Anine Bing started her namesake Los Angeles-based label of cool contemporary womenswear back in 2012. Apart from the wholesale business-mixing a small essentials collection with new seasonal collections added every month-by now there are ten monobrand stores in the USA and Europe.
We talked to the Danish influencer/model-turned-designer with a very strong social media presence (over 655k followers on Instagram) about the biggest challenges a brand faces today, fashion trends and female leadership.
What has changed most significantly in the business since you founded your brand in 2012?
Instagram has always been a huge platform for our brand since the very beginning, but its importance has grown even bigger since I started the line. Everyone talks about everything online and Instagram is one of the first places customers go now when they love something or to tell you they want more of something. I love how our community has continued to grow over our accounts and how involved our customers are in voicing what they want and what we can improve on.
And what’s your outlook for the next five years? How will the industry change?
The industry changes every day so we have to be ready for anything. I believe social will continue to play a huge part in how people shop and view clothes but I think the most important thing is staying true to our brand no matter how much change happens. Trends can come and go but the basics women want and need to build their wardrobe will always be relevant and will always serve a purpose so we have to stay true to creating those pieces.
What’s your recipe to build up and keep a brand strong? What are the do’s/don’ts?
I have learned over the years that staying true to your vision and trusting your gut will take you far. There have been so many times where we had the opportunity to stray from our branding or try something that may have been trendy but not necessarily the most authentic to what our customers wanted. Every time I’ve said no to something like that I was always relieved I didn’t lose sight of our brand. You have to find what works for you and listen to your customers. Our community likes pieces that make them feel confident and helps them build their wardrobe, so season after season we design pieces that will stay timeless and fit into their closets. I think it’s important to invest in your employees as well. Because they are in our office day in and day out helping bring the brand to where it is today, so making sure you have supportive, smart people on the team who believe in your vision is super important.
You are one of the (quite) few women leading a fashion company–do you think it makes a difference to be a female leader?
We are a company for women so it makes sense that we are also a company run by women. When I started my line, I designed the pieces I had been looking for years that I felt were missing from the industry. I understand the importance of having those pieces that make you feel good when you pick them out and those items that make getting dressed easy. I am our customer. I need pieces that keep up with my busy schedule, things that work for me as a mom and a business owner and something I can wear out to dinner with my friends. I understand what our community is looking for because I want the same things.
Right now it’s all about big logos and collabs. What’s your opinion on that–considering that Anine Bing is rather about cool luxury basics instead of fast trends?
Our brand is a mix of those seasonal pieces and those effortless pieces like a white tee shirt you can wear for years. We’ve done several partnerships in the past and I think it’s all about finding those brands that stand for the same things we believe in and working closely with them to create items that fit seamlessly into our line. Our aesthetic, that mix of Scandinavian and American style, is what makes our clothes unique, so we usually work with other brands that share that unique point of view or who are focused on essentials like we are.
What denim looks do you believe in for 2019?
I love that kind of beat-up looking denim that seems to have been in your closet for years. I think we’ll see a lot of vintage wash blues, like the pairs Jane Birkin used to live in. Overall I think we’ll see a lot of high waists and vintage treatments.
Where and how do you like to buy clothes yourself?
Everything I wear is from my line. I only wear Anine Bing pieces and occasionally a vintage Chanel bag. It’s so important for me to live in my clothes and build my wardrobe with the pieces that our customers are building theirs with. I have a uniform, usually, denim, a graphic tee and boots with a leather jacket and I just style different variations of that look.