Vice President Women's Buyer, Scoop NYC
Scoop NYC, the iconic New York City boutique for men and women, brings to you a highly edited selection of the season's best fashion items from both internationally acclaimed and young emerging designers. The store is merchandised as the "Ultimate Closet" offering our style savvy customers the season's best fashion all under one roof. Our stylists serve as wardrobe builders, providing unrivaled personal customer service. Our shopping bags that change with the seasons have become coveted collectors' items. Scoop first opened in New York City in Soho in 1996. Since then, Scoop has opened additional New York City locations in the Upper East Side and in the Meat Packing District. Scoop can be found in East Hampton and Greenvale, Long Island, Greenwich, Connecticut, the Shore Club Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, Chicago, Illinois, Boston, Massachusetts, The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, Nevada, Atlantic City, New Jersey and Dallas, Texas.
Scoop NYC is an iconic boutique that spans from New York to all over the US. Heidi Hoelzer, the buyer for the women’s line, uses her excellent editing senses to select items that embody the times regardless of the brand’s fame or its nationality. She visited Japan during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2012-13 A/W on invitation from JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization). How did Heidi Hoelzer, who’s been part of fashion weeks in New York, Paris and around the world, see Fashion Week TOKYO?
How many times have you been to Japan?
Hoelzer：This is my first time not only in Japan but in Asia. I have been invited to Fashion Week in Paris and Brazil in the past where I was able to experience the cities and culture of each country, so I felt I was given a wonderful opportunity this time as well. As a profession, buyers always struggle with how far you can stretch your horizons, so I felt this visit to Japan would also be an opportunity to explore a new market.
Since this is your first time here, could you tell us what you thought about fashion in Japan?
Hoelzer：Before visiting, I had the impression that Japanese people really liked fashion and that there were many shops in Tokyo. I’ve heard designers from the US and many other countries say that they want to go to Tokyo to be inspired, so I thought that it was probably a really amazing city. When I actually walked the streets, I saw many different shops, how they communicated with customers, and street fashion of young people, and I thought it was just great.
Are there any places or shops that left an impression?
Hoelzer：My friend in New York who’s very familiar with Japan told me which places I should visit or what I should see, so I am exploring based on that information. Every day there are so many new encounters and so much to gain that it’s difficult to single out a particular area. Every time I go to a new place, I try to understand it more by thinking “Is it like Fifth Avenue in New York? Or is it like Madison Avenue?” I’m starting to understand a little, but I want to see much more.
Do you feel that there is a difference between fashion in New York and Tokyo?
Hoelzer：I feel that there are many shops in Tokyo that are conceptual and artistic and that follow a single theme or story. For example, Tokyo’s Opening Ceremony, which is also in New York, has eight floors and each floor has a theme. The registers on one floor are like a kitchen and that was very interesting. Also when you look at young people’s fashion, they seem to be making it their own without trying too hard, which I liked very much. It was also very new that there are different narratives set up like “Yama Girl”.
Do you have any favorite Japanese brand?
Hoelzer：I only knew brands like COMME des GARÇONS or ISSEY MIYAKE before, but I found this brand,L.G.B. in Paris and we now carry items from it at Scoop. I also visited muller of yoshiokubo‘s showroom in Japan, which was great.
What do you place importance on when buying for Scoop?
Hoelzer：I try to select the best of each category like T-shirts, sweaters, and jackets regardless of brand but keeping our concept of the “Ultimate Closet” in mind. At our shop, you can combine a $25 t-shirt with a $2000 jacket. Our main customers range between 25 and 35 of age, but we also have many teenagers visiting. I want to select items looking in the long term to provide the Ultimate Closet rather than being overly trend conscious or offering items that you can only wear for one season.
Scoop is not only in New York but also has shops nationwide in the US, right?
Hoelzer：Including our three locations in New York (SoHo, Upper East Side, Meat Packing), we have a total of 16 shops across the US such as in Chicago, Miami, Greenwich, Dallas and Las Vegas. We are going to open a new store in Los Angeles very soon as well. We change our selection based on the demographics and climate of the area, but we also try to have commonality as well. We want customers from New York who are vacationing in Miami to also visit Scoop there.
If you were to open a shop in Tokyo, what kind of selection would you offer?
Hoelzer：I think it’s important to understand the preferences of the customers, so I would first start by finding out if they want us to bring the same items from New York as is or if they want to see more Japanese designers in the mix. Based on that, I would think about it with consideration to differentiating with our competitors.
Were there any brands in the collection you saw this time that have left an impression?
Hoelzer：The runway is a place where each brand’s designer presents his/her ideas and provides inspiration to the viewer, right? But when you go to their showrooms afterwards, you’re able to see items that fill in parts that you couldn’t see from the show. So in that sense, it’s difficult to talk about a specific brand just based on their show, but all of them left an impression with their trendy items and amazing ideas in various aspects. It’s certain that each of them is a talented designer.
I know that you’ve been to fashion weeks around the world like New York and Paris. Are there any difference with those and Fashion Week TOKYO?
Hoelzer：I’ve only seen a few shows in Tokyo this time compared to how many I typically see during Fashion Week in New York or Paris, so I can only speak from that experience, but for example, in Paris, there is a joint exhibition where many brands come together in one venue, so it’s convenient from a buyer’s perspective because we don’t have to move around so much. Also in New York, there are opportunities where designers, buyers, and editors come together to communicate with one another and many networking parties, so it would be nice if there were more opportunities like that in Tokyo too.
Do you have any ideas of how to communicate information about Japanese fashion or Fashion Week TOKYO to an international audience?
Hoelzer：I think it would be beneficial if you could provide opportunities for international visitors to experience the city of Tokyo and the cultures of each area and not just the collections. That’s where talk spreads and reaches overseas. Also, as I mentioned before, Scoop carries L.G.B. items which are gradually spreading now, so at times, one brand may become a starting point for Japanese fashion and brands to penetrate the market. In order to create more of those opportunities, I think it’s important to also go to New York and Paris to build a foundation and not just invite people to Tokyo.