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Why buying a brand isn’t always enough

No matter how high or low rent a brand is, it’ll have a concept.

Sometimes - actually, scratch that - a lot of the time these concepts are nothing more than guff and hot air produced with the sole purpose of making something perfectly fine like ‘we make nice things because we think they’re nice’ sound more complicated and allegedly impressive. Aside from the fact that in most cases the ‘keep it simple, stupid’ maxim is a good one to follow, it doesn’t hide the fact that there are so many ideas, back-stories, histories and inspirations out there.

Last week I was in Amsterdam at the home of Stills, a beautiful womenswear brand with so much to say.

Everything at the label is carefully considered and every part of the experience is crafted, from the collection’s fabrics, colours and cuts to the peaceful, thought-provoking flagship store interior and even the collection co-ordinated snacks (see @Drapers_Magazine on Instagram).

On pulling away from the store and out of Stillsworld, I was left pondering how a predominantly wholesale brand like this gets what’s behind the brand in front of its customers. It’s all too easy for a label’s story to get lost in a multi-brand store as space and time limits mean this is the first thing to go when presenting a collection.

But making that extra effort is so important: when looking at a brand to stock, part of its essence is osmotically absorbed into buyers’ minds. It’s part of the reason it was bought, so why hide this from the view of the consumer?

Surely by presenting each brand’s story it’ll help the shopper navigate the plethora of labels with far more confidence, affinity and engagement than they would just a commodity on a rail. Letting customers into the brands’ worlds that buyers literally bought into can’t be that hard to do.

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