The internet has been great for Philippine Fashion, given the growing number of local style blogs and easily accessible websites of international retailers and brands. And, as more foreign labels put up their stores in major Asian cities like Manila, fashion retail is perhaps becoming more fun in the Philippines. These things are good enough for a British brand like Miss Selfridge to re-enter the Philippine market, through the help of local retail group Robinsons Specialty Stores, Inc. (RSSI)
“We actually had Miss Selfridge here in the Philippines but we closed it a few years ago,” shares Oliver Solomon, the brand’s international visual merchandising coordinator, during the opening/re-launch day of Miss Selfridge at Greenbelt 5 in Makati City recently. “I think there was nothing wrong then but it was more of the direction of the brand and the business.” While Miss Selfridge was unsuccessful at its first attempt to entice Filipino shoppers, RSSI is now “confident” that the brand will work in the Philippines the second time around.
According to Vanessa Domingo, RSSI’s brand manager for Miss Selfridge, the Philippines is fast becoming an emerging territory when it comes to fashion. “More young females are into technology, with blogs and other media. They’re adapting to things, and they can also see fashion bloggers wearing glamorous outfits.”
Domingo adds that social media provides “faster connection” to consumers and that Miss Selfridge aims to step up the country’s fashion scene by offering more on-trend styles to Filipinos. Solomon explains that every Miss Selfridge store looks into being the destination for “young, feminine, and flirty” clothes. “We want to make sure that we [always go] with a little bit of girlishness and a little bit of sexiness,” he says, adding that the brand’s items are designed in-house to ensure uniqueness.
“Another thing about Miss Selfridge is that we don’t have any basic products,” relates Solomon. “There’s nothing bland about our merchandise. Everything has some embellishments, or details like fringing or pleating or paneling.” To illustrate, the Greenbelt 5 store currently has a line-up of pastel, candy, and neon colors, along with ostentatious animal in “multicolored brights”, floral, and digital prints.
There are rock-inspired pieces, defined by studs, fringing, biker jackets and printed leggings. Dressier and more polished ensembles come in soft pastels and florals while cutout and bodycon dresses and full, tulle skirts are noticeable for nights out around town. Envelope clutches and high-heeled shoes are just some of the latest accessories.
“We are tapping on going out styles,” says Domingo, “but at the same time, we also offer casual and smart formals for young professionals. It’s a diverse range.” Solomon also shares that the brand carries petite-sized clothing, which is apt for Asians with a usually smaller body type than, say, Europeans. Asian girls, as he observes, “love to dress up. They love to feel good about what they’re wearing and it’s a really important part of the business.”
Miss Selfridge first came into fashion in 1966, as a youthful line of British department store Selfridges. Through the years, it has aimed to incorporate pop culture trends into every girl’s wardrobe, having worked with Gossip Girl stylist Eric Damon and supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. The brand’s girly aesthetic is about “just having fun every day,” says Domingo.
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