The designer Diane von Furstenberg has stated that her eponymous company aims to cater to a broad audience but acknowledges that size diversity can be costly. She emphasized the importance of fabric quality, its feel, drape, strength, and durability.
"I believe a lot in fabric: the quality of the fabric, its touch, its drape, its strength, and its durability," said Ms. von Furstenberg at the Future of Everything Festival by The Wall Street Journal. She pointed out that larger sizes require more fabric, which can increase the cost of a garment. "I spend money on fabric. I always have, and it's important. If you are a size two and if you are a size 16, you don't use the same amount of fabric," she explained.
She also expressed her concern about not wanting to penalize petite individuals by making them pay more due to the same pricing structure, even though their garments use less fabric. "You don't want to penalize short people [who would pay] more because the price has to be the same. It may be very controversial to talk about this, but I think it's important."
In a conversation with The Wall Street Journal's Off Duty fashion director, Katharine Zarrella, Ms. von Furstenberg and the company's CEO, Gabby Hirata, also discussed office attire in the context of returning to the workplace, Ms. Hirata's experience as a millennial CEO, and why data doesn't always provide a complete picture.
Ms. Von Furstenberg noted that despite the shift to more casual clothing, people have still dressed well on Zoom during the last few years of the pandemic. "You still walk into a meeting," she said. "You want to look sharp, and you want to present yourself well."
During the pandemic, the fashion designer had to restructure her company and appointed Ms. Hirata, 33 years old, as the CEO of her company, recognizing her excellent diplomatic skills. Ms. Hirata initially tried to decline the position, claiming that she didn't fit the typical job description. "You should never say that to a boss who is offering you a promotion," said Ms. Hirata, who was also on stage. She mentioned that she and Ms. von Furstenberg debate professional issues every day.
More recently, they disagreed on adding an additional style to their offerings. Ms. Hirata mentioned that the company now produces 198 styles per season, based on what they know their customers want through data. They know people come to them for colorful prints. In this case, when Ms. von Furstenberg wanted to add a black and white version of a dress pattern, Ms. Hirata said they didn't have space - and now Ms. Hirata acknowledges that customers have requested the dress in black and white.
"I love data," said Ms. von Furstenberg. "Data is wonderful. I'm telling you now that people don't know what they want... What I can add, me, the old lady, the oracle of this brand, is my experience, my connections, my resources. Experience is massive data."
September 07, 2023