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With the rise of the internet forcing major changes across the fashion industry, the role of the buyer has remained largely the same. The curated assortments for e-commerce and in-store can vary and more brands are moving away from the traditional fashion calendar, but the buyer’s focus has gone unchanged.
For Alexandra Willinger, buying manager of designer secondary, sportswear, denim and outerwear at Intermix, her role over her 10-year buying career has only evolved in that it’s expanded.
“Obviously, the biggest change is the growth of our online platform and also of e-commerce in general,” said Willinger. “When I started at Intermix, we had about 20 stores, and now we have 34 stores as well as our e-commerce site. A lot of the work the buying teams do and the collaboration that we do cross-functionally has remained, which is what I love about Intermix and what we do a great job of.”
For the final episode of Glossy Trend Watch: Buyers Edition, editor-in-chief Jill Manoff sits down with Willinger to discuss the evolution of her role, the importance of exclusive collections and the difference in curating online and offline assortments. Edited highlights below.
“Exclusives are a big part of the work we do at Intermix. It is approximately 30% [of our sales,] and it is extremely successful. It always has been, and it is something that we work very hard at for our customers. We work with our vendors to create anything from one style to fill a void in the market, a collection or the natural cadence of how the brand is delivering its product, to a broader capsule that we do with quite a few brands to offer what our customer comes to us for. For example, we just did a jumpsuit capsule, because we noticed that our girl has always come to us for parties. So we worked with our brands to offer her a curated capsule of jumpsuits for parties or every day, and it was hugely successful. We didn’t see it in the market, and we felt it was something we could expand on, and she really responded to that in stores and online.”
The importance of fashion week
“Fashion week is definitely still quite important. There are now these additional layers, which are just another place for us to look, but it’s for sure something that we continue to attend. We are also excited by some of the new ways brands are showing their collections — a little more experiential, a lot more presentations. It’s all still very important. The only thing that’s different with us, in terms of that classic fashion calendar and their classic delivery cadence, is that we’re not always dictated by that because of our exclusive capabilities. We are a very buy-now, wear-now company.”
Curating an online vs. offline assortment
“Our customer is demanding statement items more so online, but it’s still a balance. We have a great Veronica Beard blazer business, for example, and it’s finding a balance in store between the brighter items with some of the more neutral pieces. The more exciting, the most forward, that pop of color — that’s where her eyes will go online first. But then she’ll balance that with some of the more core pieces, too.”