Wednesday, January 25
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At Coterie, Aligning Wholesale with Fashion’s Digital and More Sustainable Future

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Coterie New York, a contemporary women’s fashion event from Informa MarketsAnd the This September returns for another season, to facilitate digital and personal discovery among global brands, buyers and retailers.

Launched in the 1980s as an intimate invite-only event with 25 brands in the Plaza Hotel, the concept was to connect members of the industry and offer a curated assortment of contemporary clothing. In the past 40 years, Coterie has established itself as a major player in the growth of the contemporary market, helping to launch, relaunch and expand brands from Helmut Lang to Alice and Olivia, while maintaining its original principles of organization and communication among the tens of thousands of guests welcoming each edition.

Combined with curated modification of leading women’s apparel, footwear and accessories, industry insights, networking opportunities and fashion research, the Coterie event is now honing its two main pillars: sustainability, technology and immersive experiences. This year offers a fresh look with updated branding and new creative ways to energize the site.

In response to new expectations, shifting sentiment and behavior in end consumers and “working backwards,” Coterie seeks to support brands through education and innovation — through partnerships with the likes of WGSN, providing real-time trend insights, and Hey Social Good, which provides verification Social practice to highlight efforts in environmental and social management.

In addition to sharing educational resources about technological innovations in fashion, from Metaverse and Web3 to 3D marketing, Coterie is also developing its strategy to take into account the growing resale market and increase buyers at their events that represent this space. After all, in 2020, resale made up 10 percent of total US retail sales, up from 5 percent in 2016. BoF Insights data estimates that the US second-hand fashion market could reach $57 billion by year 2025.

Kelly Hellman, Head of Fashion Informa Markets.

Now, BoF sits down with Kelly Helfman, President of Informa Markets Fashion, to better understand how Coterie can develop its wholesale approach to enable digital and sustainable successes.

What drives clique evolution?

We make sure that consumer demand is reflected in Coterie’s evolution – not just what brands or buyers demand, but what the end consumer wants, and process it backwards. This is how we approach our clique strategy.

The world has changed, the global fashion landscape has changed and the ecosystem has changed. So going forward, we make sure that we develop a clique to reflect all of those different changes. We have decades of strength in the contemporary marketplace, but they are looking at the new, evolving categories in fashion that we need to focus on, from the use of packaging to support mass-market brands or minority-owned businesses.

How is Coterie evolving to meet the needs of today’s brands and retailers?

It comes to this discovery. We want to create value through more immersive experiences, with a better focus on our two pillars: technology and business digitization; Sustainability through expertise, education and resources; Then highlight emerging brands.

It’s about being selective and deliberate in organizing our business, making sure we bring in the right buyers, the right brands, and connect them in a meaningful way.

Digital is a big part of it and the ability to evolve from a technical and digital point of view. We provide resources to people through digital platforms and partnerships – for example, we have been able to provide attendees with a digital platform on which they can participate, even when they cannot physically attend.

What supports Coterie’s success strategy?

It’s about being selective and deliberate in organizing our business, making sure we bring in the right buyers, the right brands, and connect them in a meaningful way. We love our old established brands, but we also understand that buyers are looking to connect with new and emerging brands. We provide space for discovery.

Over the years, Coterie has evolved to ensure that we have a great representation of international brands, into this curated assortment of the most advanced contemporary collections, be it apparel, accessories or footwear. We started in the 80s, representing only 25 brands in a hotel, and went on to launch a variety of premium brands. We are all about connection and discovery.

How does Coterie apply digital developments in its offerings?

Fashion by touch. You have to touch and feel it, and Coterie is a great opportunity to discover new, so you have to…

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