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New label Fall Risk launches collection through dedicated telephone hotline

New York-based streetwear label, Fall Risk, has released its very first collection via a digital showroom, but its only shoppable by calling a dedicated hotline.

The phone line (+1 212.982.7475) is highlighted on the brand’s website alongside a tagline that reads “CALL TO ORDER”. Befitting the overall retro atmosphere of the site, this is written out in green pixelated letters on a black background, reminiscent of early years computer screens.

Once a customer calls, the designer himself – John Targon (a former employee of Marc Jacobs, Celine and Burberry) – or one of his team will pick up the phone to discuss the purchase.

“The idea of personal connection is the biggest driving force for me right now,” the designer shared in an interview with CR Fashionbook. “I wanted to connect directly with the people who are interested in buying Fall Risk. There was no better way for me to get the true feeling of what is resonating other than by directly listening to my potential customers. Also, it’s fun to listen and talk to them since you can understand what people already own and what they need.”

The collection itself invites references of the 70s and 90s fashion eras, featuring unisex knitwear clothing and accessories. Only 50 items have been produced of each style, which explains why they all sold out after launching only yesterday.

A campaign image of newly launched NY fashion label Fall Risk

Fall Risk is cleverly tapping into the successful marketing strategies of streetwear brands, garnering hype around limited edition collection “drops”. For example on the top of the digital showroom website, a small tab to the left shows a timer that counts down to the brand’s next drop. Currently, it is set for 00:00:00, but items such as that shown in the ad above have not yet been released, suggesting another range of styles is not far off.

In the future, the designer has outlined his ambitions to introduce a membership program that will allow members to preorder items and participate in exclusive events.

Fall Risks’ retro approach to selling its merchandise is one of the latest examples of how streetwear is tapping into consumers’ need for newness. Adidas, for example, gifted their newest sneaker collaboration with Childish Gambino via Apple’s AirDrop feature to lucky festival-goers at Coachella this year.

How are you thinking about e-commerce innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Upscaling of sneaker brands threatens luxury fashion

adidas Yeezy sneakers

Chinese office worker Fan remembers when she carried both high heels and sneakers to work, how much her feet hurt after a long day of work on the heels and how her beloved sneakers saved the day.

Fan works as an HR Consultant in a tech firm in Beijing, she said she now wears sneakers in the office. “I can’t remember when it first started, but (wearing sneakers at work) definitely become more popular in recent years.”

Fan said fashion bloggers influence her choice of fashionable sneakers the most, and she shares the styles on her WeChat account. As she became more comfortable wearing sneakers inside and outside of work, Fan became more willing to spend upwards of $200 on each pair of shoes.

A report by Chinese consulting firm Zhi Yan, Industry Analysis and investment prediction of Chinese footwear market from 2018-2024, pinpoints the start of the great sneaker boom to be as early as 2014, predicting that by 2020, the sports-inspired footwear and apparel market will grow to 246.7 billion yuan ($38.6 billion). The sales of sneakers are predicted to outgrow sports apparel by almost 3% by 2020.

The stylish sneaker trend is starting to have an impact on the sales of footwear from traditional luxury brands. Analysts from investment bank RBC Europe wrote in a recent report that, “The casualization trend is benefiting categories like sneakers and down jackets at the expense of formal wear/formal shoes.” Last year Euromonitor pointed out that the high-end athleisure market is forecast to overtake China’s luxury market by 2020.

On luxury e-commerce platform OFashion, there is very little difference between the price of sneakers by luxury brands, and sneakers by traditional sportswear labels. For example, a pair of Adidas Yeezy Desert Rat 500 is marked at 3149 yuan ($492.8), Gucci’s Ace embroidered sneaker sells for 3880 yuan ($607.28), Air Vapormax Off White is 5090 yuan ($796.66), and Balenciaga’s Speed Signature Mesh Sock Sneaker can be purchased for 4980 yuan ($779.39).

Although this competition may not be good news for luxury brands, the impact it has brought on the sportswear industry is positive, allowing sneakers to be sold at a higher price and with a higher product margin than ever before. According to Erwan Rambourg from HSBC, this is, “the luxurization of sneakers”.

Gildo Zegna, CEO of Italian luxury fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, attributed the rising price of sportswear sneakers to their rise in emotional value, “If there is one product today that is impulse driven and creates emotions among consumers, it is the sneaker (…) you are talking about people spending $100 to $700 on a single pair.”

Higher pricing has enabled sports brands to share the driving seat with luxury brands. Yet more alarming for luxury brands is a new culture of sneaker exchange – partially driven by emotions and impulse. Young consumers are viewing purchasing of limited edition sneakers in a similar way to that of a Birkin bag – many hold immediate investment value and can be auctioned for much higher prices.

Stock X, a trading platform designed to make sneaker exchange easier, allows buyers to put their sneakers up for auction, and others to buy in real time just like exchanging stocks. Users get their own sneaker portfolio, and track the value of their collection over time, comparing it to others. Two years since the platform was founded, Stock X regularly exceeds as high as $2 million sales a day – approximately 12,000 transactions. On Stock X, the option of shipping to China is now available, and as Fashion Network reported early this year, the company is moving towards further expansion in China.

It’s hard to say how much crossover there is between sneakerheads and luxury buyers, but the healthy growth of both industries are being heavily fueled by young millennials. As the growth of streetwear consumption in China surpasses other fashion industries, the increasing exposure to urban clothing will make consumers open to the option of investing in a pair of higher-priced sneakers.

Meanwhile, the changing structure has led brands to think twice about their production strategies. Paul Andrew, the creative director of Italian brand Salvatore Ferragamo, said in an interview with W magazine: “People wear sneakers so much now that the architecture of the foot has really changed. Italian shoemakers often use casts that are 30 years old, but feet today have become more spread out.” Now he adds a pad made out of memory foam to all of his shoes.

By Ruonan Zheng 

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a content partner of TheCurrentDaily: Upscaling of Sneaker Brands Threatens Luxury Fashion

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Capturing #SXSW Interactive’s fashion crowd

Hundreds of individuals can be spotted out and about during SXSW toting hefty cameras, ready at any moment to snap the über eccentric crowd for their various street style blogs…

During the music portion of the festival that is.

During Interactive, it’s somewhat of a different affair. The nerds are in town, an estimated 28,000 of them, and the style bloggers don’t so much follow. But there is a little bit of fashion hanging around in there too. Honest!

So as a little bit of a joke, my dear friend Sarah Owen captured some of them for me during Monday’s Fashion Brain Bar, thrown by Fashion’s Collective.

The best thing about the resulting mini gallery below, is it epitomises Fashion & Mash, each of those featured working at the very crossroads of designer and digital for the likes of Net-a-Porter, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Aritzia, WGSN, Moving Image & Content and the aforementioned Fashion’s Collective. There is also, of course, the lovely Cannon Hodge from Bergdorf Goodman, and Aliza Licht, better known as DKNY PR Girl, in there too.

SXSW is all about what’s next; in our industry, these are some of the people really paving the way…

More insight to follow from the festival keynotes and panels soon…