As Retail Fashion Director for Net-a-Porter, one of the most respected e-commerce platforms for luxury fashion, people often look to Lisa Aiken for the most popular styles-du-jour. Aiken is also known for scouting new design talent and bringing them to the global market, which speaks to her foresight of where fashion is heading.
We sat down with her on the eve of Net-a-Porter's Spring/Summer 2018 presentation in Seoul to find out what's next.
Let's start with the important stuff—what's the next big shoe trend?
The kitten heel is super important and though we saw the beginnings of it in Fall/Winter 2017, I think it’s going to get so much bigger for Spring/Summer 2018. For fall, we're seeing it in a boot shape while for spring it’s more a vintage-feel slingback or a mule.
One of my favourites of the season is the Prada studded slingback kitten heel, and they had some made from prints in the collection as well.
And for denim?
We’re still all about the high-rise straight leg so it’s not so much a shift in the shape but a lot more true-dark indigo denim, as well as white. White denim has the connotation of being very stark and stretchy but it’s more like a modern silhouette, very clean and no stretch, with a boxy denim jacket to go with it.
You discovered Attico and Alessandra Rich, which brands are next on your radar?
There are a few brands on Net-a-Porter that I believe will continue to grow, like Regina Pyo, A.W.A.K.E., Petar Petrov—all brands we launched relatively recently but are really starting to make a name for themselves. In terms of new brands, there are a few that we found in different places like Copenhagen like Stine Goya with a Scandi-aesthetic.
We picked up two brands from Seoul during fashion week like We11 Done, that was created by the owners of Rare Market as well as a very edgy brand called Pushbutton.
How do you think trends are formed?
Trends either they go up and fall away quickly or they gain traction much slower and develop over time. Looking at immediate history, we think things move quickly. However, I felt the same way in the 90s and now we look back and we sum up the 90s in a consistent aesthetic. Hindsight can be a helpful thing.
Yes, there are certain dominant trends over the decade but often you don’t know what marked a decade until the decade’s over. Whether the designers know it initially or are catering to it, I doubt that. I think they see success and build on ideas.
What's something that women will always love?
I think it's a woman’s attraction to men’s clothing and masculinity because how we approach it can change season to season. But the idea of it, whether it’s tailoring or oversized shirting, it often leads back to menswear origins.
Maybe it’s because men's wardrobes change more slowly than women's so we feel like it’s more investment-worthy and we feel there’s a sense of longevity there.
What's the next development in fashion e-commerce?
I think it’s about diversity, about where we’re bringing brands in from. More and more we’re seeing brands crop up in niche markets like Tbilisi Fashion Week.
There are so many brands I wanted to investigate because they're often informed by their immediate, local surroundings which makes their aesthetic very different to the New York or Parisian designers.
Finally, what's next for you?
I really feel like I have my dream job, so I just want to be as good at this as I can be. The biggest accolade I could ever get would be to introduce a new brand, mentor them and allow them to achieve a level of success that they’re happy with. I feel I’m doing a good job if they do well.
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