At a time when fashion is in a state of flux, we're looking to the industry's next generation of influencers as a guiding light. This New York Fashion Week, Refinery29's Future of American Fashion series is highlighting the designers, brands, and retailers we're betting on big. The future starts here.
When Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel launched Mansur Gavriel in 2013, they basically reinvented the It bag. Their minimal drawstring Flamma bucket bag, washed in black and tan, looked nothing like the logo-emblazoned or colorful mirrored crystal Fendi Baguette of the late-'90s. Not to mention, priced at nearly-$400, it was more than affordable — it was accessible, and there were epic waitlists to prove it; Bain & Co recently predicted that by 2025, millennials and Generation Z will account for 45% of the global personal luxury goods market, so it makes sense that something with the allure of a luxury item (without the $1,500+ price tag) would entice younger generations.
Mansur Gavriel bags were meant to bridge this gap: The designers launched their brand after dealing with the frustrating personal need of finding good value at a contemporary price point. Two short years later came shoes (sandals, mules, and heels in suede pastels and leather brights) with a similar sophistication. Now, they're finally launching clothes.
Unwilling To Make Mistakes
While it may seem like a tremendous amount of growth in four short years, the designers have emphasized a slow path forward — even if it doesn’t appear that way from the outside. “We started the brand with just the two of us working out of our apartments,” says Mansur, who met Gavriel at a Los Angeles XX concert in 2010. “We have always been ambitious in our vision for the brand, and we understood that to get to where we wanted to go patience was important — we didn’t want to make mistakes, sacrifice quality, or grow too quickly in terms of what we offered and therefore dilute our message. We are interested in building something long-term that becomes deeper and more meaningful over time.”
That their product is rarely ever marked down (as well as its bevy of wannabe competitors) speaks to the continual fervor surrounding the brand, which they hope to capitalize on with their upcoming clothing line. Like their shoes or dreamy Instagram feed, it allows them yet “another visual and tactile format to express our vision,” she says.
A Clear Identity
For the past two seasons, Mansur Gavriel has styled its shoes and bags on models in non-Mansur Gavriel clothing, though the vibrant red bell-shaped dresses and camel-colored coordinating top and pants provide hints about what their upcoming offerings will look like. “The ready-to-wear collection is a continuation of the concept of our brand: beautiful shapes and materials, a range of emotion expressed through texture and color,” says Gavriel. Still, the line-up appears to be grounded in a non-fussy, but still sophisticated way to dress: “We are always seeking that fine balance in which a product, while simple and easy to understand, also feels complex in its detail and shape — the material should feel rich and elevated, and the emotion both classic and modern,” Mansur adds.
The clothes will also be available immediately after the runway show on September 10, following the seemingly tricky see-now-buy-now model; the design duo only shows their collections two times a year, for fall and spring, rather than adding in pre-fall and resort. “We chose to switch to the see-now, buy-now model because we grew tired of showing and celebrating a collection that wouldn’t reach the community for six months,” Mansur says. “For us, it's more logical to present new products and a new story when the items are actually available.” This extends to the company’s big picture plan, Gavriel explains: “We are trying to develop a strategy that works for us, rather than conform to the industry conventions that may not be right for us.”