On Friday, February 28, designers and siblings Uri and Rebecca Minkoff landed in Seattle as part of their spring “road trip,” designed to personally introduce the Rebecca Minkoff Spring/Summer 2014 line as well as the new Ben Minkoff pieces for men. Downtown Nordstrom threw a stylish welcome with a live DJ, refreshments, a chance to have merchandise signed and an opportunity to snap, tweet, and Instagram with the pair.
Rebecca Minkoff was personable and looked fabulous wearing the floral Linda Dress from her ready-to-wear line under a cropped leather jacket and with a pair of cage booties from her collection. Uri Minkoff was on hand to chat about their grandfather Ben Minkoff, who was the ultimate hip, handsome gent in a fitted suit. I got a chance to hop the line and have a conversation with both Rebecca and Uri and chat about inspiration, what’s coming up for both the Rebecca Minkoff and Ben Minkoff lines, and the power of social media.
Siblings Rebecca Minkoff and Uri Minkoff, designer and CEO, respectively, have brought the brand from being a small company to an international success. It began in 2001, when Rebecca, with the help of Uri, created a small apparel line. The line took off after her friend, actress Jenna Elfman, wore one of her I Love New York t-shirts on the Tonight Show. By 2006 Minkoff was designing handbags, and her now iconic “Morning After Bag” (M.A.B.) and “Morning After Clutch” (M.A.C.) became favorites among the chic city girl. Because of the incredible popularity of their handbags, the Minkoffs chose to focus solely on accessories for a time, but have since expanded back into ready-to-wear as well, all the while adding shoes, more accessories and more fabulous handbags. Their accessories line for men, Ben Minkoff, honors their grandfather, and was launched during Holiday 2010.
Since the beginning, Uri and Rebecca Minkoff have embraced the power of social media and used it to reach their customers instantly. Pre-Twitter-Instagram-Vine-Facebook, Minkoff M.A.B. handbags featured in Daily Candy immediately sold out in stores everywhere. Understanding the ability to instantly reach millions of people and staying in touch with their customers through their own social media marketing has helped them keep in close touch with their customers and has greatly contributed to the success of their business. Rebecca Minkoff told me that because they were growing their business in a time when social media was becoming more and more prominent it was a “natural and organic process” in how she communicated with her customers. Her #RMRoadtrip for instance, gets the pair out in the stores connecting personally with their customers, and invites these customers to be a part of the experience, through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It’s a winning combination of old-fashioned personal connections and modern social media.
Spring/Summer 2014 has a happy vacation vibe that is is a step a step away from the more edgy urban look of the past. Floral appliqué, geometric cut-outs, red floral prints, a recurring bright yellow color, mesh cutouts and Mexican print tees celebrate being on holiday in the sun. The designer said she began her research by looking at strong Latin American women that became her inspiration for the collection. Together with inspiration from her own trip to Mexico, the festive Spring/Summer line was born. And have you ever wanted to know how handbags get their names? Rebecca Minkoff told me that it began with a theme about love and relationships, hence, the M.A.B. and the M.A.C. bags, together with the likes of Amorous, Cupid, Affair, and Knocked Up bags. After this topic was covered, they moved on to naming their next collection of bags with boys’ names, including the fringed Finn Clutch, the Perry Satchel, and the Julian Backpack.
Fall 2014 is a boy meets girl collection that takes classic menswear pieces and softens the silhouettes with feminine fabrics that are a playful twist on looks borrowed from the boys. Soft pastel pinks against oxblood and black, ivory, cobalt blue, metallic lamé, plaids, and pinstripes made up the urban chic look that was both lovely and edgy. Soft statement beanies, knee high grey boots and doubled up accessories, including small cross body bags worn with larger pieces and small quilted fanny packs added to the cool girl looks.
While chatting with Uri Minkoff he revealed that they are getting ready to expand the Ben Minkoff line from leather goods for travel and technology to include men’s ready-to-wear as well as footwear in Fall of 2015. That is exciting news for the Minkoff man, who Uri describes as combination of American preppy & Brooklyn hipster. The pieces have modern, clean silhouettes, and luxury designs that are fun with a “Tokyo meets Sweden” vibe. The use of personalizing through monogramming, pops of color, soft suede and leathers in a $20 to $500 price point mean more great stylish choices in the world of men’s clothing, shoes and accessories.
Having this stylish duo get out and connect personally with their dedicated fan base is a great opportunity on both sides. The designers themselves have a chance to personally engage with their customers and be able to connect with and expand their audience along the way. It is exciting for those who follow fashion and certain designers in particular to see this commitment and to be able follow the development of the brand in an up close and personal way. Staying in touch through interaction and social media keep the brand fresh and keep people excited about what is going on in the world of fashion and in the world of Rebecca Minkoff. It was a pleasure to see these beautiful products and the talented people behind them.