As New York Fashion Week kicked off, a private party at Market605, hosted by sustainable e-commerce site Helpsy offered attendees a chance to meet the shop’s designers while shopping a handpicked selection of exclusive items. Rachel Kibbe, who founded Helpsy, says the pop-up was a good way to not only support independent designers during New York Fashion Week, but also to showcase some of Helpsy own. “I think popups are becoming the main way for designers to circumvent Fashion Week madness, for whatever their reasons, whether it’s ideals, financial necessity, or whatever. Popups are a fantastic way for a brand to showcase, sell to, and interact with the customer. Not just the press,” Kibbe tells Ecouterre.
She adds that not only are shopping events great exposure for designers, they then have a chance to make money rather than just spend it, which is what a lot of runway shows are about, with little to no measurable returns.
“Pop-up shops, from a business perspective, are an advertising mechanism with actual returns, which is very cool,” says Kibbe.
How does she see the future rolling out for these designers in terms of promotion and making it to platforms for more mainstream folks to take note of them? She says one of the reasons Helpsy exists is to not only sell these designers to loyal followers, but to promote and act as PR for them and as an activist platform for the concept of ethical fashion in general.
“Beauty sells, not pity buying. The bigger Helpsy gets, the more resources we’ll have to promote our designers, ultimately to the mainstream,” says Kibbe.
Study NY designer Tara St. James says she and fellow designer Nettie Kent were the “instigators” who helped shape the shop as they wanted to do something together for Fall/Winter 2014 Market Week. Bringing the group of designers together who then collectively created the concept and took shifts running the shop, has made temporarily running a brick and mortar, a less daunting task.
“Collaborations add to the creative growth of the brand, but also help fuel the resource of understanding I have for the market, for approaching different design problems, and for keeping the community in contact,” says St James.
Market 605 converts to a private wholesale showroom open exclusively to buyers to see participating designers’ Fall/Winter 2014 collections and even some new styles for spring. This conversion happens from February 19 and runs through to the end of the month to accomdoate press appointments.
Mandy Kordal, a Market 605 designer and founder of Kordal Knitwear says she is more than grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the popup, especially during Fashion Week.
“All of the designers in Market 605 are not only wonderful to work with, but also talented. Our collections are also very cohesive in their message as well as design,” she says. “Normally trade shows cost thousands of dollars and we were able to side step this cost and use our retail sales to pay for our rental. We have also been able to put together some really fun events. Overall it has been incredible.”
While Kordal says that runway shows makes sense for some designers who are more established, as a small brand it’s just not something she would consider. “I do love it when designers put on shows that are more than a typical runway, like Rick Owens’ Spring 2014 show, where he used step performers instead of models. But overall I think that fashion shows are a little dated, designers are looking for more innovative ways to share their collections.”
Adrienne Antonson, designer for State, agrees. “Pop-up shops are great for creating excitement for small brands. We all have our various avenues for exposure and sales and when a group bands together, you’re sharing all of those avenues. The creativity that happens when you collaborate inspires a conversation that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. And that makes posting on social media, engaging with your audience, and just your daily routine more, just a little more exciting for a while,” says Antonson.
The pop-up, which runs through February 18, also includes Feral Childe, Gamma Folk, Maison Capron, By Natalie Frigo, Nettie Kent, Bhava, Freedom of Animals, Titania Inglis, Marble & Milkweed, Kallio, Pima Doll, Mullein & Sparrow, Susan Alexandra, Andrea Diodati, Imago-A, and Job & Boss.
605 Hudson St. (near West 12th St.)
New York, NY 10014