Friday, 22 July 2011

El Botón-MFA last call!

Last call for ‘El Botón’-Mango Fashion Awards, a worldwide opportunity to receive the largest award of its kind – €300,000 with emerging designers.

Designers will have until the end of July to present their applications. Therefore, the latest date that must be stamped on the letter containing the applications is 31 July 2011, so that means a bit more than a week to go. The finalists will be announced in mid-November 2011.

Remember the requirements, The MFA is open to all young designers who are under 35 years old. They must also have already marketed their collection (even if only on a small scale). Candidates who have not marketed their collection, but have had at least three years’ experience in the fashion industry may also participate in the competition, as long as they can provide evidence of this. To enter, applicants must submit their application form, CV, cover letter (max. 300 words), evidence of two commercial collections (ten outfits each), a written description of these collections (max. 300 words), a draft of ten outfits for the upcoming Autumn Winter 2012 season, and a signed statement, certifying that the designer holds all rights to the designs presented. 

NJAL insists that each of the ten finalists will receive €18,000 from MANGO, which covers all production costs for the collections being judged. Because the interests of the designers are always put first, MFA and NJAL are happy to announce that throughout this competition, there will be no transfer of intellectual property rights and designers will retain ownership of all designs produced. Sharing such high standards means guaranteed excellence. NJAL is pleased to be the official partner and backbone for the launch as well as the application process for next year’s ‘El Botón’, giving MANGO the opportunity to communicate, interact and collaborate with over 5,000 fashion designers from around the world..
This is a huge opportunity, it has an amazing prize and it is internationally recognized, as Mango is worldwide positioned with the official partnership and backbone by Not Just A Label. Supported by Central Saint Martins, Institut Français de la Mode, Istituto Marangoni, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and l’Escole Superior de Disseny, and following an impressive judging panel including Valentino and Oscar de la Renta.

31st is the deadline for the applications, don´t miss this opportunity. 

To read more about El Boton click here.
To see MFA´s promotional video click here.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Shop at Bluebird buys emerging designers: VFS investigates more

The Shop at Bluebird
One of Bluebird´s many designers stocked is Manuela Dack, VFS´s latest new design talent for Fashion Week. So we thought we would find out more about the store and get the inside information for designers who would like to be stocked there. 

The ever evolving creative space on Kings Road takes you on a fantastic style trip from top end fashion houses to edgy designers brands. Spend hours browsing through carefully selected books, vinyls, beautiful garments and finish off your visit with a relaxing treatment at the on site Bluebird Spa. 
We explored the 10,000 square foot store in Chelsea together with the Shop at Bluebird´s Buying and Operations manager, Paul Baptiste. 
What is the concept behind Bluebird? 
Bluebird is a dynamic creative space. We see ourselves as a local store but with a strong international appeal. We have a great mix of globally based clients which forces us to look at things differently and with a international perspective. We need to keep on inspiring the customers. When the customer makes the effort to visit, it has to pay of; that involves everything from visual presentation to the the product range and service. 
How would you describe typical Bluebird customer?
There is no typical Bluebird customer. There are such a mix of customers. They are all intelligent in terms of the choices that they make. We get everything from the local Chelsea crowd to customers from different countries. 
What are the price point of your products? 
The prices starts from a jersey for £60 up to £4000 special dress or coat. We do have entry level prices which invites a wide customer market to Bluebird. 
What kind of pieces do your customer tend to buy?
Some brands have been selling particularly well and one of them is Balenciaga. We have only stocked them for two weeks and their products have been flying out the store. Other great selling brands are COMME des GARÇONS, Jonathan Saunders and Emilio de Morena.  Accessories are a good product area and have boomed in the last two seasons. 
What and where are you looking for when acquiring new designers?
We are looking for excitement and strong energy when browsing for new brands for our store. It is important that we feel that the brands can develop and grow with us. The designers have to have a good knowledge and understanding of shape and style and always keep on pushing the boundaries. 
Your latest designer you are stocking is Manuela Dack. Tell me how you found this emerging designer?
Manuela was first found by Rose Easton, our Assistant Buyer. We had been observing her for a couple of seasons and seen her grow as a designer. We are looking to buy in to more up and coming designers and London based design talents. 
What are you terms for buying from a designer?
It all depends on each individual designer. We most often set up commission based contracts with the young, new and forward designers. But for us it is very important that the new designers will not get lost in the store behind the bigger brands. We carefully position and display them in prime areas in the store. We always try to work with brand and them to work with us, you will need to build great relationships with the brands to be successful. 
Who is head of buying? 
Belle Robinson is the Creative Director, I (Paul Baptise) am is Operations and Buying Manager, Lee Ann Walsh is Buying and Sales Manager and Rose Easton works as Assistant Buyer. It is a relatively long process to get in to The Shop at Bluebird and a brand needs to go through all of us before being acquired. But when you are in, we really believe in the brand. 
How important is it to support emerging designers vs selling more established designers?
It is about supporting and nurturing UK based designers otherwise we loose them and they go off to Europe. We need to give back to new designers and it is a great opportunity to grow for London. 
What are the future plans for Bluebird?
We will continue to develop our concept with interior, furniture and lighting in additional to our current products. 
Your boutique is located in Chelsea, is there a specific reason for the choice of location?
The owner, Belle Robinson, and her husband John Robinson have always loved this building and what it stood for. It has a long historical record and is most famous for being occupied by Bluebird Motor Company. When there was a chance to get the space, they just had to take it. 
What is the inspiration for the store design and interior?
The venue is a very open space so you can do whatever you want with it. There is a soft industrial feel but because everything is on one level and you can create different moods. We can change the interior constantly.
To visit their blog, please click here.
The Shop at Bluebird
350 Kings Road
+44 (0)207 351 3873
by Yohanna Mannelqvist