Friday, February 27, 2009

CONSTANCE WHITE: A CONVERSATION WITH eBay’S STYLE DIRECTOR



eBay SUITE: ROYALTON HOTEL, WEST 44th STREET, NYC

FEBRUARY 18th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard



Our conversation with eBay’s knowledgeable and au courant Style Director, Constance White was a highlight of this past NY FASHION WEEK's activities.

We met up with this guru of all things sold with flair-on an afternoon where we looked forward to, CRAVED REALLY- an engaging conversation without any ear splitting music rockin' the background.

Ensconced in the spacious bright penthouse of the recently refurbished Royalton Hotel, we found White chatting with pals R.Scott French and Meredith Garcia (The Fashion List) and PR maven Linda Gaunt.

Revived with a quick jolt of java, we joined the conversation to find out White’s take on Spring fashion picks and eBay’s Green initiative.

LYRA MAG:
What do you think will be the hot eBay picks for the upcoming season?

WHITE:
What people are bidding on for Spring are (1) statement necklaces from prestige names like Kenneth Jay Lane and Tom Binns, (2) skinny jeans, (3)chunky heal shoes like platform and wedges, (4) footwear from big designer names like Christian Loubintin, (5)across the board sunglasses for men and women in styles like aviators, and by big designer names like Dolce & Gabanna and Marc Jacobs, (6) bags including clutches, chain handle or carry bags for day and evening, and (7) anything with the fringe look and the color fushia

LYRA MAG: What surprises you about what sells?

WHITE: Fur surprises me…how much is selling including chubbies, scarves, and fur lined coats. Also boyfriend jackets are selling.

LYRA MAG: What about the effect a young celeb has on online traffic when photographed in an emerging designer?

WHITE: eBay tracks the ascent of these celeb driven pieces ie what a Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie or Nicole Kidman wore to the Golden Globes. New labels that are not well known start cropping up, maybe 2-10 pieces by sellers.

LYRA MAG:
Any names?

WHITE:
Jason Wu and Rag & Bone.

LYRA MAG:
How has the Fashion industry changed?

LINDA GAUNT:
Social networking’s importance. You can’t just shoot a campaign and create the collateral…the channels are different-that’s where the change is.”

WHITE:
Fashion was TV driven and endorsed by magazines. Now there are so many ways to “pop.” Michelle Obama, she’s a celebrity.

The public relations strategy is/helps the business strategy…and overall educating the public… strategic information.”

LYRA MAG:
What about capsule collections…as soon as Victor & Rolf’s H & M collection hit, pieces were already online being bid up beyond their initial prices?

WHITE: It’s not as frenzied as it used to be…the older ones were nuts…Comme Des Garcon and the Karl Langerfeld’s collections (for H&M).

We also noted that it is a challenge selling clothes and shoes online but that eBay has sizing helpful charts... and sellers provide details and measurements. We also discussed fakes---and White brightly pointed out that by using PayPal, “you can get your money back, buy from sellers with good ratings.”

eBay’S GREEN INITTATIVE

What could be more eco than buying vintage, recycled or gently used clothes on eBay. Shoppers can even buy organic clothing or items made from sustainable materials by entering the search field accordingly.

From the press release we learned:
•Shopping online—through sites like eBay—produces less greenhouse
gases than shopping at the mall. Choose ground shipping for the most
planet friendly delivery option.
•The sale of used laptops on eBay in 2007 alone saved 69,000 tons of
C02—which has the same effect as saving 437 acres of forest in the
fight against global warming.
•The sale of used handbags on eBay over the last three years has
reduced greenhouse gases in an amount equivalent to planting
2.4million trees.
•The sale of used golf clubs on eBay over the last three years has
reduced greenhouse gases in an amount equivalent to taking 22,000
cars off the road for a year.
•eBay Inc. has the largest commercial solar panel installation in the city
of San Jose, CA and has been a carbon-neutral company since 2007.

FOR SALE:
The eBay suite was elegantly attired itself---with poshly clothed mannequins featuring vintage outfits from three popular sellers-Denise Zeide (Magnificent Vintage), Linda Lightman (Linda’s Stuff), and Ricky Serbin (Ricky's Exceptional Treasures).

We thought the YSL getup (a purple brocade jacket with palazzo pants from Ricky’s Exceptional Treasures was (is) a bargain, tagged at $500.



INFO: eBay