Notice how designer collaborations are kinda like the hottest thing in fashion right now (ahem, Missoni for Target, Versace for H&M, Karl Lagerfeld for Macy's, etc.,)? Well so did Estefania Lacayo and Jessica Wilpon Kamel, design industry vets and BFFs, who decided to launch a members only retail site called Edition01 devoted to just that. Only these aren't hysteria-inducing collaborations between designers and mass retailers (not that we're mad at those...at all). The idea here is more refined. Lacayo and Kamel pair up with the hottest designers (Cushnie et Ochs, Vera Wang, Doo.ri to name a few) and commission them (and their factories) to create limited edition runs of their most quintessential pieces but in a new print, fabrication or colorway. Or, in the case of today's collection by Thakoon for home line Ankasa, they let designers experiment out of the comfort zones. New on the site today is Thakoon's line of pillows for Ankasa made with fabrics from his resort collection.
This is a site for the discerning fashionista--someone who wants something truly and special unique. When they say collections are limited edition--they mean it. Collections for Edition01 contain, on average, between 15 and 40 pieces max.
Want to know more? So did we. We sat down with Lacayo and Kamel to ask them just how Edition01 came about and how it works.
How did Edition01 come about? What are your backgrounds and how did you come together to make this happen? Jessica Wilpon Kamel: The inspiration came from wanting to create an online store that would not only sell exclusive collaborations, but facilitate them as well. We wanted to provide an online platform for the designers we love that wouldn’t be about discounts or flash sales. Our hope is to redefine what exclusive means by making shopping about the experience with the brand. We want to curate and edit our content to represent not only the brand identity, but to add valuable lifestyle content for our audience.
Estefania Lacayo: I had been working as a luxury consultant for the past five years helping fashion brands and retailers finding ways to generate sales, brand awareness via strategic sales, public relations trunk shows and partnerships. I was also helping a few high-end stores with product development as well as a few successful fashion start-ups. I started my career interning at Vogue in the summers and then worked at Vivre for a few years in the merchandising and public relations department. JWK: My background is in fine arts and architecture. I have a Masters degree in Interior Architecture from Pratt Institute where I studied everything from product design to construction documents. After grad school I worked as an architect for Markus Dochantschi of studiomda and left after three years to pursue my own design business.
What are some of the collaborations you have in the works and how do you get designers to do them? What dream collaborations would you like to make happen and what are the most unexpected collaborations you've helped to create so far?
JWK: Edition01 is a website where women can buy limited editions of fashion and accessory collections from over 90 of the most coveted designers in the world. We collaborate with these designers to recreate collections of their most popular items in their current season as well as bring back timeless designs from their previous seasons. One of the most compelling aspects of our business is that designers can experiment with certain concepts and thus use our site as a test bed for future products in a very cost effective way. Edition01 is for the girl who loves her designers, but wants another level of exclusivity and uniqueness. We create collaborations with that customer in mind.
EL: We are working on some exciting collaborations for spring. Some of the brands we are working with are Matthew Williamson, Prabal Gurung, Chrissie Morris, Christian Cota, Mario Schaab, and Angel Sanchez. We love the design process, so it’s always exciting when we get to play matchmaker to two different designers and have them collaborate on a capsule for us. We definitely have some dream collabs of our own. Stef would love one day to work with Azzedine Alaia.
You mentioned earlier you love the Target model of featuring limited edition collabs with designers--why do you think this is why women want to shop now?
EL: H&M and Target have obviously been hugely successful offering limited-edition designer collections at accessible prices. These retailers have shown that collaborations with luxury designers can be successful while still maintaining the integrity of the brand.
JWK: What we love is offering a challenge to a designer and having them stretch their creativity to offer the customer something truly unique. After all, a key motivator for buying luxury is the enjoyment of owning something others have not seen before. We are very much focused on the economics and profitability of this industry as much as we are on design, exclusivity, quality and customer experience.
And you know, the holidays are approaching. We suggest giving Edition01 a test drive. We've even got a promo code for you: nista2011. Happy shopping!