Saturday, 31 March 2012

NEWS| 'POP' Interview Raffaele Ascione

Vauxhall Fashion Scout's Raffaele Ascione recently caught up with POP Magazine's Rachel Miles to talk Autumn-Winter '12, and where things are heading for the CSM graduate's Spring/Summer collection. Interviewed alongside best friend- and shoe designer- Claire Davis, POP got details from the design process, to how it feels working so closely with a long-time friend.

Click here for POP's interview, and accompanying editorial.
You can also find our interviews with Raffaele, and Claire by clicking each of their names.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

MENTORING| Vauxhall Fashion Scout present a Sales Mentoring Event for new and emerging British Talent

Speakers: (L-R) Alison Chisholm, Matthew Watters & Erin Mullaney 

Vauxhall Fashion Scout are thrilled to be able to host Mentoring Events for emerging talent in British Design. Inviting some of the leading experts in the fashion industry, the events provide an insight into the industry through a blend of question and answer's from invited audience members and the panel of experts.

This Mentoring event saw Orla Kiely, Harvey Nichols and Avenue 32 venture to Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch to talk to an audience of over 50 designers and new talents in the industry. 

Don't worry if you missed it... we took notes for you...

When is it best to send your information to a buyer?

- As early as possible is best, to give the buyer chance to go over your information and come back to you.

- During and after London Fashion Week is when buyers are on the look out for new designers. The first couple of weeks after London Fashion Week is best for emerging designers to ensure their designs are seen as this is a key time in the year for buyers.

- Paris Fashion Week is the best time as buyers are more willing to spend money in Paris then London which is often too busy for them to part with their cash!

- June-August, and November-Christmas are the only real 'downtimes' for buyers. So once you contact them, make sure you mention a visit or a follow-up at a later stage when buyers might be more open to dedicate a time to sit and discuss options with you.

- Don't leave long phone messages... they won't get listened to. Emails first thing in the morning are best, especially prior to 9am on the way to office...

- Email Buyer and Assistant Buyer if you can, but avoid emailing them when they are likely to be out of the country- Paris, New York, Milan Fashion Week...

- Agencies such as 'Lambert & Butler' and 'Mint' are good to have on board, and they will carry more weight with a buyer...


Buyers will always ask for exclusives, and these can work in your favour but they can also work against you...

- Don't limit yourself, especially when it comes to specific countries. You don't want to risk losing orders from other buyers because you've promised an exclusive, especially if it's small boutiques that have a limited market.

- Be prepared to compromise! Exclusives are very in trend, especially with big department stores, so if they want an exclusive you don't want to give, maybe offer an exclusive colour-way instead.

- Magazine Editors in particular are very enthusiastic about exclusives, so some companies will put a large amount of marketing behind exclusive pieces, even if the garment isn't back financially, the press coverage could be just as valuable.


Offering incentives and bonuses for stores could help your brand leave the shop floor...

- Once a sales assistant is passionate or motivated about the brand, they are going to want to push the sales and sell the product to the best of their ability. Even if the garment goes unsold, the information learnt and distributed by the Sales Assistants will be passed onto customers and others in the company- promoting the brand and, more than likely, selling the brand as well.

- Customers like to know about inspirations, stories and meanings behind the garments- as do buyers. If there is an emotional connection to garments as well as aesthetics, then you're brand will look a lot more appealing.

Approaching Buyers...

There are a couple of options for designers when approaching buyers about your collections...

- Agencies or showrooms are always a good idea, but you have to factor in costs as their will be an admin fee plus commission which is normally around 15%-20%.

- You can get lost in big showrooms - those that let you organise your own appointments and sell your own garments like Vauxhall Fashion Scout are the best, as you have complete control.

- Contact buyers yourself if money is a problem and you want full control over the influx of business.

- Look for funding to back your brand. There are so many initiatives out there to support young british talent, that it's a wasted resource if you don't seek them out!

- Platforms, such as Vauxhall Fashion Scout are perfect to launch your brand and invite/meet buyers, plus you have the security and knowledge that you're being looked after.

- If you offer to go to a buyer, rather then them coming to you, it really shows an effort and a sense of importance and pride about your brand...

"Sometimes it's not that we don't want to see the garments, but we might just not have the time to get to you. If you come to us, you're here already, so it's much easier." Harvey Nichols.

- Remember- you always want the best, buyers are interested in what other buyers are purchasing. If you have a good buyer stocking your designs, tell other buyers so they know that you are being sought after! Competition is rife, and you have to make buyers want your designs over everybody else's!

- Distribution is vital for young designers, as you are developing your brand identity in the market. You need to think about who your key customer is, and make sure that the buyers that want your brand have the same key customer in mind for your brand.
Also- always take the big stores that you want first. If it doesn't work out, then smaller boutiques and stores are ideal, but you don't want to be caught out with being unable to fulfil an order because your stock is already spread into several small boutiques.

MENTORING| Vauxhall Fashion Scout catches up with Harvey Nichols buyer Alison Chisholm after successful VFS Mentoring Event

The Vauxhall Fashion Scout Mentoring Event is always a blast - crammed full of information and advice for emerging designers, we bring some of the leading experts in the industry together to help support British designers. 

After Monday's Sales Event, we caught up with Alison Chisolm, Harvey Nichol's Assistant Buyer Contemporary Bridge, on how she thought the event went as a member of the expert panel...

"I think it was a great success, from my point of view I felt I could really connect with the young designers and let them know what we need from them and hopefully in return they got information that they need from us, which might make them a bit more wise to what we need from them when coming to approach buyers with information." 

A big thank you to Alison for being part of our panel for the evening, it was such a success- we're really looking forward to the next one! 

Stay tuned to the Vauxhall Fashion Scout blog for more information on the Mentoring Event from this week, including exclusive interviews, images and insights from the night!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

LONDON| Vauxhall Fashion Scout Alumni Hermione De Paula talks exclusively to VFS about her time with the BFC British Designers Collective

The British Fashion Council have been very busy since London Fashion Week, with London Showroom's dotted across the world- Paris, LA, New York and most recently Oxfordshire, with the BFC British Designers Collective. 

A collection of emerging and established British Design Talent came together in one place to celebrate British Design and the wondrous talent that our home-grown designers can offer the industry, headed up by new BFC Ambassador Alexa Chung.

Designers that were featured include Jonathon Saunders, Marias Schwab and Holly Fulton as well as Vauxhall Fashion Scout Alumni Peter Pilotto and Hermione De Paula. We caught up with Hermione on her experience as part of the British Fashion Council initiative:

"The British Designers Collective in partnership with the BFC and Bicester is an wonderful retail incentive - and I am honour to be considered among such incredible London design talent, many of whom alongside myself have shared such valuable mentorship from the CFE. It's also exciting to introduce my label to a new market in this way. The store looks fabulous and had a really quirky London feel - I particularly loved the grass covered shop front and enormous porcelain dogs!"

With such amazing talent, all in one fabulous location - this is one event that is definitely not to be missed! For more information on Hermione De Paula and her work with Vauxhall Fashion Scout, head over to our website by clicking here!