“Pursuing a retail business model in the RTW designer sector is a ticking time bomb. The calendar systems, the showroom platform, the power in the hands of powerless retailers― they’re very scary outdated formulas,” says Amanda Phelan, the former Alexander Wang knitwear designer who launched her buzzy eponymous New York label in 2015.
After over a year of navigating everything that comes with operating a young brand, Phelan decided to take a step back from NYFW last season, and pivot her business strategy. Now, Phelan is returning with an innovative new way of producing and promoting her collection.
Instead of operating like a standard ready-to-wear line, Phelan will focus on a direct-to-consumer, see-now-buy-now model, dropping limited-edition capsules (the first of which is knitwear, of course) to be showcased on her new, high tech website featuring 360-degree photography and video. Sounds like the approach most brands should be taking these days…
As for the new collection, “C4,” Phelan was stirred by the national atmosphere post-election. “There was so much sadness and political hostility, not to mention the incessant barking of ‘retail apocalypse’ industry news,” she said. “I witnessed this desire in myself to revert to a state of childlike innocence, a state of wonder. I think everyone was seeking a sense of renewal.” She began thinking a lot about drawing—her favorite childhood pastime—which led to her looking back through old sketchbooks, and finding inspiration in her the black-and-white line drawings.
Expanding on her free-form artistic ideas, Phelan is forgoing the runway this season, and promoting her latest collection with a seriously trippy new film (above). The film not only gives her more control over building a world, but also allows her to reach a wider audience—things one can’t get from hosting a live event.
Movement has always been a key concept for Phelan, whose abstract film merges dance with animation, featuring live-action models wearing the collection―and CGI animation mirroring the clothing’s graphic lines. “A specific theme for the film, and for the Phelan brand, is the old confronting the new,” she said of her movie. “We wanted to create a strong female domain, and we wanted these women to explore the breadth of the brand’s textiles using CGI animation.”
Interestingly, most of Phelan’s discussions with directors about the film started with talking about the current state of the fashion industry. Despite her weariness for the existing retail structure, she is intrigued by new technology, and how it can better reach customers. “What’s happening to the industry is exciting for emerging brands. Literally everything is an open door right now. It is a time of incredible opportunity and experimentation, for new business platforms and new genres of media,” she explained. “There is a need for dreams and truth in fashion like never before, and I wanted to inspire others to embrace a more positive, shared narrative in the face of industry change.”
Visit Phelan.com to shop the “C4” collection and learn more about the brand.
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createdAt:Wed, 06 Sep 2017 20:35:35 +0000