‘Front Row’ Fashion Technology Launches in the UK in February 2021
By Emily Peagram 20 Jan 2021
Fashion-savvy women around the UK are embracing a new technologically advanced way to shop for their clothes and accessories thanks to a new Virtual Personal Styling concept from America’s largest social direct to consumer brand of women’s designer clothing: introducing cabi Front Row.
With luxury personal styling and technology at its core, the new platform enables women to shop with friends and family from the comfort of their own homes. This shopping experience marries the best of online shopping—convenience, choice and autonomy, with the best of the brand’s flagship experience, personalised expert styling in the company of girlfriends – for free!
With many retail stores closing and unemployment at an all-time high and increasing, due to the pandemic, cabi brings good news as it is also looking to on board hundreds of Stylists across the country. The company offers Stylists the opportunity to build their own businesses and work in a flexible way, allowing women to replace lost or earn supplemental income. *see notes to editors
cabi, was launched in 2002 by designer Carol Anderson, President Kimberly Inskeep and 10 other founding women, and prides itself on being a ‘company for women, by women.’ The designer fashion brand was launched to reinvent the way women shop and work. The cabi business model offers many different options to shop when, where and how the client wants, to suit her own lifestyle. The brand’s flagship experience is centred around a personal Stylist who showcases the designer collection either in person or virtually, complete with a styling experience designed to fit the needs of the client.
Front Row is ‘a digital first’ for cabi and the ‘direct to consumer’ world - a unique proprietary virtual styling platform, enabling its Stylists to present the season’s collection in an engaging environment. Guests are welcomed into an interactive space alongside a group of friends or family all in their remote locations, where they connect through video and chat, receiving styling ideas and personalised fashion advice from a trained Stylist.
The experience is like watching a runway fashion show up close and personal in your own home, with your own front row seat. As guests view beautifully shot collection videos, they can ‘like’ clothing pieces as they appear, and create a virtual dressing room from which to make their purchases. The service delivers what women want while they shop – an engaging experience, convenient technology, personal connection and professional guidance – at any time they choose. After clients purchase and the virtual experience ends, they can access the list of what they liked (but didn’t buy) on an app. They can also see recommendations on other items to mix and match with what’s currently in their ‘cabi closet’.
The brand has invested more than a million USD into its new digital service, using an in-house team supported by specialists overseas to develop the unique and proprietary platform. After it’s 6-month US pilot, the UK and Canada are now the second markets for launch.
President and Chief Marketing Officer Katie Malone says: “This really is a digital first for the direct to consumer industry and we’re so excited to be bringing cabi’s Front Row platform to UK women.
“Our offering, a combination of real-life interaction with a stylist who gets to know you, combined with digital content, is proving to be a success in these very challenging times. The multi-channel experience allows the client to choose when, where and how she shops – ensuring she stays safe.
“Given the decline of the UK’s high street during the pandemic, with so many women’s ‘go to’ fashion stores closing, it was natural that this was our next market for launch. As well as attracting new clients to the brand, we’re also hoping to bring on board many new stylists over the coming months to our team of talented cabi women.”
Already the platform is reporting a strong performance in the US, with an average cabi Front Row show’s sales average standing at 88% of the in-person experience. And in one of the first weeks of Front Row going live, a record 1,050 shows took place – exceeding cabi’s expectations for their virtual service in its infant stages.
This kind of resilience is proving to be rare within the global fashion industry. In its most recent ‘index on global fashion’ the McKinsey institute suggests that the industry’s economic profit will fall by 93 percent in 2020 after rising 4 percent in 2019.
But with success in the UK firmly on the horizon, cabi will be doing good with its ethos of ‘fashion with compassion’. Founder and CEO Kimberly Inskeep says: “cabi is not a business seeking to be successful for success’ sake but in order to do good. From the earliest days, the company set up a Foundation that partners with exceptional non-profit organisations to fulfil the mission of encouraging and empowering women in need – charities such as World Vision and Smart Works. To date we’ve donated 59 million USD in clothing and monetary gifts and 2.7million cabi items have been given to women in need.
“That’s on top of another charitable programme we run in partnership with Opportunity International where each time a new cabi Stylist begins her business, we lend money and mentor a woman in the developing world enabling her to set up a business of her own choice.”