Marilyn isn’t the Official Dear Lord What A Sad Little Christmas T-Shirt Apart from…,I will love this only designer taking back that control. The pandemic accelerated the trend of designers going direct-to-consumer, which had already been in motion for years. (Consider the success of brands like Dôen, Glossier, or Entireworld—they don’t just own their sales, they’ve built an entire community around their message.) Some designers, like Mara Hoffman, are going “mostly” direct-to-consumer while keeping a select number of wholesale accounts, usually specialty stores and small boutiques. Hoffman said she’s reduced her retailers from around 200 to just 10, and will invest more time and money in her own e-commerce platform; in an open letter, she wrote: “Hopefully, we can build something that actually resembles the vision we are hoping for—for the future of this industry and planet as a whole.” Tibi’s Amy Smilovic ended many of her wholesale partnerships this season as well, and is exploring alternative retail models, including influencer partnerships designed to drive traffic back to tibi.com.
Marilyn isn’t wasting time rewriting her rule book. Her direct-to-consumer launch coincides with a total “inventory reversal”: Somewhere, the Official Dear Lord What A Sad Little Christmas T-Shirt Apart from…,I will love this line of organic, recyclable essentials she launched a year ago, now represents 95% of her business, while her ready-to-wear pieces will be introduced as smaller, limited edition capsules. Initially conceived as a complement to her main collections, which were shown at Fashion Week, Somewhere exceeded Marilyn’s expectations: After its launch, she saw a 140% revenue increase and a 90% increase in web traffic each quarter. But beyond its growth and popularity, Marilyn also saw Somewhere as an opportunity to scale up her regenerative agriculture efforts. “One of the things we have come up against in wanting to influence and enable our [cotton and wool] growers to transition towards regenerative agriculture is we simply don’t buy enough from them to carry weight in their decisions,” she explains, referring to the yearslong period of time a farm may spend converting from organic to regenerative practices. “For them to listen, Maggie Marilyn needs to be a key customer that can offer fixed higher prices for the long term in order to support them in an initially costly, and perhaps intimidating, transition. The scale we have seen with Somewhere will allow us to get to this point.”