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Debra Langley

The chief executive and founder of etailer Inverted Edge talks to emily norval about her passion for fostering international talent.

How would you describe Inverted Edge?

Our focus is to offer a curated collection of work from some of the best ready-to-wear designers in Asia Pacific to an international audience. We also provide designers with the opportunity to showcase their talent. Each designer can post directly to their own ‘inspiration wall’ and we leverage that content via social platforms. At the same time, we use original created mini video clips and images to supplement the designers’ assets.

Where did the idea stem from?

Consumer demand is changing the nature of retail as increasing numbers of people get online and look for stores that are more specialised. This creates an opportunity for etail ventures like Inverted Edge that offer a distinct positioning. On the supply side, over the past eight years we’ve seen a wave of Asian designers who are gaining global recognition. It’s possible for designers from this region to make it on an international stage, without having to move locations.

Which markets do you serve?

The site just launched in March and we sell globally to customers anywhere in English-speaking countries.

What is the aim for the UK launch?

We’d love to raise the profile of our designers in the UK - especially since many of them are Central Saint Martins graduates. In the longer term, we will be looking to tie up with industry trade associations or other businesses.

What do you look for in new designers?

We look for designers who have a global perspective and an appetite to sell across borders. We define them as “global citizen” designers, for example individuals who have exposed themselves - through education, jobs, travel - to a multitude of influences, and their work reflects that. But a global citizen designer also remains firmly grounded in their own country and culture.

How do you source new designers?

We use referrals from our own networks including designers who suggest other brands they admire. Our connections with trade associations have helped us to identify new designers as well.

How do you ensure that designers’ work is showcased as well as it can be online?

The experience of shopping has a feelgood factor. We are recreating a shopping experience by including more editorial areas and functionality on the site. One of our biggest concerns is giving customers assurance about sizes, so we have aligned all of our designers’ sizes against US sizing.

What do you like best about working for Inverted Edge?

It’s hard to pick, because I love every part of it: from identifying designers, creating exclusive capsules and limited editions, to using technology to turn ideas into an online experience.

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