Anya Hindmarch Luxury Stickers

The success of Anya Hindmarch’s line of leather stickers, designed in collaboration with Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall’s creative consultancy Chaos Fashion, has been nothing short of remarkable. Launched in Spring/Summer 2015, the stickers, which feature smiley faces, “yes” slogans and cartoon thunderbolts, have proved a hit that has generated over $18 million in only two seasons. “We’re hitting three hundred thousand ordered — 12 million pounds ($18.7 million) of retail,” said Hindmarch, whose London-based luxury accessories brand, which has 56 stores worldwide, has brought an injection of playfulness to the oft-traditional world of leather goods.

For decades, schoolchildren have half-jokingly defined themselves by who or what they stuck on their schoolbooks and notepads. From pop-stars to monster trucks, My Little Pony to Power Rangers, the act of taking cultural motifs and, literally, sticking them to our belongings is a fond childhood memory for millions, including Hindmarch. 

“When I was at school I was in uniform all the way down to the shoes, and so you would sticker up your notebook. That was the fun element — it was the only form of personalisation available, the only type of fashion when you’re sitting in an all-girls boarding school,” she said. But Hindmarch thought little of stickers, until she came across a technology that enabled her to render intricate, colourful designs in leather, turning the humble sticker into a luxury good.

“Until now, you could cut leather, you could edge-paint it and you could even print on it — but you could never create a really interesting shape. Now, there’s this type of high-frequency treatment of leather, where you can actually seal leather without stitching,” said Hindmarch. She immediately recognised the commercial potential of grown-up versions of those same stickers that continue to emblazon schoolbooks the world over.

“I love the idea of craftsmanship meeting technology. I’m obsessed by labelling things, so I was playing with that idea and I said, actually, it would be really fun to use this technology to make stickers. The fun thing [about the stickers] is it is a way to personalise products, be it your phone, your office door or whatever it might be. It’s a way to make people smile — they’re quite fun. We all carry the same phone, for Christ’s sake!” she exclaimed. “We opened a store in Westfield this week and a woman came in yesterday and chose a handbag and six stickers — and right there, in the store, we stickered up her bag. That’s really what it’s all about.”


The resulting line of stickers, priced from £35 to £125, has a pop-ish exuberance. The typography and iconography is immediately recognisable — take the Mickey Mouse-esque white-gloved thumbs up — but the craftsmanship fits the luxury market.

“We worked with our great team of in-house graphic designers and Charlotte Stockdale, who is an old friend and someone I’ve worked with for many, many seasons. We sort of gathered all these lovely things like two girls in a children’s playground. We worked with things you can kind of recognise and we made them our own, or we started a lot of them completely on our own,” she said.

At first glance, the stickers might look like a marketing tool, similar to the adhesive brand logos of Apple and Supreme, but for Hindmarch, stickers were more than that. The designer was confident enough to order the first run of stickers in the “low tens of thousands.”

“In Selfridges, one of the first [retailers] we did a sticker shop with, we extended it twice. We literally sold out across our retail,” said the designer. “There’s an element of it as the ‘lipstick’ of the brand. It’s an accessible, fun way into the brand, which has gone ballistic, for want of a more kind of exotic term,” she continued.

Hindmarch launched the sticker line with events in key markets, creating a demand that outstripped stock. “We then had a real frustrating time of just waiting. We were out of stock for a long time and we’ve just gone back into stock now, so now it’s just trying to forecast forward,” she said. In addition, the complex technology used to produce the stickers impacts the manufacturing costs. “The margins probably could be better, to tell you the truth, but they’re not bad. Also, I think it’s really important to make them and to package them beautifully,” she continued.

Quite unexpectedly, given their diminutive size and comparatively low prices, Anya Hindmarch’s stickers have enabled the brand to renegotiate retail agreements with key stockists. “It has helped us to get even more favourable conditions with our existing partners in terms of retail spaces, more wholesale spaces and growing new ones. It’s highly visual and it’s highly commercially successful. It has to be both,” explained Helen Wright, chief executive of Anya Hindmarch.

Hindmarch is convinced that the category is not just a short-term gimmick. “You just follow your nose — I think it will become a fairly permanent category for us,” she said. The designer has already set about expanding the role of the stickers across her business: “We thought we’d take it into the wider collection and do bags that incorporated stickers as well as also individual stickers. We will absolutely continue it and roll it into the [other] collections.”


Denim in Style

Time for a denim update, but which washes, cuts and details are trending?

The level of creativity when it comes to denim is off the rails, and almost nothing surprises us anymore. A pair of jeans that are essentially made up of a handful of patches? It’s probably happening.

Denim is no longer just denim. What once was a simple counterpart to a plain white tee and sneakers is now a clothing category all its own that’s exploding with trends.

One-size-up menswear shapes are gaining ground, while tailored jackets are a perfect alternative to blazers. As for the details: fussy embroidery and logo patches for the fresh simplicity of deep indigo, preferably with super-refined top-stitching.


