‘I am embracing the discomfort’: Trend model execs share how their workplace model has remodeled

This article was reported on – and first published by – Digiday siblings Glittering

There has been a lot of speculation over the past 19 months as to whether the so-called sweatpants revolution will continue after returning to the office.

The predictions were shared. Some have said that people are so used to it wear comfortable clothing – in addition, the dress codes in the office are loosening anyway – that they go to work in sweatshirts and styles that could also serve as pajamas. Others have said that after many months of wearing nothing but the same sweatpants, people feel like they have Opportunity to dress up.

In conversations with executives in the fashion industry, it becomes clear that a change in style is taking place. Office cabinets are more casual and comfortable than ever before. However, for some – especially those who find themselves personally fulfilling through their style – returning to the office is indeed a good reason to give your all.

Sarah LaFleur, founder and CEO of womenswear brand MMLaFleur, said she took the opportunity to purchase an entirely new wardrobe before the company returned to the office in June.

“It was a small investment, but I bought a new capsule wardrobe,” said LaFleur. “I have four new pants, three new dresses, four new T-shirts and six knitted tops. Knit tops are inherently stretchy, so they’re my first choice when it comes to looking polished yet comfortable. “

LaFleur, who gave birth to twins during the pandemic, said comfort has become a priority for her since she returned to the office. And she sees the same trend in the brand’s sales: knitwear made up 25% of MMLaFleur’s sales in 2020, up from 16% in 2019.

John Shumate, vice president of global brand marketing at Champion, said the pandemic had drastically changed the clothing of many of the company’s employees, including himself.

“At Champion, we wear our sweatshirts, sweatpants, and hoodies, but that wasn’t always the case,” Shumate said. “It was more common to wear suits and traditional office attire, but the reason I love working at this sportswear company is because we have the flexibility to express our style and feel confident in what we wear. When I put on a fleece, jogger or hoodie to work, it feels sublime and I feel good in it. It enables me to think creatively and do a great job. ”

In particular, Shumate said he wore Champion’s reverse weave and tech fleece hoodies.

Activewear brands have taken up the desire to dress more comfortably in the office. While the Rhone and Vuori were booming during the pandemic, recently thanks to the incarceration of people at home, they have made the decision to make office-friendly clothing like shirts and polos for men from stretchy materials.

But not every manager attaches importance to comfort. Molly Howard, co-founder of women’s fashion brand La Ligne, had the opposite path for her personal office style last year. Before the pandemic, she dressed much more comfortably in the office.

“When we started La Ligne, I rebelled against my previous career in finance, where we had a super strict dress code and wore these really uncomfortable clothes for 20 hours a day,” said Howard. “When I started La Ligne, my style was always about comfort. I wore sweatpants all the time and encouraged the team to dress how they wanted and be as comfortable as possible. “

But for Howard, more than a year and a half at home left her longing for the chance to dress up. She also had a baby during the pandemic. The combination of wearing the same sweatpants all the time and the stress of pregnancy has resulted in her expressing herself through clothing in ways she was unable to.

“I’m putting more energy than ever into what my outfit looks like,” said Howard. “I’ve lived in a pregnant body for so long, haven’t made nearly as much contact as I used to, and haven’t even touched a pair of jeans in more than 11 months. And I wanted to get something back from that expression. “

Howard said her team has been on a similar path since returning to the office in September. At an e-commerce photo shoot she attended on Wednesday, she found that no one was wearing sweatpants. Howard stressed that La Ligne has no dress code and that wearing sweatpants is in no way discouraged. “I wouldn’t even think of making a rule about what people can wear,” she said. But more and more members of their team are simply dressing up because they are happy to have the chance.

“It feels good to match my shoes with my sweater and button up a pair of jeans and wear them, even if they are less comfortable than sweatpants,” she said. “I embrace the discomfort.”

‘I’m embracing the discomfort’: Fashion brand execs share how their office style has transformed

How Lily Rabe Is Embracing Maternity Type With Fabulous Aptitude

This past week Lily raven began her press tour for her latest film, The Tender Bar – her first press tour since the pandemic began. While the idea of ​​dressing up for the red carpet again after more than a year of absence is certainly a challenge in itself, the actress navigates the red carpet with her third child with partner Hamish Linklater even during pregnancy. She tells Vogue that she is still in the process of finding her motherhood style. “I’ve worked through all of my pregnancies, but I’ve never done a full print run,” says Rabe. “Dressing for two is completely new. I always love working with my stylist Jessica [Paster], but this is a new level of collaboration. “

