「SSENSE」 INTERVIEW (english version)
interview, text : yoshiko kurata
「SSENSE」 INTERVIEW (english version)
独自の感性が注目を集めるファッションプラットフォーム「SSENSE」。オンラインショップを展開するだけではなく、雑誌「032c」創設者・編集長のJoerg Kochの監修のもと独特の切り口を展開するウェブメディアも配信。設立のきっかけ、独自の運営方法などについて話をきいた。(QUOTATION No.26 より一部抜粋）
2003年に本社をモントリオールに設立。オリジナルコンテンツ、400以上のメンズ、ウィメンズのファッションブランドのキュレーションを行うファッションプラットフォームとして活動。 オンラインショップのほか、雑誌「032c」創設者・編集長のJoerg Kochの監修のもと、独特の視点で語るウェブメディアも運営。
Please tell me SSENSE background.
Established in 2003 and headquartered in the vibrant city of Montreal, SSENSE is a fashion platform known for its exclusive original content and a curated selection of over 400 fashion and luxury designers for men and women. Advocating a radically new point of view on luxury, SSENSE is forging a path towards a new establishment where the intersection of creativity, content, and commerce is challenged and celebrated.
Rami Atallah is the co-founder and chief executive officer of SSENSE, a Montreal-based fashion platform with global reach. Born in Syria, Atallah emigrated from Damascus to Montreal with his family at the age of 15. He built the first SSENSE platform as part of his graduate thesis for his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and enlisted the help of his two brothers to fully explore its potential. Under his leadership, SSENSE is pacing the vanguard of directional retail with its mix of luxury, streetwear, and avant-garde labels. Currently serving 114 countries, generating an average of 32 million monthly page views, and achieving high double digit annual growth since its inception, its field of focus has grown beyond that of a typical e-commerce entity as it explores the nexus of content, is becoming a cultural protagonist commerce, and culture. More than just a retailer, SSENSE is becoming a cultural protagonist in its own right.
Your online shop is not just an online shop. It means people also love your online articles with unique photography. Is it important for you to mix art and unique perspective with fashion?
The SSENSE core values are best reflected through our product assortment and also our creative content, providing an integrated and immersive platform to demonstrate our role as cultural influencer and curator. Millennials represent 80% of our audience. They were raised with the internet so they are very informed with constant access to information. Our challenge is to nurture their curiosity for knowledge by providing high quality editorial content, whether it be through stories on fashion, music, architecture, design or art.
Do editor and writer belong in-house team?
Our Editorial team consists of an in-house team of editors, producers, and planners, as well as a mix of international contributors. The editorial direction is led by Joerg Koch, our Editor-in-chief and the Founder/ Editor-in-chief of the influential magazine 032c. They are driven by a passion to promote forward-thinkers and challenge the status-quo of luxury. We have partnered with some of the most renowned talents across a range of creative disciplines and projects, such as Nick Knight, Danko Steiner and Jamie Morgan, just to name a few.
Please tell me your consistent concept of your shop and project.
SSENSE represents our perspective of new luxury — what influences today’s creatives, what they think about, talk about and dream about. We take great pride in discovering and featuring the next generation who will redefine the future of this industry, whether this is through our editorial content or curated selection of over 400 brands.
I read you pick up young designers from their first collection, like Off white, Hood by Air and Wales Bonner etc. At which point do you decide to buy their clothes?
Our buying teams work with a strong intuition combined with an analytical mindset. Each season, our teams visit hundreds of showrooms and attend fashion shows for established and emerging designers. They do a great job of synthesizing all the collections and trends they’ve seen into tightly edited collections.
Our audience really looks to us to introduce them to new designers and we were among the first to support designers like Vetements, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Off-White, and Wales Bonner.
We will often buy the first collections of new and emerging brands, such as Kwaidan Editions for Fall/Winter 2017. It’s usually an easy choice to carry a brand early on. If we feel that
a brand has a strong point of view and tells an interesting story, then we know they will be a good fit for the SSENSE customer.
How do sales of brands and gender change depending on countries? For example, I read in a farfetch CEO interview that 45% of sales is mens clothes in Japan. In most countries, sales of women clothes are higher than mens.
Our customer base is split almost equally across the world between men and women, and Japan is within our top 10 markets.
Individuality is a strong value for our Millennial audience. They don’t want to look alike, they want to use clothing as a way to express their originality. Our selection of products empowers them to express themselves.
Please tell me your favorite upcoming designer.
For women we are excited for the collection from Marine Serre, who was the winner of the 2017 LVMH prize. We are also looking forward to the first collection from Kwaidan Editions. The young designers, Hung and Lea, are a very strong team together with their background from Céline and Balenciaga. For men we are very excited to share that starting in Spring/Summer 2018 we will begin carrying Dior Homme and Bottega Veneta.
Please tell me your upcoming project.
We are continuing to grow at a very fast pace. The coming year will be an exciting time for SSENSE, with new enhancements both digitally through our website, such as a newly designed homepage and editorials, international expansion, and a focus on physical spaces.