It’s a big week for Jonathan Simkhai. Tomorrow, the designer will debut his fall 2017 collection — a regal, embellished ode to “strong, powerful women”— at one of New York Fashion Week’s official venues, Skylight Clarkson Square. On Wednesday, he premiered a completely made-over website — a “digital flagship” — that was five months in the making.
“The biggest spikes during the entire year, in terms of the traffic we see on the site and across our channels, happen around our shows,” Hennig said. Jonathan Simkhai’s social following has historically increased by 10 to 15 percent the week following his shows, and its website sees the highest traffic of the year, with 75 percent of all sessions are from new visitors.“The old site was barely functioning, especially for those on mobile or tablets, so there was a hard deadline to get [the new site] up.”
Jonathan Simkhai has yet to embrace see-now-buy-now. Alternatively, the brand backs a trunk show model that mirrors a Moda Operandi experience: “Following our show, we put our own pieces on pre-order on our site. In a way, it’s see-now-reserve-now.”
The site redesign features a streamlined top-level navigation and account profile capabilities, along with standard modern site features like showing up OK on mobile and shipping worldwide. On a sexier note, there are an abundance of colorful new assets featured throughout — in addition to the site, they’ll eventually be utilized on Jonathan Simkhai’s Instagram.
A page on the new jonathansimkhai.com.
“We’ve spent months doing extensive amounts of editorial shoots, styling our products in a lot of different ways and shooting all of our new categories,” said Hennig. “We have beautiful on-model shots and great hi-res flat shots — and we’ve got video content, which is brand new.”
The spring 2017 campaign video debuted on the site, and the Jonathan Simkhai show will be live-streamed on the site this Saturday. And Simkhai plans to keep the content coming.
“We wanted to give our customers a place to discover our collections and campaigns, while giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in the JS brand,” said Simkhai. “I want to make my client see herself in the Jonathan Simkhai world and for her to feel the desire to explore it.”
And he’s dedicated to a 360-degree approach: Consumers will find a cohesive message, whether they are looking at an Instagram post, signing up for an email blast or shopping online. Case in point: Jonathan Simkhai just launched its first outdoor ad campaign in New York City — it features the same images as the homepage and drives to the website.
“For 2016 and projected for 2017, [the site] is our number-one highest growth channel,” said Hennig, who went on to say that going direct-to-consumer gives the brand more control. “Wholesale numbers were underpenetrated for what they should have been. For 2017, with our investment in the website, we plan for it to see triple-digit growth.”
Increased site traffic around show time has been widely reported among designers in recent seasons, particularly those showing see-now-buy-now collections. In September, tommy.com saw a 900 percent increase in traffic in the 48 hours following “Tommy Pier,” Tommy Hilfiger’s carnival-themed runway show featuring his Gigi Hadid collaboration — it was made shoppable on the site immediately following the show. Similarly, when Misha Nonoo staged an Instagram-based show for her spring 2016 collection, not only did her social media impressions soar to over 15 million, but so did traffic on her e-commerce site: She reported a boost for both the pre-order spring collection and the collection that had been living on her site for some time.
The new website is just one of a number of ways Jonathan Simkhai’s business has recently grown. Last month, he opened a third office, in New York’s Garment District, which has a full atelier, complete with pattern makers and sewers. It also features a beautiful new showroom, which press will be visiting for appointments immediately following Saturday’s show.
As for what those following the show from home can expect, Hennig promised a robust lineup of social and site content: “We’re expecting a great turnout at our show, and it’s going to be a stellar lineup, and the after-party is going to be next-level. So, we’re hoping for a lot of coverage on that,” she said.
In addition, there will be a bonus shopping opportunity, inspired by CFDA/Planned Parenthood pin distribution, which Simkhai is participation in. Attendees will find a message on their seats, stating that the designer is making a $5-per-seat donation to Planned Parenthood. On top of that, he’s gifting guests graphic T-shirts that read “Feminist AF.” They will be available for purchase on the website following the show.