Bode will hold a show in Paris during menswear week – WWD

Emily returns to Paris, that is, Emily Bode.

After a pandemic-fueled hiatus during which she focused on her domestic affairs and the opening of a flagship store in Los Angeles, the founder and designer of the Bode brand plans to return to the official Parisian menswear calendar in January.

Bode, which will celebrate the seventh anniversary of its heritage-inspired brand next summer, made the leap across the pond in June 2019 and staged its second show there just before the pandemic hit in February. 2020.

“We came back to New York after the show and everyone was sick,” she recalls. Soon after, offices and stores closed and the world essentially shut down.

“Our plan was to never stop showing,” she said. “It happened naturally.”

So, with shows canceled and international travel curtailed, Bode instead focused on the 3,200-square-foot flagship it opened on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles in February.

“We decided to put all of our energies into the West Coast market rather than having a show,” she said.

And it paid off.

Bode said the store was doing well, as was its original location on Hester Street in New York’s Chinatown.

“Our growth has been really solid over the last year,” she said. “So now it’s important to grow as we have done in the previous five years. So while we were focusing on our direct selling last year, next year we are going back to Paris.

She said the European city was “a priority right now”. And while the company’s largest direct-selling market is in North America, “from a wholesale perspective, our biggest volume is in Europe and the UK,” with customers retail outlets such as Matchesfashion, Browns and Liberty in London, as well as stores in Japan and Korea.

“Everyone frequents Paris for the shows,” she continued. “And while we’ve had great success with virtual dating, we felt it was important to show again.” She called her line “story-based” and as a result, she enjoys a live presentation.

It also helps streamline selling the line when retailers and publishers can shop and view the collection immediately after seeing the show in the same city.

Bode said that while she may decide to do a retail activation in New York during fashion week in February, there are no plans to replicate the show in the United States.

Looks from the Bode fall 2021 collection.

Courtesy of Bodé

Bode, which won the 2019 Emerging Menswear Designer Award and the 2021 Menswear Designer of the Year Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America as well as the 2020 Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation from the Woolmark Co., has seen its business grow significantly over the past few years.

The company recently moved from a cramped 2,000 square foot space in Chinatown to a 10,000 square foot manufacturing site in Brooklyn, and recruited staff.

“We now have quite a large in-house studio team,” she said. This includes everyone from drawing and pattern making specialists to tailors and cutters, who work with her to “evolve our one-of-a-kind business alongside the collection”.

Bode said up to 40% of her business comes from one-off pieces she and the team create from vintage quilts and repurposed fabrics. These are sold primarily in her own stores and on her website and she also creates a more commercial collection with a similar aesthetic that is sold wholesale.

Bode said while retail is a successful channel for the company, there are no immediate plans to add more stores. But that can change.

“We talk about it constantly,” she said. “The LA store opened up the West Coast market to us in a way we didn’t know existed and completely changed our business.”

She said that because the California store is four times the size of its Hester Street unit, it is able to carry the entire collection. “New York is more of a jewelry box than a store,” she said, “and the merchandise is constantly changing because we don’t have the same space.”

But the success of the West Coast store proved to the company that future stores don’t have to fit a particular mold.

“We are now confident that every store can have a different feel and still be on brand,” she said. “They don’t need to be mirror images of each other.”

In the past, Bode has said London is on its wish list for future retail expansion.

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