Deep indigo is the crisp workaday shade to be seen in: stick to high-waisted, straight-leg, and wear with the want-it-now Western boot.


The chicest detail in denim right now? An exposed stitch. Even better if it’s set to flatter, neatly bisecting your silhouette.


A denim coat? Take the plunge. You’ll find it’s a handy wardrobe binder.


A tailored jacket style is perfectly in tune with a slick ladylike sensibility. Don’t forget the chain-handle bag, tucked into the crook of an arm.


White jeans should be cut roomy, and worn with sharply cut and cropped spring jackets.


Dungarees are back and back to stay. Play with colour style and layering for the ultimately street style look.

Autumn Trench Coat

This week there really is only one item that our attention turns to – the trenchcoat. Synonymous with wet weather dressing and looking especially chic on Audrey Hepburn in her Breakfast at Tiffany’s days, it hails from the 19th Century originally as a military style, which later became incarnated as a day-to-day version following World War One.

It’s since become the staple of a smart working wardrobe but has particular pertinence this week as the forecast is especially gloomy – the rain just keeps on coming and getting dressed and remaining vaguely put together becomes harder and harder.

So step forward the trenchcoat.

A classic, it really is its own wonder garment – it almost doesn’t matter what you have on underneath because the trench does all the talking and makes that first great impression. Flat brogues keep it youthful and plays up to its tomboy charms while boots that climb the length of the leg have sass appeal. Wellingtoon boots, even, will work. And that’s it, the outfit is essentially complete. Can it really be that easy?

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It can – but then where is the fun in that? The autumn/winter 2015 catwalks made us rethink what we thought of the humble trench: it was spliced up and cut short at 3.1 Phillip Lim, transformed into a ballgown hybrid at Dries Van Noten and rendered in a poetic paisley at Burberry – for whom the trench really is its calling card.

Essentially, when it comes to wearing it this week, it is all about belting it and keeping the rain out. You’ll need a serious and substantial umbrella to go with it – not one that will blow inside out when the wind gets a bit too enthusiastic – and we suggest wearing in those autumn boots you should be buying just about now with it too.

When there are those odd moments to wear it undone or tied artistically so as to make a splaying blouse construction at the top, a pleated skirt just peeking out from the trench hem below will look seasonally studious. Lengths can be tricky but stick to this styling trick and you will be fine. And remember you still want to let the trench be the focus. Even when Lim and Van Noten contorted it into their hybrids you knew it was a trench beneath it all.


New Activewear Brands

Activewear brands are more successful than ever before. Alongside well-known names like Lululemon, New Balance, Gap Inc’s Athleta and Nike are newer arrivals like British brand Sweaty Betty, multi-brand boutique Bandier and Tory Sport, Tory Burch’s activewear line are taking the spotlight.

Some of the new arrivals are listed below:



The Story: Founded in 2013 by Parsons School of Design graduate Tyler Haney, Outdoor Voices has fashion industry support — A.P.C.’s Jean Touitouis one of the brand’s strategic investors — as well as venture funding, thanks to its direct-to-consumer strategy. Haney says the company’s focus is on recreational sport, not competition. (Brand signatures include colour-blocking and heathered fabric in minimalist shapes and fashion shades.) “I very much felt there was an opportunity to free fitness from performance, taking every day activity and finding the beauty in it,” Haney said. “We wanted to create product that functions in the same way as that of Nike and Lululemon, but more aesthetically aligned with what I wear day to day, like Acne and A.P.C.” This helps to explain why Haney felt someone like Touitou was important to bring on not only as an investor, but as an advisor. “I wanted to have partners in the mix who have operated businesses in the fashion world.”



The Story: Founded in 2013 by ex-ballet dancers and Harvard classmates Katie Warner Johnson and Caroline Gogolak, e-commerce site Carbon 38 features high-fashion, high-end activewear modelled on fitness instructors. (Warner Johnson was one of the first instructors at the popular barre studio Physique 57.) “We realised that there was all of this white space in the market that Lululemon created, and an opportunity to grab some of that market share,” Gogolak said. “There is a lot of room to take a bite out of that.” In 2015, Carbon 38 introduced an in-house label, meant to fill the gap between the activewear it sells on the site — from brands including Lucas Hugh and Alo Yoga — and ready-to-wear. The collection currently makes up just 5 percent of the retailer’s overall sales. “It’s a way to speak to this growing trend of activewear as everyday wear,” Warner Johnson said. “But it’s going to [remain] a small part of the overall story.” The range features basic leggings, but also blazers and coats made from technical fabrics.



The Story: Founded in 2014 by JJ and Shannon Wilson, with support from father/husband/Lululemon-founder Chip Wilson, the Vancouver, Canada-based company aims to outfit its customers in everyday clothes that perform like athletic apparel. “We saw this as an untapped opportunity to take everything we’ve learned from athletic clothing and then apply it to streetwear,” Shannon Wilson said. “Most people are living what we call these full-contact lives. They’re up and out of the house at 6am and they’re going until 10pm at night, and they really require one set of clothing to take them through that.” Best-selling products include brushed French terry cloth t-shirts and “technical” cashmere, which is preshrunk and machine washable.

