Why The Vanguard by Net-a-Porter is a lifeline for emerging fashion talent
Net-a-Porter is a bona fide pioneer. As the originator of online luxury shopping, it has been changing the way we buy clothes since 2000. Now the portal looks set to raise the bar once more, with the launch of The Vanguard, a programme to identify, nurture and promote emerging names.
With a worldwide network of fashion scouts and buyers, Net-a-Porter has long enjoyed a reputation for finding the newest, most intriguing fashion labels from all over the globe. Whether in Tokyo, Sydney or Copenhagen, if a new talent pops up, chances are NAP will snap it up and add it to an online portfolio that already includes 350 international labels.
By introducing new names to its six million monthly visitors, NAP is not only looking after its discerning (and demanding) customers, but is also offering a crucial outlet for fledgling talent, who may not otherwise thrive. Faced by crippling store rents and distribution worries, innumerable designers have failed for want of cash flow. For them, exposure to NAP's savvy and wealthy customers, and a steady revenue stream means survival.
Through The Vanguard programme, NAP will select four exciting new labels every season, to be mentored by NAP’s expert teams. The designers will be offered support, advice, and marketing know-how to help craft a long-term business. In one move, The Vanguard will effectively offer a handpicked few unique insight into 18 years of global success, while laying a team of industry experts at their disposal.
To kick off the programme, footwear brand Martinez, Les Rêveries (womenswear from New York), RŪH (womenswear crafted in Naples), and Gu_de from South Korea have been chosen to receive coaching in strategy, marketing and PR, as well as how to identity and approach new markets, and use social media to best effect.
As Alison Loehnis, President of Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter, explains,“Net-a-Porter has always taken a long-term approach to nurturing new designers, and I see The Vanguard as formalising this commitment in a way that will make a real difference to young brands. As a business, we have so much to offer by way of expertise, not to mention the invaluable exposure to our global audience. It will be a delight to see more talent flourish through this exciting programme.”
And while nothing is a given in the fickle and competitive world of fashion, hopefully, for four small companies, at least things just got a little easier.