The Tender Bar occupies a special place in the heart of Rabe. Directed by George Clooney and starring Ben Affleck, the project tells the story of JR (Tye Sheridan), a boy who grows up on Long Island and looks for father figures among the guests in a bar belonging to his uncle (Affleck). Rabe says she was immediately drawn to the script for its touching and relatable themes. “It’s a nice coming-of-age story. The protagonist [Ben Affleck] is looking for something he’s missing, ”says Rabe. “As the film progresses, he realizes that he has everything he needs – and I think that’s really moving right now.” She also admired the strength of her character. “I’ve never played someone like her,” she says. “She is the mother of an only child and has this incredible stubbornness and optimism – even if her circumstances are not so great and she is always depressed.”

In Carolina HerreraPhoto: Getty Images

For the movie’s press tour last week, Rabe wanted to channel the movie’s messages of hope through the clothes she wears. You and Paster have opted for cheerful, exuberant dresses that prove that maternity wear doesn’t have to mean shying away from bold prints and colors. “We both had the feeling that this doesn’t mean that we suddenly have to change our attitude towards the clothes we love,” says Rabe. “We definitely don’t look at each other [my pregnancy] as an obstacle. It just feels like an opportunity to work with designers in a new role – with different waist sizes! ”Paster adds,“ We ​​wanted to be feminine [dresses] with strong silhouettes. We love to hug the bump. “

Rabe began her weeklong tour with an appearance at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures California gala last week wearing a polka dot off shoulder dress by Carolina Herrera. Then, for the LA premiere of The Tender Bar a few days later, she slipped into a pink, floral dress from The Vampire’s Wife – one of her favorite labels. “It’s so moody too [The Vampire’s Wife] Pieces and so many incredible colors and patterns, ”says Rabe. “I love the shape of these dresses. I grew up a ballerina and there is something about them that reminds me of it. They have magic. ”For interviews, she also wears bright dresses by Zimmermann and Khaite, which are just as peppy. “The film has such warmth and joy that I felt that I was going in that direction [fashion-wise]”Says raven. “The soul of the movie often influences the choices and pieces that attract me to the red carpet.”

In the vampire’s wife

Photo: Courtesy Lily Rabe

Over the past week, she has continued to rock heels at every gig. “I wore the nicest Jimmy Choo heels I’ve ever worn,” says Rabe (she paired them with a floral, ruffled Cinq à Sept dress). “I still wore heels and they were particularly forgiving.” As she continues to do more press for the film until its December release, you can expect Rabe to continue her epic maternity wear looks as well. She and Paster are currently reviewing pieces by Prada, Alexander McQueen, Rodarte, Erdem, Batsheva and Madga Butrym. “It feels good to walk out the door into something you love again,” says Rabe. “And that your feet hurt!”

Why retailers are embracing purchase now, pay later financing companies

Supply chains are jumbled and production is limited. For weeks, headlines have been telegraphing a clear message to buyers: This Christmas season shop early.

In recent years, early risers may have made holiday gift plans to reserve Christmas gifts and pay for their purchases over time. But many retailers – including the largest in the country, Walmart – have abolished or reduced these programs. One reason for this is that there are new tools available to buyers to distribute payments.

A popular option for consumers is to buy now, pay later. Dealers are big fans too. The point of sale loans are easy for retailers to manage, and research shows that these options translate into bigger shopping carts and greater customer loyalty. RBC Capital Markets estimates that a BNPL option increases retail conversion rates by 20% to 30% and increases the average ticket size between 30% and 50%.

Add incremental sales

“It’s about incrementality,” said Russell Isaacson, director of retail and automotive lending at Ally Lending, “to reach that incremental sale or incremental consumer.”

Installment payments offer consumers options and convenience when it comes to managing budgets and shopping, according to Hemal Nagarsheth, associate partner in Kearney’s Financial Services Practice. He said the option also builds trust between retailers and consumers, resulting in “incremental sales, higher average purchase sizes and higher frequency of purchases.”

Buy Now, Pay Later Payment plans offered by companies like Confirm, based in Australia additional payment and Klarna from Sweden, are particularly attractive to younger buyers, such as the coveted Generation Z and millennial consumers. While every plan has differences – from the number of payments to the specific terms and conditions – the most important thing they have in common is the promise of a handful of equal payments over a relatively short period of time with no hidden fees. Often the plans are interest-free.

Installment payments are more popular with consumers who either do not have access to credit or who do not want to shop with credit cards for various reasons. According to Hans Zandhuis, President of Ally Lending, the option also makes a lot of sense for buyers who don’t have the money to cover the entire purchase but who can survive the next paychecks.

