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Why buzzy Instagram accessories labels are investing in ready-to-wear

Miista now comes up with a seasonal theme deployed across its shoes and clothing. “We’re...

Miista now comes up with a seasonal theme deployed across its shoes and clothing. “We’re able to come up with a more rounded creative concept. It allows us to experiment more and we try to find new ways of combining materials and shapes,” says Villasenín Sánchez.

Miista’s customers have responded positively, he says. “Some said that they better understand what we’re trying to communicate.” Its 40 stockists include Ssense, La Samaritaine, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Wow Madrid. “They told us that having the clothing helps to sell the shoes because it’s about connecting the dots together. From a merchandising point of view, it looks stronger and helps to portray the brand as a whole,” he adds.

The challenges of adding clothes

Category expansion doesn’t come easy. Fashion consultant Natalie Kingham says: “From a business point of view, it takes time. You need to know your customer and figure out your price point and production. Most brands do one thing very well but it’s difficult to do all things well.”

Edited, the retail intelligence firm, tracked an increase of new arrivals from Yuzefi by 156 per cent year on year at third-party retailers across the US and UK. However, accessories remain the hero category for Yuzefi, experiencing high sellouts and low discounting levels compared to apparel, says Kayla Marci, Edited’s market analyst. That’s not the case at Cult Gaia, says Larian. RTW is contributing 57 per cent of 2022 revenues, having grown 180 per cent year over year, outpacing the brand’s accessories growth of 130 per cent year over year.

Ready-to-wear requires more resources and people with specific skills in areas such as pattern making and cutting, says Larian. “Ready-to-wear is an expensive process. You need technical designers because you’re dealing with sizes, fabric, braiding, wastage. There are more moving parts. The fabric comes from one place, the factories are in another place, and then there’s the time it takes for cutting, sewing and other details. People don’t realise what it takes to make a garment.” Cult Gaia currently employs about 70 people in total.

Miista, which makes its footwear mostly in the southeastern Spanish city of Alicante, made a significant upfront investment to establish its own clothing factory in the country’s northwest region of Galicia. The goal was to ensure a strong supply chain and to control the manufacturing process from beginning to end, says Villasenín Sánchez. “We don’t have to go and outsource far away, so we can offer a transparent approach for our customer and community.”