6 Key Skills to Being a Successful Menswear Buyer with LUISAVIAROMA’s Monica Pascarella
Luisa Via Roma is a long established luxury retail destination, offering the latest in authentic designer fashions since the opening of the Florence-based flagship store in the 1930s. Over 80 years later, the brand has flourished thanks to the launch of LUISAVIAROMA.com hosting over four million visitors per month and shipping to 125 countries worldwide. Featuring both esteemed designer labels alongside up-and-coming talent, LUISAVIAROMA has seamlessly persevered with the fast pace of the modern fashion world. HYPEBEAST catches up with Monica Pascarella, a seasoned menswear buyer for the brand with over 20 years experience. From Slimane to Yamamaoto, Pascarella has the skill of understanding the importance of content and uniquely, can identify the directions in which menswear is heading. Read further for her insights and advice with the specialized profession.
“When I buy for the web I try to put myself in the customer’s shoes; I think to myself if I was a young male, what would I want?”
Understanding the Difference in Digital vs. Brick & Mortar
When we started the website and I came to realize that the buying for online is completely different than buying for a store. Because when you buy for the shop you have contact with the customer, you know what type of person is coming in and select what you feel suits them. When you buy for the web, it is completely different; you just need to have an idea of them. When I buy for the web I try to put myself in the customer’s shoes; I think to myself if I was a young male, what would I want? I still like Slimane, and top Japanese fashion brands and designers – they are good for street style and it’s what young men like to wear these days.
Utilizing Brand Content to Your Advantage
Not only is the image a key component to what I buy and sell but the content is very important in my opinion. The image is nothing if you don’t have important content. The reason why I am emphasizing about content is because with it you can show the emotion of the brand; without it you just have something that is going to be finished quickly, so I buy from designers with interesting content and work with people that convey the content to customers.
“In my work the first and most important thing is the selection of the piece. The second is the photograph, because if the picture of a beautiful jacket is ugly it won’t sell.”
Putting Great Importance in Strong Visuals
The physical store remains for select customers that come to Luisa because they have knowledge about fashion and ask for a specific product or know what they want to buy. But the website works completely differently, we work on the visuals because a good images closes the sale. I always sell clothes thanks to the great images from a shoot, this is important for the web. So a perfect model, good photography and good selection are the key components to for the success of a sale on the site.
Knowing the Recipe for Success
In my work the first and most important thing is the selection of the piece. The second is the photograph, because if the picture of a beautiful jacket is ugly it won’t sell. Having experience working in the shop you’re buying for is also very important because a buyer that has never been in the shop will find it difficult and might not have the knowledge or understand the meaning of the products that the shop should sell. After many years in the shop, and you learn and know what sells and what won’t.
“Because in my opinion the future will be unisex, and all the menswear designers that have good evolution will go in this direction.”
Thinking Globally When Buying
Region doesn’t play into my decisions because I think about the world, not the region when I buy, otherwise I would be limited. The menswear I buy is not Italian but Central European and Japanese, because at the moment I think we are very good in the production but in the style we are not the number one anymore – we have lost. The number one at the moment are French, Japanese, and the future would be English. The London fashion scene, with designers like J.W.Anderson will surpass the others; I think it will be interesting in the future. It has something I like at the moment more than the others. Because in my opinion the future will be unisex and all the menswear designers that have good evolution, will go in this direction. Designers like Gareth Pugh and J.W.Anderson, you don’t recognize what is for men and what is for women. This is important because in the future I think fashion will always be more mixed. If men want to dress in skirts, why not?
Using Big Data, Within Reason
Data influences what I buy a lot for sure, but I try to be romantic when it’s possible but the numbers have a big influence. When buying we have to consider if something sells when the sale is finished. For example Zara perhaps doesn’t need the same business as Givenchy, there is no comparison. I try to keep a balance, but I have to consider the numbers as well. We try to do a good mix between numbers and content, but often content doesn’t have numbers.