Feb 25, 2014
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Virtual showroom Le New Black finds its footing

Feb 25, 2014

As the real-world trade shows get ready to open their second sessions in Paris at the end of the week, the virtual showroom launched by Vidya Narine in June 2009 continues to make progress.

Today, it hosts 180 brands online, compared with 110 a year ago. More than 3000 buyers from 70 countries are accredited users. And to top it off, Vidya Narine noted that Le New Black should reach financial stability in its current fiscal year ending in June.

Le New Black’s strong point today, according to its founder, is that it showcases brands from all across the fashion spectrum. “There are brands from the runway like John Lawrence Sullivan (Editor’s note: a recent addition), BACK by Ann-Sofie Back, Henrik Vibskov; established labels like Sessun, Baum und Pferdgarten, Bruuns Bazar, Kenzo Shoes; and emerging brands (Etudes, Andrea Crews, Valentine Gauthier, Baserange),” she remarked. Many of these brands are also available in brick-and-mortar stores – which in no way diminishes the New Black concept.

Last year Le New Black also created an even more personalized service, appropriately called “Le Privé.” “It’s a private online showroom, on an URL chosen by the brand, accessible to buyers only by invitation,” explained Vidya Narine. “The brand can use it to promote its collection before a show for buyers who don’t travel, for example.”

The service can also be used to take orders in showrooms, via an iPad and a barcode scanner. Developed initially for Kris van Assche, Le Privé is now used not only by Kris van Assche but also by labels including AMI Alexandre Mattiussi, Olympia Le Tan and others.

Additionally, Le New Black has developed partnerships with organizations in various countries. In France, it has partnered with Le Défi (which has just renewed its partnership for a third year) and with the French Federation of Footwear. These institutional partners help support participating French brands.

Le New Black is also a sponsor of Fashion Forward Dubai, an event that brings together brands, buyers and journalists from the Middle East, and of FDCI, which organizes Delhi Fashion Week. For each of these events, Le New Black sponsors an invited designer for a year in its virtual showroom.

In Dubai, the winner was Zayan, founder of the multibrand boutique Sauce, who has also launched her own label. And in India, the winner was Bodice.

Also among the site’s partners is the Portuguese National Association of Young Businesspeople (ANJE), which organizes Fashion Week at Porto and sponsors eight Portuguese designers on Le New Black.

Finally, to develop its presence in Japan, the site decided to engage a local agent, Yasunori Chahara, who signed up John Lawrence Sullivan, a designer with three branches in Japan.

Jean-Paul Leroy (with Bruno Joly)

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