This week, Sportswear International visited Kerstin Görling in her boutique Hayashi located in Frankfurt right across the Stock Exchange. Find out what our Retailer of the Week thinks about next summer’s must-haves, current bestseller labels and the importance of also being a stylist. Interview by Lena Elster

Which are the current bestseller labels and pieces?
Our current bestsellers are Isabel Marant Étoile, Carven, Helmut Lang and Acne. The 40’s-inspired dresses by Carven, asymmetric woolen sweaters with different knitwear patterns by Helmut Lang, woolen skirts and blazers with leather trimmings by Isabel Marant and angora sweaters with a shortened arm, together with a wide oscillating skirt by Acne – these are the most popular pieces at the moment.

Which denim labels work best? Are people more likely buying according to brand or style? Which colors, washings and shapes are en vogue right now?
We offer denims by Helmut Lang and Acne. Customers ask specifically for a particular style. We still sell slender silhouettes scarcely washed best, however jeans just have a basic function at Hayashi, they are not part of our core business.

Do your customers rather buy individual pieces or complete looks?
We mostly sell complete looks. We work as stylists and combine single pieces of our brands creating a new look matching the individual needs of our customer.

Where do you buy your products? Where do you get inspired?
We buy our collections in Paris. You find inspiration everywhere: when you are travelling, in magazines and blogs. To identify a trend, you need a fine sense for shapes, colors and details.

What is the most important piece of clothing for summer 2012?
Next summer, we are wearing a dress with a Peter Pan collar, a raspberry-colored pair of culottes, a shortened pants in a large color range and a flower print overall.
Hayashi's fine selection of clothing
Hayashi's fine selection of clothing

Which are the important trends/product groups for summer 2012?
We rely on color: pink, raspberry, mint, light blue. Colorful leather pants and minishorts, shortened pants, overalls and dresses with a great cut-out on the back and suede pumps in bright colors are our favorites for summer 2012.

Did you add any new labels to your assortment? Do you take risks?
We are always open for new brands and define our assortment regarding the innovation level. A designer, who doesn’t create anything new and always chooses the same cuts, has no chance. We want to be surprised.

Tell us something about your most interesting labels.
The most exciting brand of the season is Carven. Originally it’s a French haute couture brand from the 40’s, which today reinvents itself. It’s a wearable, feminine collection with innovative cuts and great materials.

Why does your store stand out from others?
Our consulting service, our intuition for trends and especially our young team are our advantages. We love fashion and know how to combine it in the right way.

What do you like about your location and your customers?
Customers in Frankfurt are open-minded for new things and can be convinced trying out something unusual. In addition, Frankfurt is a metropolis, which at the same time is pretty compact and not too big. Our costumers like to travel a lot but are also very loyal.

How important is the interior/ the store’s atmosphere?
The whole package is important. An exclusive interior alone won’t bring success. Costumers should feel comfortable and at the right place. This, you can only achieve with a profound knowledge and cordiality.
Hayashi's window display
Hayashi's window display

In your opinion, towards which direction is the purchase behavior going? Rather classics or a more individual/special style?
Costumers definitely want something special. It’s not only about the single piece of clothing, but also about the exceptional combination of clothes. People come to Hayashi to buy key pieces of the current season. But what is also very important is customer service to explain how to wear these pieces.

Are there plans for online shop? Do you personally buy fashion online? In the future, will there still be real stores or will everything be on the web?
Our brand Hayashi exists because of the personal relation to our customers and our professional service. As of now, this is not possible in the online sector. We never say never, but our concept works best in a real store. We would describe ourselves more as stylists than as sales persons. For us, online shops lack a heart; they are just about reproduction and sale. We give our looks the required passion and this only works via the direct contact to our costumers. We also reach our customers with our successful blog, by presenting our favorite looks. We also give advice via phone and ship our offers worldwide. Even though this is much more complex, the rate of returns is minimal.

Is there a role model of a store that inspires you?
There is no type of role model for our store. Everyone who would like to be in the front row fashionwise, has to find his or her own individual way.