MATCHESFASHION.COM Womenswear Buying Director, NATALIE KINGHAM

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Please tell us about the launching story of MATCHESFASHION.COM.
Executive co-chairmen Tom and Ruth Chapman opened their first two MATCHESFASHION.COM off-line stores in Wimbledon, London 28 years ago. Since then, the company has grown into a global luxury shopping destination for men and women with over 400 established and emerging designers. We provide the best possible service and seamless customer experience, our clients can shop with us physically in our London stores, at our private shopping townhouse No.23, or digitally online.

What are the brands available at MATCHESFASHION.COM?
From fashion houses Saint Laurent, Loewe, Valentino and Gucci to new and emerging designers such as Marques Almeida, Marco Di Vincenzo, Ellery. We were delighted to add Vetements to our roster of designers from SS15. Probably one of my favourite brands right now, the AW15 collection is performing incredibly well for us. Another new brand we were thrilled to launch with for AW15 was Hillier Bartley. They epitomise cool British women, always seeming to know exactly what people want to buy and wear, so does MATCHESFASHION.COM.

What are the exclusive brands for MATCHESFASHION.COM?
We work closely with all of our brand partners to create exclusive products for making our client offered something new and interesting like our recent collaboration with Golden Goose Deluxe Brand. The bestselling superstar trainers has been embellished with three colourways of crystal for this limited edition collection! We are also incredibly excited to be launching womenswear with British designer Grace Wales Bonner for SS16. Though her collections were originally intended as menswear, we felt that her vision would be compelling for women. We have our in house label Raey, which launched exclusively on MATCHESFASHION.COM for SS16. Designed by an in-house team led by Creative Director Rachael Proud, the collection is rooted to a modern and minimal aesthetic.

Based on what criteria do you choose the brands and buy specific items?
In my opinion, the most important thing for a buyer to remember is to buy with a strong point of view and belief. The customer’s lifestyle has changed, women are on the move a lot more and multi-tasking but still wants to enjoy life. It’s important to always think about what the customer wants to wear and how it will enhance her life.

There are many global e-commerce stores and what makes MATCHESFASHION.COM special and different from others?
The most important thing is our curated edit, we are offering great product that is not readily available elsewhere. Service is also key and we continue to listen to our clients to ensure that we are providing them with the best possible service.
At the same time we focus on technology as well because 70% of sales are now online with one third of transactions now coming from iPad sales, it becomes less about which channel our customer is choosing and more about merging the physical and digital platform into each other.

And there’s the private shopping service?
Our central London Private Shopping townhouse, No.23 launched in 2011, it is housed over three floors where our expert private shopping team create a bespoke experience for each client. They can serve lunch and drinks, have a tailor present to alter things on the spot, or even can invite a designer to meet the client. VIP clients are offered a service that will often develop into a very lasting and genuine relationship with the private shopping team on a one on one basis.

Why are you preparing a market entry into Korea?
Korean is an increasingly important market for MATCHESFASHION.COM and is growing fast. It is currently our 3rd largest market.

How did you like Seoul Fashion Week?
I was so much delighted to have the opportunity to attend Seoul Fashion Week! It was exciting to see first-hand the next generation of emerging talents. I think there is a huge amount of design potential in this market but I would highlight two brands right now as ones to watch are Soulpot Studio and Low Classic. I found it so valuable coming into market as it helps to develop a greater understanding of our local client and how we can better serve them.

What was your impression on the Korean Fashionistas?
We love Nayoung Kim’s style! We feel the way she dresses and mixes brands is very MATCHESFASHION.COM. One of the first things I notice is how big street style is in Seoul regardless of age or sex, especially the younger generation is really driving fashion and their look is just super cool.

Do you have any special projects coming up?
We are always progressing variety of projects from collaborations with designers to pop-up stores. One challenge we face is how we can bring the intimate events that we hold both in London, at our private shopping townhouse, and internationally to life on a global scale. The launch of our digital trunk show initiative is the first step - we will replicate our physical events online through video, interactive chat. The first in this series will be with Jonathan Saunders and his SS16 collection which will launch in February.

Finally please recommend the must-have items for winter and as gift?
I recommend the Saint Laurent cape, Balenciaga shoes, Chloé’ wide leg trousers, Jil Sander View Bag, Marques Almeida brocade dress and there are lots more to find online of course. 

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This article has been featured on <Vogue> Korea's December issue.