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The Interview: Anine Bing

Lauretta Roberts
15 February 2022

Anine Bing is celebrating 10 years of her eponymous brand, which the former model set up from a garage in Silver Lake, Los Angeles in 2012. Fuelled by Bing's huge personal profile on social media and the wide appeal of her timeless, yet modern, and affordable luxury pieces, the brand is now a global success.

Spanning ready to wear, footwear, sportswear, accessories, lingerie jewellery and fragrance, the Anine Bing collection is available in 90 countries and 350 stores globally. To mark a decade in business the brand is expanding its 11-strong standalone store network with 10 new stores, including a second in London with a store on Sloane Square (due to open next month) adding to its existing Mayfair site.

Anine Bing speaks to about her journey so far and why 2022 is going to be a "huge year".

Congratulations on your ten-year milestone, when you set out a decade ago – with four products and two staff – did you imagine you would have a business of the scale of the one you have today? How does it feel?

It really means the world to me, I had no idea 10 years ago that we would be where we are today. I feel so grateful to not only have made it this far, but still feel just as passionate about the brand as I did when we started.. It fills me with so much joy to create and have such a loyal and growing customer base.

Can you take us back to where your career in fashion began (in modelling), you say you always wanted to work in fashion, why was that and how did you get that break?

My grandmother Elly introduced me to fashion at a young age. She had the greatest style and I looked up to her so much. Being with her and dressing up in her closet really sparked my interest from a young age. As I got older I knew I wanted to model and work in fashion. I started dreaming about modeling when I was 12. My friend's dad was a photographer and he took a few photos of me that I then brought into the local modeling agency at the age of 12. Nothing happened for the first few years, but when I was 14 I booked my first job and then I continued working/traveling the world for the next 8 years. That’s how I ended up in LA and one thing led to another. I am grateful for those years. It taught me to be independent, hard working. Goal oriented and so much more.

Was the plan, while you were modelling, always to set up your own label or did that idea come later?

It came after. I loved being on set and learning how to style looks. After a while I really developed my own sense of style. I really enjoyed pulling looks together from vintage shops and making pieces feel unique to my style.

When you established the brand, what was the gap you saw for it and what did you set out to achieve?

I saw a gap in the market for timeless wardrobe pieces, so I decided to create my own line. It all started in my garage in Silver Lake in 2012, I designed a small collection with two pairs of denim, a leather jacket, boots and t-shirts. It’s so surreal to see how far we’ve come in the past 10 years, I’m so proud of the global fashion house we’ve established.

Anine Bing

At what point did you realise you had a success on your hands?

When we opened our first store in LA, that was a huge moment for me and the brand. It was so surreal to see my designs in our own brick and mortar store.

What have been the achievements you are most proud of to date?

Our latest Nico Bag campaign launch was such a huge moment for the brand. It was the first time we activated Out of Home advertising, all across NYC. Alongside a global influencer campaign and intimate VIP dinner. It felt like a great stepping stone for what's to come in the future!

To mark 10 years, you have some exciting plans this year, including a significant expansion of your bricks and mortar store network, can you tell us about that and why physical retail remains so important?

Our freestanding stores serve as a place for us to showcase the ANINE BING lifestyle—they are crucial for brand building and also play a role in supporting our growing e-commerce business. The purpose of our retail stores is to offer our customers an immersive experience into our brand. We want our stores to feel like they're a reflection of all of the hard work we put into our pieces/ collections.

You are due to open another store in London, which is good to hear, can you give us some more detail about that please?

London is currently one of our top markets. We have an existing store in Mayfair that has been wildly successful since we opened several years ago. To open in Chelsea, and in particular Sloane Square, it’s a neighborhood where we see a lot of potential.

You’re also launching on TMALL, which is big move, can you tell us why you have chosen to do that?

We are seeing growing interest from the China market. Chinese consumers are seeking brands worldwide and products that are beautifully and thoughtfully made, timeless with exceptional quality, this is a perfect match with ANINE BING's brand philosophy. We are looking at the China market in a holistic, omnichannel approach, including e-commerce such as Tmall flagship store, as well as evaluating standalone retail stores. We already have selected wholesale partners in the market such as Net A Porter China. Launching Tmall is a natural step for us, we want to meet our customers where they are, and provide them with best-in-class products and services.

You now have a wide-ranging brand covering everything from outwear to denim, footwear, jewellery and fragrance, but you are looking to expand the range further still. Can you tell us what’s next?

This year we'll be launching a new category, our Resort collection. It felt like a natural next step for the brand. Right now it feels like the possibilities are endless, it's such an exciting time for the brand! Developing new categories takes so much time and effort so I can't make any promises as to what's in our future, but I think a home or beauty category would be amazing.

The brand doesn’t seem to engage too much with the traditional fashion calendar, it has its own rhythm, can you please explain your approach to product drops?

When launching a D2C brand, I knew I needed to take an innovative approach to be recognized and trusted as an authority in the marketplace. I knew that I needed to keep the consumer engaged, which is why I decided to focus on the "see now, buy now" model, which at the time, was breaking new ground in the fashion industry. We launch new pieces every week and regularly restock our Classics Collection, a curated assortment of timeless styles, including suiting separates, everyday layers, leather jackets and more that our customers keep coming back to us for. It feels like a more realistic and approachable way to shop.

You yourself are so central to the brand and you have a phenomenal social media following, how important has social media been to the development of your brand and how do you keep up with it? You seem to have a very personal relationship with your followers?

Social media has been such an instrumental tool in the success of the brand. We started the brand almost 10 years ago when Instagram was just starting to take off. I was able to build a customer base from social media, watching it grow has been a dream come true. I love interacting with customers on my personal IG when I can. Now we have an amazing social team that helps engage with our customers as well.

What advice would you give someone who was looking to set up a brand today? Have a clear vision and stick to it. Surround yourself with people that understand your vision. Be ready to roll your sleeves up and put in the work!

In a nutshell can you tell us what this year as in store? This year we'll be launching a new category, have exclusive collaborations, multiple new store openings to a new face who will appear in our campaigns starting in March. 2022 is a huge year for the brand!

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