It seems that every day a new fashion e-commerce start-up is popping up. Every day somebody is trying to give us a "curated" online shopping experience, something that is "edited" or "carefully selected" because we the sheep-like customer need to be spoon-fed by the "taste-making" powers that be. Note the quotation marks cradling these oft-used buzzwords. I'm probably in the minority but I personally don't need an online shopping editor fairy godmother to guide me through my day-to-day e-shop browsing. I'm very much someone who likes to dig into a seemingly insurmountable pile of product, wading through to try and uncover a gem, hence why eBay, Yoox and Etsy are a few of my favourite destinations.
However, I do appreciate an unconventional brand selection, one that stands out from the norm and that applies to both online and bricks and mortar stores. Avenue 32 has finally come good for me and rather than cherry picking from the site, I've found that pretty much all of it is right up my strasse. I say 'finally' only because Avenue 32, the relatively new e-shop founded by Roberta Benteler and ex-Browns buyer Erin Mullaney, did already launch a few months ago and in all honesty, it was slim pickings when it went live. I am also an annoyingly impatient sort that clicks through a site, passing judgement in about two nanoseconds. A few months down the road though and Avenue 32 is stocking some of my favourite young designers in addition to picking out pieces from established designers. I really respect Mullaney as a buyer and she's one of my favourite person to quiz during fashion week about what she's seen that she likes so I knew I'd be sucked into Avenue 32 eventually. The premise is that the site offers designers their own designated online shop front, something that isn't so relevant for say a well-stocked designer like 3.1 Phillip Lim or Preen but is useful for younger designers like Eudon Choi, Yasmin Kianfar and Calla. Every designer also gets a little Insider page, an little image-based summary of what the designer is influenced by or what their aesthetic is about. Mulleany and Benteler have also gone out of their way to secure exclusives for the site as well as statement pieces from the collection, which distinguishes Avenue 32 from its competitors. Statement pieces or not, it's good to see designers like Boudicca, Giles and Tim Ryan represented on the site, incidentally none of which are on Net-a-Porter, the big daddy barometer to measure against in online fashion etailing. They've also got a pleasingly hefty selection of Mother of Pearl and Chalayan, in comparison to other stockists online.
I know there's a lot of product here and I'm never sure it's very smart to do the "Hey isn't all this product that you guys can't afford in these tough times, absolutely AMAAAAAAZING?", but seeing as I was going through a Nancy Honey moment, I couldn't help but pit her Woman to Woman series of photographs against what Avenue 32 has to offer in not just one collage but nine. I must really like the site if I dawdled about on Photoshop for two hour, right?
Tim Soar cropped airtex waistcoat £535, Thakoon Addition seamed trouser £285, Tim Soar dogtooth culottes £480, Joseph glen checked skirt £395, Lizzy Disney small leather cuff £120, Aperlai snakeskin loafers £370
Paper London multicoloured Intarsia Cape £225, Palmer // Harding sleeveless waist shirt £330, Mother of Pearl speckled shirt £310, Mother of Pearl mint pencil skirt £355, Manuela Dack beaded stingray belt £190
Thakoon Addition t-shirt layered print blouse £290, Tim Ryan fringed maxi skirt £1360, Vilshenko ivory Russian blouse £405, Sara Battaglia orange mochila bag £570, Roksanda Ilincic orange and tan swimsuit £315
Preen white pixel lace blouse £700, Peter Som china blue floral dress £665, Chalayan embroidered black bolero jacket £2265, Peter Som floral black trousers £485, Hermione de Paula t-shirt £140, Chalayan black frame scarf dress £2265