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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wildfang Lives

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The first wave of invites to people who'd signed up first on Wildfang's site—a new Portland-based e-commerce site dedicated to the "tomboy" look—came out on Friday. As someone who is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack, and anxious for the unveiling of a shop that has been the recipient of a remarkable amount of hype, I have been going back to check daily for the launched site. And while my invite must have gotten lost in the mail (ahem), lo and behold this morning my email address unlocked the site.

Wildfang warrants a little extra attention because they've stormed the retail scene with guns blazing and eyes on the prize. Founded by a coterie of former Nike employees and enough resourcing to enlist over 20 people in various forms of employment, this is a smart, careful, and formidably savvy crew out to become a major player—in my interview with them they made comparisons between themselves and Urban Outfitters more than once. If and when they get there, assumed they remain in Portland, as they've stated they want to, this could well be where your future teenager jocks her first reg.

WF_homepage_copy1-copy.jpg
  • Wildfang

Yeah yeah, but what about the goods. For their first time out, the selection is relatively small: Fewer than 25 options for tops, less than 10 pairs of pants, and 11 pairs of shoes. I expect that will certainly change as they grow, along with a lower proportion of vintage items compared to new. One of the things that piques my curiosity about Wildfang's approach is that they are more or less doing away with the convention of keeping a relatively steady price point. Instead they are betting that customers will seek them out primarily for their aesthetic, shopping within its range of pricing.

I personally think that's a more interesting way to shop casually, and more reflective of the ubiquitous high/low combinations that people actually wear, though maybe a disadvantage at those times when you are shopping for something specific and have an idea of what you want to spend. Is the internet big enough for both styles? Especially considering the growing number of search aggregates, I think that's a resounding yes.

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