcoming lockdown challenges and industry tokenism

    Designer LaQuan Smith on overcoming lockdown challenges and industry tokenism

    The ongoing demand for LaQuan Smith's signature sexy designs is both a blessing and a curse, as he put it on the Glossy Podcast.

    "It was a very humbling experience, because I had to find alternative ways to still be able to produce these orders," Smith said. "Thankful they didn't get dropped, but also, damn, because I'm now in a compromised position: How do I get these done, how do I fulfill all these orders on time?"
    Smith pulled it off by having his cutters work from home while "packing and shipping from my living room," he said. To him, the fact that his designs are in demand despite a pandemic gives him further confidence in his self-named brand, which he said faced significant doubts when it debuted in 2013.
    But he said he's recently faced tokenism, whereby his achievements as a designer have been flattened by his grouping with other Black designers.
    "You can't group me with [someone] who just started designing three months ago on Instagram. That's not fair," Smith said, referring to the lists of Black designers to support, that have recently surfaced across media channels. "They're putting all these Black designers in one box. To me, this is not the way you do that. If you want to really celebrate designers of color, you do it the right way."

    • 45 min.
    Something Navy's Arielle Charnas and Matt Scanlan on the brand's delayed (and massive) launch

    Something Navy's Arielle Charnas and Matt Scanlan on the brand's delayed (and massive) launch

    After a pandemic-caused delay, influencer Arielle Charnas' clothing company Something Navy finally relaunched last week as a direct-to-consumer brand, after selling exclusively as a Nordstrom collaboration.
    For her and interim CEO Matt Scanlan, it was worth the wait: Online, Something Navy grossed $1 million in just 30 minutes, according to Charnas and Scanlan.
    "The velocity and speed of sales totally broke our back end," Scanlan said on the Glossy Podcast.
    Charnas has a considerable Instagram following of 1.3 million to thank for the marketing push. In fact, Something Navy didn't spend a dollar on traditional marketing, Scanlan said.
    But a massive following can also come with scrutiny. Back in March, Charnas drew criticism for the way she handled a Covid-19 diagnosis -- withdrawing to a house outside of NYC, rather than staying home.
    "People wanted me to be more sensitive about what was going on in the world, and I should have been," Charnas said.
    Scanlan and Charnas talked about the lessons learned, the future of influencer culture and the new KPIs for a clothing company.

    • 50 min.
    'A great way to get everyone's attention': Anifa Mvuemba on the Instagram Live show that turned heads

    'A great way to get everyone's attention': Anifa Mvuemba on the Instagram Live show that turned heads

    Putting on a digital fashion show isn't especially revolutionary.
    But Anifa Mvuemba, the founder of Hanifa, gave her Instagram Live show a novel twist: there weren't any models, whether digital or real.
    "This will be a great way to get everyone's attention," Mvuemba recalled thinking, on the Glossy Podcast.
    Her virtual runway was stalked by Hanifa dresses, moving of their own accord as if draped over moving ghosts. It was a painstaking endeavor of animation and design, but it paid off.
    Tens of thousands tuned in, according to Fast Company. "The sales, it was immediate -- probably the best month we've had since I started my company," Mvuemba said.
    The attention was big enough to push Mvuemba into a more significant public relations hire in the Hinton Group. Next, Mvuemba plans on turning heads again with technical feats (even though "we're still coming down from the high from the first one") and launching shapewear for women of color in the coming months.

    • 34 min.
    Sarah Ahmed on making Warp+Weft's future 'pandemic-proof'

    Sarah Ahmed on making Warp+Weft's future 'pandemic-proof'

    Speaking for her corner of the fashion industry -- luxury denim -- Warp+Weft founder Sarah Ahmed said that discussions around racial issues should only be beginning. "If everyone was always receptive to this -- to racial equality -- we wouldn't be having these problems," Ahmed said on the Glossy Podcast.
    "We all need to take a look: maybe the joke that we make, the model choice that we made -- why did we make that?" she said.
    Warp+Weft is progressive on other fronts. Its manufacturing process consumes a fraction of the water that jeans -- a notoriously resource-intense garment -- typically do, according to Ahmed.
    And because of the impact of the pandemic, Ahmed hopes to make the family-owned businesses she's a part of (Warp+Weft is one, DL1961 is the other) smarter about human resources.
    Ahmed said the company saw a spike in e-commerce sales -- yes, even though they're jeans, not sweatpants. But it still had to make layoffs. For the future, Ahmed said, "I talk to people on the team and tell them 'Listen, let's make you and this role irreplaceable -- and so key to the company that you feel needed, and we need you, and you're pandemic-proof.' I think that's how employers need to be looking at their roles."

    • 57 min.
    Trina Turk on getting political: There's a lot of 'stick to fashion'

    Trina Turk on getting political: There's a lot of 'stick to fashion'

    Before the coronavirus pandemic, Trina Turk's self-named fashion label made 15% of its sales through e-commerce.
    But with Neiman Marcus' filing for bankruptcy in May and an ongoing lack of foot traffic at mall stores, Turk ideally wants that percentage raised to 50% or more.
    "If they weren't shopping online prior to this whole thing, they are jumping online now," Turk said about shoppers on the Glossy Podcast. "I don't think we're alone in really examining how we can pivot our business to be much more e-comm-focused.
    Turk talked about managing her relationship with department stores to minimize the excess inventory brought about by the global retail shutdown, exploring the potential of client meetings done via Zoom and hiring more diversely once the company recovers from its layoffs and hiring freeze.

    • 40 min.
    Knix founder Joanna Griffiths: 'The next legacy brands are being created in real time'

    Knix founder Joanna Griffiths: 'The next legacy brands are being created in real time'

    Womenswear brand Knix has already gone through the painful transition to DTC that other clothing companies are being forced into during the pandemic.
    "I feel for those brands," Knix CEO Joanna Griffiths said on the Glossy Podcast. "But I also know that it's possible."
    Griffiths founded the company in 2013 to make and market leakproof underwear. At the time, the business model was entirely about wholesale. "I did trunk shows at every Equinox location in the United States, I think," Griffiths said.
    But in the 2016, she decided to pull out of more than 700 retail locations across North America and shift to direct-to-consumer, out of a concern for size inclusivity. "A lot of the traditional retailers wouldn’t carry our size assortment," Griffiths has previously told Glossy. On the podcast, she described it as a "really scary decision" to "basically cut our revenue in more than half and start over," she said.
    That decision is panning out. This past May, sales were up 135% year-over-year, in part thanks to Knix's categories -- wireless bras and loungewear -- being in high demand in an age of social distancing.

    • 39 min.

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