This morning at Decoded Fashion London I had the pleasure of sitting down with the stylish Candice Fragis, the buying and merchandising director for Farfetch. She currently leads the buying, merchandising and visual merchandising teams across men, women, children and beauty.
I was introduced to Candice by Decoded Fashion PR girl Mollie. As I stood up to greet her, I found myself taking in her fashionable black jumpsuit, which I loved, and her wild curly hair, which I envied. With a firm handshake and a quick introduction we made ourselves comfortable on the white sofa so we could begin our one on one chat.
Fragis, the decision maker of what boutiques grace the online pages of Farfetch, was easy to talk too. Because of this I found myself allowing my curiousity to take over as I confidently asked her what kind of retail tech the Farfetch store had adopted in order to stay relevant. On this Fragis shared that it all begins with “using technology to create an online presence”, not only for them but also for the boutiques they work with. Their objective is ensure that they are able to offer not only a wider audience to their boutique partners but that they can also be a “third door” for boutiques looking to globally spread their wings.
She continued, “Engagement, direction and insight are paramount. We use technology as a tool so we can involve our customers in the process, which then helps us evolve”. I liked that. Those were the words that got my full attention. I wanted to know more. So I picked her brain further, and moved onto wearables. I wanted to know, as woman who has, for the past 12 years, encompassed an impressive buying career, what was her take on the adoption of wearables by consumers?
With a confident smile she shared that when it comes to wearables “I want tech that works for me“. Nodding my head I encouraged her to continue. “Fitbit is great, but it does not look good with my jewellery.” With that said she held out her arm and showed me a wrist of stacked arm candy. Admiring jangling bracelets and bangles, I couldn’t agree more. This was one of the reasons that FashNerd was started, we wanted to introduce the kind wearables to consumers that did not sacrifice fashion for functionality.
Her open disappointment on the wearables currently available for stylish women like her gave me the sudden urge to introduce Candice to our WearableTechStylist. I wanted to show her that wearables for the stylish woman do exist. She looked doubtful as I pulled out my iPad. Whilst I switched it on, she wrinkled her nose and shared, “I don’t really care to know my heartbeat. I want the kind of technology that won’t require me to walk around with my charger. It’s 2016, so I shouldn’t feel like technology will make me look like a sumo robot.” I found myself laughing at her comment. It was refreshing to meet someone who was so honest about what they think and want when it comes to wearable technology.
Handing Candice the iPad she met for the first time FashNerd’s WearableTechStylist. As I talked her through it, she smiled and said “This is a great idea“. With those words, I felt encouraged to explain further the reasoning behind the idea. We wanted everyday consumers to be able to feel a connection with wearables and fashion tech through a familiar ‘Get the Look’ route. Nodding in agreement she replied with “It’s all about balance.”
Continuing our conversation, Candice admitted that she has been exposed more to technology from a productive aspect. With that admission, I wanted to dig a little deeper on her thoughts about introducing wearables and fashion tech designers to Farfetch. Was this something in the works? Taking a moment to think, Candice shared that at the moment there were no brands that she thought could work for Farfetch customers, but she kept her ear to the ground. That being said, she did reveal that she has been taken in by Iris van Herpen and Vinaya.
Wanting to know more, I asked her if she has any specific brands that she was impressed with. Taking a moment to think about it, she paused and then said “Slaint“. “Oh?” was my response. I had not heard of them before and I know about 99% of fashion tech wearable brands, so I asked her to elaborate. “Slaint is a luxury men’s accessory brand that came to see me with their collection.” Seeing that she had my attention she continued, “Their beautiful collection is small, but manages to bridge the gap between luxury fashion and technology.” Ohhhhh I was intrigued and I made a mental note to check them out as soon as our chat was over. As we bantered back and forth, we soon found ourselves bonding over our desperate need for a handsome tech bag in our life. We agreed that this luxury must have is perfect for women on the go, women like ourselves!
It wasn’t long after that, that our chat came to an end and I found myself liking the woman before me. She was honest, ” I won’t wear wearables for wearables sake”, she knew her mind, “I am all about taking a chance”, she likes what she likes “I am so big on sustainable brands” and she has a great attitude, “It’s all about keeping a casual dialogue“. As we said our goodbyes, I wondered what’s not to like about Ms Candice Fragis? Because I can honestly say it was definitely a pleasure to meet you.