Friday, June 30, 2017

LOYDFORD 2018... the fashionable conversation



It’s been 4 years since I was introduced to a then burgeoning and made in USA brand by the name of LOYDFORD. Since that time I’ve developed a friendship with both the brand and its designers. If you have ever read my commentaries/reviews about LOYDFORD, you already know that Franck Ford is the voice of the brand.
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Today it is Franck and I discussing the evolution and metamorphosis of LOYFORD during our “relationship” as well as the fashion business in general. In essence you get more of an insider’s perspective rather than just mine which is more from the outside looking in. 
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What consistently attracts me to this brand is its constant flux yet always retaining its DNA and to a great degree while increasing its design vocabulary season after season. It is still all about “lace n love” and still holds onto its rocker vibe but it is now not just about dressing to go out to a black tie or a cocktail party; it is more of a wardrobing or lifestyle concept. I find it interesting that once upon a time accordion or sunburst pleating was a ubiquitous component of endless collections yet these guys have adopted it and turned it into a signature for LOYDFORD and that to me is an example of how fashion and brands evolve. One more time it is all about massaging and tweaking a brand’s DNA to keep it looking fresh and attracting new business opportunities and opening more doors … literally and figuratively
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Another aspect to keep in mind, as is mentioned within the chat, is that LOYDFORD has one secret weapon that most brands cannot boast and that is actual sales at retail… not the blah blah blah hype… not the bullshit... but the real deal …. Money in the bank!  I continue to tip my hat to the brand and its designers, Franck Ford and Stefan Loyd ... and now let’s talk branding and fashion… 
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Jeffrey Felner: Last we spoke, spring 2017; the brand was all about lace, all about dresses and very much a dressy dress collection. Since that time, LOYDFORD has evolved, transitioned and possibly had a recalibration. Can you explain why and how this happened?

Franck Ford for LOYDFORD: Lace is still the trademark of the brand; we actually went deeper into lace treatments, varied qualities and more ideas for basic shapes giving a more casual chic.  The dressy dress collection was successful but limited for everyday sales. So, now we added more ways to our lace looks with pieces that are a bit less dressy but that’s because of less ballerina tulle looks not because of less lace. We started with solstice laces, even bridal laces and using them for sporty shells with spikes.  That’s our hidden treasure  is that we sell faster than a stylist could pull it for someone!  We are kind of hidden anyway ... coming to the point here of the question about transition/ recalibration ... we decided to sign on with a multi-brand showroom with offices in New York, Paris and Los Angeles. So here we are with 20 mini tulle dresses and some sequin styles going into a very real market! What’s the transition decision? Well… more and better! More opportunities and less hand sewn feathers on crazy pieces and doing what we did was "couture impossible." We keep our hand beaded styles and they even got stronger and more creative. In true evening clothes you can’t go too funky or too rock n roll. Now we can and it is evolving the right way for example we did an army jacket with our lace and embroidery and that finally hit the 500 units in production and that makes life much easier. Do I talk too much? Well it happened because we wanted it to happen. We even left Barneys so as not to be pigeonholed as only being known as an evening or after 5 resource. 
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JF: What is your feeling about the future of fashion in regard to brick and mortar stores vs. internet shopping … has there been a shift in your business because of how women are shopping today?

FF/LF: How does a woman shop today ?! I hope they shop till they drop ... but... 

Our business has declined a bit with European boutiques in high tourist areas but has gotten much stronger with doors in the USA. We are still not in enough doors for me to give a fully professional answer on the shopping today opinion. My feeling about the future of brick n mortar vs. online --- I believe in customer service while the roster of online shops  might be growing more quickly they lack the service and touch and feel of actual stores. There are still the neighborhood stores  where you walk in and have your coffee and buy a skirt  and it’s that " intime”  private kind of shopping " that will get stronger and draw clients while mall stores  and department stores will  suffer much more. 
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JF: Do you believe that there is any legitimate media given to brands other than those owned by the mega conglomerates or those “blessed” by the so called media elite?

FF/LF: Fake news in fashion? ...   Of course!!! The blessed can do anything without selling any product and still get more press than Jesus from Nazareth! Was that the question?  Not sure but I think that covers it.
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JF: If you could change how the fashion business is operating today, how would you change it and why?

FF/LF: I don’t feel anything has to change about how the fashion business is operating.  I can only adjust our rules and get better at avoiding conflicts with some issues but in general I am okay with it.  Well, I believe in detaching yourself from surrounding fashion is the best way to design fashion.
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JF: You have managed to build a core of loyal retailers who have been with you since the very start, how do you account for that and what do you see as the future of LOYDFORD in the fashion marketplace?

FF/LF: Yes we did build that but we also “burned bridges to light the fire” and by that I mean “may the bridges we burned light the way to the future” but nothing is predictable. Today the “now" counts and our marketplace is not yet set so we continue to build… even as we speak …
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