While the product’s end use may be different than Lululemon’s, there is certainly customer overlap. About 70 percent of Kit and Ace’s customers are female. “I’m pretty impressed that we have 30 percent men,” said Chip Wilson, whose previous company catered predominantly to women but is now gaining ground in the men’s market. “I think it says a lot about where the market is for this.”


Founded by Tory Burch in 2015 as a complementary line to her main collection, “We see Tory Sport as a peer to Tory Burch,” the designer told BoF. “We want it to stand on its own because it’s a true performance brand.” The line covers several sport categories often ignored (or at least undervalued) by traditional athleticwear brands, including tennis, golf, and studio. “Activewear is something I have wanted to do for almost six years and we have been working on it for three,” Burch said. “I’m always interested in the idea of designing things that are impossibly hard to find.” Pieces from the first two collections — including accessories and items from the day-wear-focused “Coming and Going” category — have garnered waitlists.



The Story: Founded in Notting Hill in 1998 by husband and wife duo Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty was originally a multi-brand boutique featuring labels sourced predominantly from Scandinavia and Italy. In 2007, the company pivoted its business model to produce its own label, competing more directly with Lululemon. It now operates more than 40 stores in the United Kingdom, with annual sales upward of $46 million. “We realised that reselling other people’s sportswear brands in a premium location wasn’t going to work. The margin on sportswear is so low, because everyone was doing the high-turnover stores on the high street,” Tamara Hill Norton said in 2014. “We needed to change direction and do our own label. Also, we were beginning to gain awareness and really wanted to push our brand.”



The Story: Former music executive Jennifer Bandier partnered with her husband, Neil Boyarsky, and Barney’s Co-op founder Jayne Harkness to introduce a multi-brand retailer that carries everything from Mary Katrantzou’s Adidas collection to Monrow and Spiritual Gangster. The company’s Flatiron store, which opened in 2014, features a 3,000-square-foot fitness studio that offers more than 25 classes each week taught by superstar instructors. Like many high-end boutiques, Bandier has negotiated exclusives with the brands it sells, offering styles or colours unique to the retailer. What it hasn’t done is focus its entire efforts on e-commerce, which currently makes up just a quarter of the company’s sales. “We went the other way,” Boyarsky said, referring to the e-commerce-first trend in apparel businesses. The retailer averages 2.4 units per transaction and $1,400 per square foot. (The average cost of an item is about $80.) Sales are up 40 percent year over year.



The Story: Beyoncé and Topshop’s Sir Philip Green are equal business partners in this new activewear brand, which will be available in mid-April at 12 retailers across the globe, including Topshop, Nordstrom, and Selfridges. The 200-piece collection, priced between $30 and $200, will not be sold through its own website. “Sir Philip has created some amazing collaborations but I wanted a partnership and a standalone brand,” the entertainer-turned-mogul said in a statement.



The Story: Founded in 2014 by chief executive Matt Taylor and Luke Scheybeler, the latter of whom also co-founded cycling brand Rapha, the Boston-based Tracksmith is a running-first brand. “The great thing about running specifically is that almost everyone owns a pair of running shoes and shorts, and people will do lots of different activities in those clothes,” Taylor said. “Right now, we are perceived as an apparel brand. But the vision for Tracksmith is a lot grander and much more wrapped around a complete lifestyle. It’s for anyone who is passionate about running.”

Tracksmith has raised $5.7 million in funding with partners including the Pentland Group, a collection of apparel brands with a foothold in the outdoor/performance arena. The brand originally launched with men’s apparel only, introducing women’s nine months later. Currently, the male-female customer ratio is 70 percent to 30 percent, although Taylor predicts that to level off at an even split as more women learn about the product, which aesthetically nods to the collegiate track-star gear of the 1970s and 1980s. While the company will not disclose revenue numbers — and says that previous reports have been inaccurate — Taylor will confirm that sales have doubled year-over-year.



The Story: “When we started Aether in 2009, there were barely a handful of brands doing technically sound outerwear for the urban dweller,” company co-founder Jonah Smith said. “We looked around and if it was technical, it looked like you should be out in the field or on a mountain, and if it was good looking, it probably wasn’t particularly warm or weatherproof.” Smith and co-founder Palmer West set out to do just that, creating a range of gear that is meant to perform in all types of weather and conditions, from water-repellent wind breakers to stretch-ponte leggings. Self-financed, the company operates four standalone stores — Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Aspen, Colorado — alongside e-commerce and has experienced annual growth of an average 40 percent year-over-year for the past four years. “About two years ago, we shut down our entire wholesale business, which was about 150 stores in seven countries, and instead chose to focus on our own stores and a primarily direct-to-consumer model,” Smith said. “We are just now starting to reap the rewards of that significant change.”

Courtesy of Business of Fashion.