The average transaction value is around $ 200 for a purchase that is paid for later, Zandhuis said. Often times, if the option to pay later had not been available, the checkout value for the retailer would have been around $ 100, he said. This allows the same consumer to spend $ 175 to $ 200, with 4 monthly payments of $ 50. Payments should match the paycheck cycles.

Take the clothing retailer Rue21, for example. The most important target group is an 18 to 25 year old shopper who often does not use credit cards. With lots of cheap items on the website and decreasing traffic in the malls, increasing the average order volume is a top priority.

When the pandemic closed stores, Rue21 had to figure out how to sell to its buyers online with no credit. Since Rue21 added Klarna as a payment option in-store and online, the average order volume is 73% higher than other payment methods published a case study by Klarna. Rue21 shoppers doing business with Klarna have the highest sales per customer with a 6% higher purchase frequency. In May, Klarna purchases made up more than a quarter of rue21’s e-commerce sales.

A logo sign outside of a retail store on rue21 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania on January 25, 2019.

Kristoffer Tripplaar | Sipa over AP pictures

Affirm boasts that its merchant customers report an 85% increase in average order value when consumers choose to use its BNPL plan over other payment methods. Affirm approves installment payments for purchases up to $ 17,500, which has been proven to be very important to Pelotons expensive exercise equipment and services. FT Partners, an investment bank focused on the fintech space, estimated that 30% of Affirm’s revenue in the first quarter of 2021 came from sales on the Peloton website.

Klarna’s merchant base reports a 45% increase in average order value when a buyer pays more than four payments. Buyers can also choose to pay interest-free within 30 days or, for larger purchases, get financing with monthly payments of 6 to 36 months with an APR between 0% and 29.9%.

New customers

Attracting a customer whom a retailer might otherwise not have influenced is another benefit of offering a buy-it-now option.

Earlier this year Macys CEO Jeff Gennette told investors that his partnership with Klarna will help attract new customers.

“We launched Klarna on the Macy’s website in October [2020] and since then we have scaled it to Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury both online and in stores, “he said.” With Klarna we continue to see higher spend per visit and increased acquisition of new younger customers, 45% are under 40 years old. Our goal is to turn all of these new customers into loyal Macy’s customers who will come back for future purchases. “

Around 93% of Afterpay’s gross goods value in the last financial year came from repeat users of the installment payment service, with the longest-serving consumer making 30 additional transactions per year.

Higher conversion

Installment payments allow the retailer to “a [consumer’s] Desire into a sale, “said Chris Ventry, vice president of global advisory group SS&A.” It removes the payment block, “said Ventry through BNPL is enticing, ultimately enticing enough to drive conversion, which is the primary goal of all digital commerce websites . “

An analysis by Similarweb of the top 100 US fashion and retail websites compared 50 retailers who offer a buy-it-now option at checkout and 50 who don’t. On average, sites with a BNPL option had a conversion rate of 6% compared to 4% for those who didn’t.

Afterpay said it increases a retailer’s conversion rate and additional sales by 20 to 30% more than other payment options.

The incremental sales and increased conversion also make the additional transaction costs that the retailer pays to the fintech companies worthwhile. Zandhuis said that while the retailer pays the BNPL company an additional 2% higher transaction fees compared to the transaction fees charged by a traditional credit card company, “the math speaks for itself. The additional revenue is greater than the cost.”

Afterpay and Klarna charge merchants a 3% to 5% transaction fee, Affirm declined to disclose its transaction fees.

The programs also have advantages over the traditional layaway, which requires retailers to store items purchased locally while customers make installment payments over time. More and more retailers are using stores as mini-fulfillment centers to service online orders. With this model, the storage space is scarce.

Growth opportunity

Buy now, pay later, according to FIS Worldpay, is the fastest growing e-commerce payment method in the world, followed by the growth of digital wallets. In 2019, the $ 60 billion BNPL market accounted for 2.6% of global e-commerce, excluding China.

Worldpay estimates that use of the option could grow to $ 166 billion by 2023, with an average annual growth rate of 28%. At this rate, it would account for around 5% of global e-commerce outside of China.

According to FIS WorldPay, BNPL currently accounts for less than 2% of North American sales.

Coresight Senior Analyst John Harmon recognizes the opportunity for retailers but does not see it as a panacea.

“I don’t see BNPL as a magical solution, despite its booming adoption, as it’s just a different kind of loan,” Harmon said.