Modern Fashion Since 1994

Buying 101 with Julie Eckert Clancy

With fall around us, September issues on everyone’s doorsteps and New York kicking off Fashion Week, we thought we’d tap Jophiel Owner, Buyer and Stylist for insight on how to buy for one of the nation’s premier fashion boutiques.

How do you see a look beyond the runway, no matter size, height or shape?

I was asked this question recently and had to ponder it for a while, but it came to me that I actually have been doing this every time I go to market, put a display together or style a client.  It seems like it should be a difficult question, but it is not.  When I look at a runway show or magazine fashion shoots and such, they never make me think, ugh…I always see the beauty of one piece or more.

Can you define the “ugh” feeling?  How do you keep it strictly business?  By that I mean not taking it personally that a woman’s figure is used more or less as a canvas and that canvas does not reflect everyone equally?

By that I mean, I don’t see my imperfections or yours (if you had any), or that we cannot wear it, I always find the beauty in the design, craftsmanship and the beauty of a special piece.  Sometimes it is even everything that has been perfectly selected for each outfit and styled with such originality.  But in taking fashion from the runway to the store comes down to this.  “Is it wearable, does it serve a purpose for our clients and is it something I believe adds value and/or want to fashion.”
Katie Eash Illustration Jophiel
Katie Eash

What do you mean by “want”?  Has the designer created both a need for a look while simultaneously filling it?

Want is a special quality in style.  Want is the something extra that we can’t always define about why we want it, we just know we do.  You see, I love that eclectic part of fashion.  I don’t want one size fits all, or everyone to be in the same uniform of style.  There is a beauty in fashion that should make us like the unexpected, uncommon, and indescribable.  Have you ever looked at an outfit and thought, “Why do I like this?  Something about it is off, but it is perfectly off and not common and that is why it works”.  This to me is the want. I can honestly say that I look at collections and individual fashion items when at markets with the idea of telling a story. 
For Jophiel to stay in business and continue to improve its offering, I must see runway looks with the idea of possibility, of different, of a creation, design and artistry that all work together to translate into a vision for a season that is wearable and desirable.  I look for diversity in styles and colors.  I look for the story of the season to start unfolding through the colors and design.  Then I work with that story, the vision from month to month and often into a next season.  So I don’t think much about size, height, or body type until I am sizing my order and then, I see certain styles as better for some shapes than others, or I see special pieces that can work for all body types. 

How does someone’s unique shape come into play here?  How do you recognize that that item you’ve honed in on will fit more than one size?

I know that someone that is more classic will style the season in one direction and for those that love the forward emerging trend of fashion will style it in another direction.  My job is to provide the fashion selections that allow creativity for each client. 
Long ago in the retail fashion business this was called being a merchant.  Knowing your clients, knowing what they wanted before they knew what they wanted, buying not by numbers dictated from a spreadsheet of sizes and percentages, but from that fashion instinct that was unique and special.  I like to think that I am a merchant. According to the dictionary a merchant is a retail trader, a store owner, a shopkeeper; a person with a partiality or aptitude for a particular activity or viewpoint.  Each day I tell my viewpoint with the fashion offerings we provide. So runway shows and fashion magazines serve a wonderful editorial purpose, but it really comes down to what each shopkeeper selects and as a honed and talented merchant, I have perfectly edited the selections for you.   It is my greatest pleasure to see all the Jophiel clients enjoy the story.  
Stylist and Jophiel owner, Julie loves that she gets to be around pretty clothing and work with beautiful people each day at the store!  As an entrepreneurial business leader in fashion she has the specific goal of continuing the unique perspective of a fashion merchant; selecting fashion lines, creating seasonal stories and inspiring creativity and success for Jophiel staff, clients and the community she serves. You can read more from Julie here and follow her blog Fashion Today With Julie.

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