April 30, 2018
by Emily Farra
Oliver Corral and Bessie Afnaim Corral are rule breakers. Launched just over a year ago, their label (or “love child”), Arjé, functions on a singularly fresh retail strategy: It’s rooted in the see-now-buy-now model, but everything’s in fast-forward. By cutting out the expensive sample development phase, the Corrals can design and produce full collections based on intuition and decades of industry know-how, condensing the full cycle (from sketch to production to profit) down to just a few months—not a year and a half like traditional brands. Sure, it’s savvy business-wise, but it also brings a sense of excitement and impulse back to shopping—which was the entire point of the see-now-buy-now craze in the first place. Just after the launch, Arjé picked up retailers like MatchesFashion.com, A’maree’s, and Selfridges (a particularly unique partnership—but more on that shortly), and within a couple of months, the Corrals had opened a wildly successful “summer home,” or pop-up, in Manhattan’s Nolita. A temporary space in the Meatpacking District followed, and last week, they opened their latest shop on Wooster Street in west Soho. Clearly, the traditional laws of retail, like waiting a year before opening your first store or signing an exclusive with a wholesaler, simply don’t apply to them.