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Zoe On Demand, Zoe By Me and Zoe On Stage. Transformation clothing industry? Zoe Karssen likes to be ahead of the game

By Partner


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Zoe Karssen is a brand with ambition. The Dutch label not only wants to make beautiful clothes for headstrong women, but also wants to transform the clothing industry. The brand will soon launch Zoe On Demand and Zoe By Me. "And later Zoe On Stage will follow," says general manager Franklin Thielsch. "With Zoe, we want to make an important contribution to a better world. And yes, that means going off the beaten track."

It is only six months ago that the promising fashion brand Zoe Karssen was revived under the leadership of Franklin Thielsch of Fashion Invest. Meanwhile, Erik Frenken, as creative director, is taking care of the new creative plan. Remarkable steps have also been made in the field of supply chain management, distribution and stock management. Franklin Thielsch: "The clothing industry needs to change, and that is exactly what we are doing now. The first 'reforms' are a fact as far as we are concerned."

Commercial trends vs creativity

The basis for the reforms at Zoe Karssen is the collection and interpretation of data. "We do that with Edited," explains Thielsch. "Edited is a tool that allows us to analyse commercial trends using sales, product and social data. This gives us a good impression of what is going on in the market. Instead of throwing collections out into the world randomly and just waiting to see which items will do well, we now know what the target group needs. Of course, our creative director Erik Frenken then adds his own Zoe Karssen twist.

New approach

According to Thielsch, the important thing is to move away from the situation in which only 20 percent of the collection generates 80 percent of the turnover. Thielsch: "Why have we as a clothing industry, as consumers, as a society always been satisfied with that? That means that 80 per cent of most collections are sold out or even dumped straight onto the rubbish heap. That is no longer acceptable. It has to be different. And at Zoe, we're going to do things differently.

No longer on pre-order, but on re-order

"Our philosophy in B2B is that delivery from stock is the new normal. We believe in that," says Thielsch. "That means that retailers can order items and re-order from stock. So the way of working where retailers have to buy five months in advance will disappear. We are going to turn it around; we are really going to work together with the retailers. They know what is going on in the market. Also based on the data, where we mainly focus on the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and Belgium, we see what is happening. We use that data to develop our new collections, coming up with several smaller drops a year, which also have a much shorter lead time."

Proof of Concepts

In addition, Thielsch and consorts have developed three Proof of Concepts: Zoe On Demand, Zoe By Me and Zoe On Stage. These concepts will be rolled out in the coming period. Thielsch: "Then we will see which concepts are future-proof and which are not. For example, we just went live with Zoe On Demand on our website. At the moment, only cotton products such as jumpers, hoodies, T-shirts and sweatpants are on demand, but this will soon be expanded. It works as follows: the customer orders today, the garments are produced immediately and delivered tomorrow. With Zoe By Me, we are going a step further. Customers can customise their clothes with graphic designs. They can choose from all sorts of possibilities. Here too, orders are delivered the next day. We do not yet know when Zoe By Me will be launched. At this moment we are still working hard on the design of the website.

Zoe On Stage

And then there's Zoe On Stage. Thielsch: "This initiative is still in development. Zoe On Stage will be a studio for creative people, where residual materials can be mixed and matched, where new styles can be created and so on. It will be a kind of hybrid form of Zoe Karssen, where creatives get a stage to show and develop their talents. Truly a special project. So we are constantly looking for new sustainable ways to reform the fashion industry. As far as we're concerned, this is just the beginning."

Read more about Zoe Karssen on the brand page: fashionunited.com/companies/zoe-karssen

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