Meet the online store giving a home to emerging labels

Aliceisback is stepping in.

When you’re a label starting out, times can be tough. It’s not easy promoting yourself in a saturated market, reaching the right consumer and building a client base.

But that’s where Aliceisback steps in.

It’s an e-commerce site that only deals with independent designers. The aim is to provide an easily-accessible platform for customers to find and support smaller labels.

To get a better idea of just how Aliceisback is helping emerging designers, we had a chat with founder Monica Lim and head of marketing Holly Chandra-Curry.

Tell us a little about the Aliceisback concept.

ML: Aliceisback is an e-commerce platform, which pulls together independent designers so we can attract a bigger customer base and really do some strong marketing.

There are plenty of customers who want to buy and support independent design, but these labels are often not easily accessible, particularly if they are still quite new and unknown. Aliceisback is trying to connect these designers to customers globally.

What is your background in the fashion industry?

ML: Holly studied fashion design, I studied arts/law. I was doing tax consulting and then took maternity leave when my kids were born. That was the impetus for me to quit and go into retail. I met Holly while running a few retail businesses. And then we started a womenswear label called Fame Agenda, which we still run today.

It was the challenges faced by Fame Agenda which really convinced us that we need a platform like Aliceisback. There are other online marketplaces, but they didn’t feel right to us – either because they had so many big label mass brands, or were at the wrong end of the market.

Why is it so important to support independent designers?

ML: At some stage, if we stop supporting the creative process, we’ll run out of all the amazing things that make life interesting and unique. It will be impossible for the creators to have a sustainable practice.

Fashion used to have this cycle where designers could invest in creating new trends, and then have a period to sell those trends to the fashion-forwards, then to the fashionables, before they went out of fashion. That cycle has been completely compressed by fast fashion, so it’s increasingly hard for independent designers to stay viable.

The fewer independent labels there are, the poorer our society will be.

What labels are you stocking?

HC: We represent independent womenswear, menswear, accessories and jewellery labels. Some of them are Arc & Bow, Articulers, Bare Bones, Correy & Lyon, Deon Dane, Dog&Boy, DS London, Edward Kwan, Elle Louise, Established Eyewear, Fame Agenda, Half Measures, Heiner Radau, Jin Ah Jo, Keegan, Khòlò, McIntyre Australia, Myrrh, RBCCA KSTR, The Only, X Nihilo and our made-to-order labels such as Autark, Kalaurie, Lauren Trojkovic, Mankhaseo and Mundame.

We’re also planning to do a lifestyle section in the near future and artist collaborations.

ML: The beauty about online is that we don’t need to ‘stock’ labels in the traditional sense. The labels keep their own stock and send out orders to the customers directly. That way, they don’t need a huge amount of inventory and can do preorders and made-to-order.

What do you look for when sourcing brands?

HC: We love stories. A brand that tells its story through beautiful designs usually grabs our eyes immediately. Quality is also important to us, because good design has to be supported by excellent quality.

How can labels get on board?

ML: Labels can register through our website or email us at [email protected].

When are you launching?

ML: We are doing a soft launch now, and will launch officially around February/March next year. We will also be pushing into overseas markets in 2018, so that we keep growing that global customer base – very important for Australian designers!

What do you think will be the key fashion and accessory trends for 2018?

HC: In 2018, I think there will be lots of colour! We can sense a comeback of the ’60s and maybe some dark denims for autumn too. For accessories, I think earrings are still going to be the hero pieces.


FJ readers score 20% off when they shop at Aliceisback until December 16, 2017. Use FJ20 at the checkout.

Photographer: Jesper Hede at Cubed Studio
Stylist and Creative Director: Jam Baylon
Hair and Makeup: Rob Povey using MAC Cosmetics and ELEVEN Australia
Models: Sian and Ben at Chadwick Models
Shot on location at Whitestreet House

This interview was originally published in Fashion Journal 174.

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