(Filed Under wholesale Hosiery News). BODY associate publisher Ted Vayos asked designer Erica M. about her new hosiery company in this exclusive interview.
VAYOS: Where is Erica M. based?
ERICA: The Erica M. design office is based in New York, specifically in Bushwick Brooklyn. All of our products are manufactured in Italy. We feel the dichotomy of gritty Bushwick where so much avant-garde talent is being cultivated with the sophistication and high quality found in Italy make an exciting source of inspiration for unique products.
VAYOS: Who handles the distribution here is the U.S.A.? Who do U.S. retailers contact to order?
ERICA: We handle our U.S. distribution in-house and so far we have been thankful to have retailers contact us directly. Most have found out about us through word of mouth so the relationships we have with our current retailers have formed very organically. They understand my vision and we have built great partnerships as a result.
VAYOS: Can you names a few retailers who carry the line?
ERICA: My products are available for sale on our website EricaM.net. We have also partnered with ClassicShapewear.com who will have our products for sale by May 2014. We are available on the UK-based web store Memeshop.com, Petit Bisous boutique in the Chelsea area of London, as well as Noway boutiques in Zurich Switzerland.
VAYOS: Tell me about your sources of inspiration?
ERICA: I receive inspiration from the endless variety of sources you come across day to day. I feel a great idea is a puzzle that is completed when you least expect it. The puzzle pieces are a culmination of what influences you subliminally and non subliminally. Living a fun and fulfilling life is essential to my creativity along with my wellbeing. You just pick up ideas along the way.
VAYOS: What is your background?
ERICA: I designed footwear for a licensing company that designed footwear for various brands. I had the opportunity to design just about every kind of shoe from performance footwear to women’s heels. I traveled to different parts of Asia quite a bit and purchased tons of funky avant-garde tights in Japan and Hong Kong. Back in New York, I went on a date and wore my favorite pair of tights I got from my travels. When I got out of the car I snagged my tights on a tree branch. After the mediocre date was over, I found myself most upset about my tights. I immediately went online to find a replacement and discovered the lack of variety for interesting tights that appealed to me, so I immediately started sketching what I thought was missing in the marketplace and came up with my first collection. I focused on the upper region of the tights because I felt that was the last area other brands considered. I also tried to infuse as much sex appeal while still being sophisticated, hence Erica M. began.
VAYOS: What was the launch date for the collection?
ERICA: I launched Erica M. in April 2012 and have been blown away by how fast our brand has grown in such a short amount of time. I was shocked to see how the word about Erica M. spread via social media, editorials, and especially word of mouth. It was amazing to see and experience. One day a friend called and said she saw Anne Hathaway preform Cabaret songs at Joe’s Pub in our ‘Vivian’ style and I was stunned. It makes me want to work harder to be pleasantly surprised like that as often as possible.
VAYOS: What trade shows have you been doing?
ERICA: We showed our AW12-13 collection at Salon International De La Lingerie in Paris last January. The attendees truly appreciated the fantasy of well-crafted and well-presented lingerie and I was happy to get approval from such sophisticated onlookers. We have gotten requests to be a part of upcoming shows on a large and small scale as well.
VAYOS: What is the retail price point for the line? I see the four styles on the web site. But what about price points for other styles on the web site? Bodywear?
ERICA: Erica M. products range from $45 to $55 retail. That price range is for all products on the site and for the upcoming ‘Hedon’ collection.
VAYOS: I see Classics and Hedon collection on the website. Can you describe the differences?
ERICA: The inspiration behind the Classics Collection stems from the redefined femininity of the Roaring ‘20s. This time period introduced society to an innovative, provocative woman, and was intrinsic in revolutionizing women’s fashion. The Erica M. Classic Collection has not only taken its cue from the fashion of this decade, but also from the architectural components of the time period. I designed the collection as if the Erica M. woman took her inspiration directly from her lavish surroundings and expressed them onto her legs. Rather than depicting traditional floral and lace patterns, the design motif consists of rich, lustrous bows, ribbons, tassels and feathers. The idea behind the Hedon Collection stemmed from my own personal interest in religious iconography. It is not a new concept, but can be updated and explored when experimenting with different mediums. The intricate weave of my hosiery provided a good canvas for this exploration. I imagined that if there were a hedonist institution, these styles would be part of each devotee’s uniform. We also updated our best sellers Nadia and Genevieve from our Classic Collection in our new color Shadow for AW13.
VAYOS: What’s next? Will there be other categories? Is there a shapewear component?
ERICA: We are more focused on drawing the customer into our ‘world’ and aesthetic little by little. We are so dedicated to telling a story with each piece and focus on enticing the customer into each story slowly and seductively. This way, it breathes life into each product giving each one that much more depth and sophistication.
VAYOS: Let me know any other information about the line.
ERICA: The DNA of Erica M. is to equip women with their own sexy secret that they can show at their discretion. The seductive detailing hidden underneath the wearer’s clothing is empowering and aids in increasing the wearer’s sex appeal. The patterns are strategically placed so every voyeur is summoned to take a closer look, of course… if you want them to.
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