NEW YORK, United States — American designer Rachel Comey is placing a bet on Paris with her first foray into direct retail outside the US. The designer, who boasts a strong following among the New York and Los Angeles creative communities, will be open for business in the French capital’s Marais district from February 22 to March 18.
The space will be anchored by an installation created by Berlin-based artist Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili. Comey will also release a one-off zine with contributions from authors Zadie Smith and Sheila Heti.
Comey already operates two stores in the US: one in New York’s Soho neighbourhood that opened in 2014 and a Los Angeles location that opened on Melrose Place in 2016. The retail expansion helped fuel a period of speedy growth for the brand, which went from roughly $5.6 million in sales in 2013 to about $15 million in 2018.
The timing for Paris aligns with fashion week, as well as the extended period when designers set up showrooms and hold wholesale appointments for buyers.
“We’ve been [travelling to Paris to meet with buyers] for 10-plus years probably, but we’ve never connected with the local community,” Comey said.
For an independent American fashion brand, opening a new store in Europe, even temporarily, can be a sufficient marketing opportunity. International stockists make up a small percentage of the brand’s sales relative to the rest of the business, and Comey is looking to introduce the brand to more European consumers, who are a natural fit for the designer’s playful designs.
“It’s an experiment and an opportunity,” Comey said. “So we’ll see how it goes.”