The only constant in life is change. And while change can be uncomfortable, one thing that is assured, nothing ever stays the same. Loris Diran understands that, and in his new career trajectory Loris Diran is learning from the successes of his past, while projecting toward a promising future.
“After four successful years with our NY Bowery boutique we are confident we understand who our customer is … My main intention was to present my vision of the Bowery boutique in such a unique manner, that it would open doors for us with many of our target luxury retailers and it did just that. The big retailers were able to see the full breadth of my vision and they embraced it. It was a mission accomplished for us and I am so grateful to all those that supported us throughout those four wonderful years. Now it’s time to grow those relationships and a great deal of that will involve totally focusing all our efforts on wholesale distribution,” details Diran.
In February 2009, Loris Diran took a major risk and opened his boutique in the Bowery, a downtown area historically known for rock clubs, art galleries and sleazy flophouses for indigent, down-on-their-luck New Yorkers. As this neighborhood went through a gentrification process, introducing luxury high rises, the continued expansion of NYU, and tony eateries, the Bowery was quickly identified as the next, burgeoning shopping district. Patrica Fields, John Varvatos, Oak, and Mario Cornejo quickly took up residence. Billy Reid, Carlos Campos and others followed later.
Loris Diran was one of the first established fashion designers to venture into the chartered waters of the Bowery. “In the beginning we had missed opportunities in other upcoming shopping districts. When we entered the market, the Meatpacking District was out of our range financially. We looked at Bleecker Street, but by the time we were ready, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs had assumed multiple lofts, driving up the price of real estate, which made Bleecker[Street] out of our price range. The Bowery was going to be the next burgeoning shopping district, and reminded me of unique shopping areas in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. I knew the Bowery was the last frontier in Manhattan, so I went for it,” explained Diran.
Though the world economy was about to collapse, Diran went ahead with his plans to open his boutique. “When we started to plan the boutique there was no recession. We broke ground right before the global recession was announced … When we opened in February of 2009, which was the deepest part of the recession, the reaction to our store opening was so positive and enthusiastic that we felt we could ride the recession out,” continues Diran.
“Though we got really great press, there were some holdouts. There were those we felt opening a high-end boutique at the height of the recession was antithetical to what was happening in this country financially. There were a lot of people that were reticent to highlight expensive stores and luxury goods at the time.”
In spite of a recessed economy, Loris Diran held his ground and accomplished some first for his brand and boutique. As a direct result of his Bowery boutique, Loris Diran opened a popup boutique in Saks West Palm Beach. And 2010 also saw the debut of Loris Diran’s collections in Milan as a guest of Vogue Italia and Milano Unica. In 2011, Diran won the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award for best menswear designer.
Still, one of the duties of talented designers is to know and understand where their brands should be heading and what’s next in terms of consumer’s developing fashion palette. With those considerations in mind, Loris Diran on September 28 chose to close his boutique in service to the evolution and expansion of his brand. “My decision to shutter the store was based on focusing the attention of the brand on our wholesale presence. This takes a great deal of energy and concentration. I want to expand the brand across the US and globally. And that is extremely hard to do while you are dealing with the daily challenges of running a boutique,” concedes Diran.
That said; Diran looks back on his Bowery boutique with fond memories and as a great place to test out and refine marketing and sales techniques. “What this boutique brought me was the ability to test all my ideas on the street. I was able to take my ideas out of their theoretical form and put them into practice. I was able to create a less expensive menswear capsule collection within my menswear sector, and it worked … Through the Bowery boutique I learned that a broader range of products within the brand is the best way to merchandize your ideas and your collections.”
And Loris Diran is taking these marketing truths and putting them to good use. Recently, Diran showed his collections at Uzbekistan Fashion Week and is developing strategies to expand his brand to a larger European audience.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And for Loris Diran it has all been a win win!!
—William S. Gooch