When it comes to luxury shopping online, there are a few go-to ports of call: Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion, Farfetch... A little over five years ago, two sisters entered the e-comm fray with a platform that mixes emerging designers from around the world with some of the industry's most established brands. Avenue32 was founded by German-born Roberta Benteler and her sister Maya. At the time, Roberta was 26 and working in finance: She was a fashion enthusiast, though, and grew more and more frustrated by how difficult it was to buy then-young labels like Christopher Kane and Erdem, both online and IRL. Eventually, that nuisance inspired her to set up her own U.K.-based retail site to champion these lesser-known brands and make their designs more readily available to shoppers everywhere.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Avenue32 has grown immensely, not only because an expanded team (including fashion director Stephen Ayres, who joined from Liberty London in 2015) but also because of an engaging social media strategy which includes high-profile collaborations with fashion influencers. It certainly doesn't hurt that co-founder Roberta has quickly become an Instagram style star herself, regularly captured during Fashion Weeks mixing Céline, Balenciaga, and Gucci with Y/Project, Vetements and Louis Vuitton. It's a reflection of the mix found within Avenue32's stock — and, hey, what better billboard for the retailer's massive selection of designer goods than its founder's always-on-point street style?
We sat down with Benteler at Avenue32 HQ to discuss building the brand from scratch, discovering new designers, and what it's actually like to be a street style regular.