A renewed thirst for product and plans for a standalone store prove the womenswear brand is bubbling with ideas.
Robert Rose has decided that his contemporary womenswear brand Pink Soda needs a renewed focus, some 25 years after he founded it at the age of 20. Back in the early 1980s Rose, who had abandoned his ambition of becoming a pharmacist, established the brand, which quickly took off and was snapped up by high-end retailers including New York designer department store Barneys.
After the initial branded success, Rose found himself producing ever-increasing volumes of private label product – which still accounts for 60% of the business. Now he wants to channel his energies back to where he started, the brand. Pink Soda is split into two lines: the Pink Soda mainline and the more sophisticated Pink Soda Boutique, which sits at the designer bridge end of the market. Both lines carry Rose’s “modern vintage” handwriting.
Rose enjoys the juxtaposition of the old and new as much as he enjoys playing with textures – delicate evening dresses matched with chunky knits, for instance – and he prefers working with natural fabrics such as silks and cottons. Special attention is paid to details such as beading, prints, scalloped edging, draping, sequins or embroidery.
“Its uniqueness is the product mix,” he says. “In the autumn collection we have designed a range of 1920s-style flapper dresses, which can be worn with modern, clean tailoring or boyish cardigans. We create changing boundaries, old and new, bright and matt, mixing textures; we always bring a new slant to the collections.”
For spring 09 Rose and his design team have used bright blues, greens and pinks throughout both Pink Soda collections to enable buyers to mix and match, while neutral options mean buyers can opt for safer pieces or choose a more sedate palette. While the bright colours and details such as draping are bang on the money for spring 09, Rose claims not to be too concerned by trends.
“If no one else does blue, it doesn’t matter. We just do what feels right for us,” he says. Indeed, Rose can’t afford to hang back and wait to see where everyone else is going. By July this year, spring 09 product was ready to ship and the design for autumn 09 was already underway. As well as two ranges per year for each of the two lines, Rose produces a number of in-season capsule collections.
The wholesale base for both lines is in rude health, with 130 accounts in the UK and 320 worldwide, but Rose is frustrated that no single stockist can showcase the whole range, so the next ambition is to open a store. Sites are being scouted in central London and Rose hopes to open within a year. He is also looking at etail, whether through a dedicated site or via third parties. “No one has seen all this,” he says, waving his arms around his central London showroom. “It needs an identity, it needs to be out there.”
Pink Soda 020 7636 9001
320: Number of stockists worldwide
25: Number of years since the company was founded
£40: Starting price for a Pink Soda Boutique dress
£17: Starting price for a Pink Soda dress