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Buying 101 With Julie Eckert Clancy

Our next installment of Buying 101 with Jophiel Owner and President Julie, we talk about Fall/Winter 2016 and look to one of Jophiel’s most popular lines: Marc Cain, and their fall runway show for fashion inspiration. 

Julie, you’re gearing up for another buying trip to New York, but runway season is almost over.  Market week is something separate from a runway show.  How is the paparazzi craze and hype of a runway show different than market and/or actually buying for a store?

The actual art or talent of buying, because there is a part of buying that is not by the numbers (statistics), is actually so different than the runway shows or editorial photos we constantly see with the fashion show downloads.  You actually go to the designer’s showroom or the designer could be represented by a United States agent to see the collection.  Sometimes you are at a trade show with thousands of other buyers.  Sometimes there are models to put looks on for you, but not always.  The representative I work with is most of the time very familiar at this point with our history of purchases and often has put together a story that they think will be a representation of pieces I would like for the season.  But most of the time, I like to look through every piece, because I am seeing each piece as an overall story not just for the collection but for the season along with every designer collection we carry.  Sometimes a fabulous piece from the runway is just not wearable or probably more important “sellable”.  So, you have to see what trends and new fashion you think your clients will be attracted to and then believe in all the looks in order to create that desire for the client to want to purchase and wear.  True buying is about knowing what will be “wanted” by shoppers, that simple.  A designer mostly creates because they think it will be “wanted” by shoppers.  You see “wanted” is different than needed.  Wanted has an emotional connection to the whole idea of fashion, style and image portrayed when wearing it. 

In the Marc Cain runway show, there were a lot of coats.  At the store, we’ve talked about the importance of “tweener” coats, or those perfectly weighted coats to wear during transitional weather and almost as a topper while indoors.  How do you think they will continue to play a role this coming fall?

Marc Cain FW 2016 Runway Show Marc Cain FW 2016 Runway
Tweener coats have always been around.  But there have been a lot more interesting options the past few years and I do think this will continue as a strong part of our wardrobes.  Why?  Because they offer such versatility.  They offer you the ability to layer or un-layer them according to the temperature and season.  The largest difference too is the variety of causal and dressier options.  A tweener can be a leather jacket, a chunky cardigan, a sleek double face wool, a lightweight puffer jacket, even a poncho, and I could go on and on. 

We’ve also been loving the return of the trouser and wide-legged cropped pant.  Looks like they’ll continue to be in the spotlight for fall, how will their Jophiel story continue to unfold?

 Marc Cain FW 2016 Runway Show
Personally, I could not be happier about the return of pant options to our wardrobe.  I absolutely love when fashion has variety for all body types and styles and I absolutely hate when fashion tries to dictate a trend that is not good for all body types and styles.  Crop trousers, wide leg pants, slim ankle lengths, the new pull on and rolled up jeans give us so many options to express our style.  So Jophiel will continue to offer a diverse choice in fit, design, look and fabric.  We need the options to best compliment the new tops, the layered look, the new shirting, our shoes and all the dimension of individual style that we advocate.

In your role as a fashion merchant, how has the dynamic of fashion and buying changed with the popularity of fashion bloggers? 

I would say that the immediacy in which the consumer can see a fashion show or read and see fashion bloggers requires a merchant to be more aware of what is happening right now.  You can’t chase (as we say in the business) trends as easily.  You always need to be current, in the know, driving your place in the editorial part of fashion.
It kind of all comes to fulfillment when the style, fit and quality all align with how an individual sees themselves. If that look reflects how they identify with themselves and brings them confidence, we've done our job.  But it starts with a designer’s initial concept brought to the consumer by a fashion merchant and styled to perfectly fit with that consumer’s identity.

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