Stitch Fix continues to get smarter. Launched in 2011 as a personal styling service, the company recently expanded into e-commerce, introducing a “custom mall” called Freestyle, which offers customized products for consumers who prefer to avoid trouble with snail mail. But the company did too smart investments a lot is written in the fashion industry – as can be seen from the brand’s Elevate collection, which debuted today, October 8.
Raise, an annual grant and membership initiative, was launched after the George Floyd protests in 2020. The goal was to elevate and introduce the next wave of industry-changing black fashion designers, with scholarship recipients receiving $ 25,000 in addition to consulting sessions. and access to Stitch Fix product analyzes.
“It takes a lot to create a change in [fashion] space, ”says Loretta Choi, general manager of women’s fashion at Stitch Fix. “We wanted to use our resources and create an evergreen program where we could actually provide entrepreneurs with the in-depth information we have that may not be an easily accessible resource for everyone.”
This year’s recipients represent an impressive range of global talent from different parts of the fashion market. They include:
- Diarra Bousso, owner of Diarrablu. Featuring an inclusive size, the specialty of the women’s fashion brand Diarrablu is generated by a footprint algorithm created sustainably in Dakar, Senegal.
- Jamela Acheampong, owner of Kahmune. High-quality shoes in sizes 6-11 are Kahmune’s unique focus; each shoe is made in a set of inclusive skin tones.
- Busayo Olupano, owner of Busayo. Inspired by traditional African prints, Busayo dresses and blouses feature eye-catching colors ranging in size from 0 to 16.
- Marcus Thomas, owner of Marcus Alexander. The shoe brand, which includes a skirt, makes unique but utilitarian sneakers in sizes 8-13.
- Bettina Benson, owner of Chloe Kristyn. A classic, sophisticated brand for women’s clothing that makes workwear chic, Chloe Kristyn sells an assortment of blouses, pants, dresses and knits in sizes 0-16.
- Robin Surleaf, owner of Sarep + Rose. As the only accessory brand in the Elevate range, Sarep + Rose already stands out. But the company’s ethical materials, made in bags by all-African entrepreneurs, are what make the products shine.
The Elevate collection is extracted from each brand’s notebooks and includes exclusive Stitch Fix products, such as Kahmune’s first shoe and the Sarep + Rose mini bucket bag. But while curating offers buyers the opportunity to gain new favorites outside of traditional retailers, it also allows fellows to learn exactly what their customer wants.
Olupano, for example, has seen a huge increase in the popularity of printed products since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine. People are ready to dress again – in a big way.
Trained as a lawyer, Olupano has only run Busayo since 2012, but she has been designing models since she was a child. “Coming from Nigeria, there is a slight advantage in the sense that we have a culture of making clothes for ourselves,” she said. “If you have an event, we have something in our culture called aso ebi, which literally means family clothes. So every event you have, we choose a fabric, a specific stamp to wear that identifies us [relatives]. In 2012, she began learning how to make specific textiles with bold and beautiful prints, an attitude that eventually became the encapsulation of the Busayo brand.
During the pandemic, she created Maxi dress Bayothinking that no one would want to wear it except her. When a customer bought the dress, Olupano sent her a message to find out where he planned to wear it. Gala? A wedding?
“She lives in Chelsea and it was like, ‘I think I’ll take it to the grocery store,'” Olupano said. “It simply came to our notice then. We have something here. “
But finding out exactly which fingerprints will elicit this response is Olupano’s most difficult challenge to date. He needed guidance from a source with more resources, more data. The Elevate program first caught her attention on the day of the 2020 application deadline. She saw the potential prizes – $ 25,000, as well as these key analytical insights – and decided to cancel her plans for the evening. She rejected her application for two hours and eventually won.
“It was really amazing,” she says. “I really don’t do nonsense.” There are many programs that different companies have created since George Floyd. [But] I think what’s really strong about that is the opportunity to talk [mentors]… You see the gap between where you are and where the stitch repair will be. So I had the feeling that I was doing a master class every month. “
Olupano and her fellow fellows became close friends in the process. “We write all the time,” she says. “When we all met, we had the feeling that we had known each other for a very long time.” Such comments have convinced Choi and the rest of Stitch Fix’s management that this program is much more than a face-saving D&I initiative. This is access to the common, global future of fashion.
Elevate products are with the possibility of shopping both through Freestyle and through the traditional Stitch Fix subscription box. Check out some of SHEfavorite photos under.
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