Anine Bing, a lean silhouette of legs anchored by glittering ruby groupie boots and tousled blonde locks on top, is fervently pulling out items from her newly opened Mayfair store, in London, and rattling off the lengthy list of pieces that are behind her blogger-to-real-life-brand success.
Anine Bing at her store in London. Photo: Courtesy of PR.
“Blazers,” she yanks one out. “Throw it on with anything. Boots are amazing for us.” Leather jackets, too, of that downtime model ilk, are also right up there. So is the lingerie, lovely little lace bralettes, and essentially anything that the likes of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid have been spotted wearing. And you’ll find that on many occasion they have.
It’s safe to say that Bing has built her empire on being social. One of the original influencers, she realised early on that selling her style made for a profitable business idea and even foresaw launching with the see-now-buy-now model that for the past couple of years has so been hitting our fashion headlines. Time flies. And Bing’s success has spiralled since 2012.
“It’s funny because I was sitting in the coffee shop with my husband and we saw a couple of women walking past us with the [Anine Bing] bags and he said ‘Did you ever imagine this would happen?’” recalls Bing, wearing a lumberjack-style jacket, white T-shirt, and skinny jeans to go with her rock ‘n’ roll boots. “I had no idea I was going to have stores in the greatest cities in the world.” She has them in New York, LA, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona. “When we started seven years ago, it was just this little web shop from my garage in LA. I’m living my dream!”
Anine Bing. Photos: Courtesy of PR.
The London store makes it 10 so far, with another five to seven planned next year. Where other retailers are struggling to stay afloat, Bing seems to be getting it just right. Certainly, her 631k personal Instagram followers and 91.8k official Instagram followers seem to think so.
“It’s about building a community and loyal customers. Staying true to yourself and not panicking. Find what your niche is. The modern woman is so busy that it’s important to make it easy for them. So most of the pieces I design go together and you can mix and match. When I packed my case to come to London I didn’t have to think too much about it,” she says.
The key, she explains, is to not have too many pieces in your wardrobe. “Just the good ones!” To this end, she clears out her wardrobe every month and only leaves hanging what she loves.
And within the collections themselves, styles and shapes don’t wander all that much. So if you like one of the brand’s oversized jumpers or slit skirts, you won’t need to fret about missing them. Though regular weekly drops, in much the same way as has become de rigueur in retail recently, means that there will always be something new to tempt you as well.
“I think we saw early on the see-now-buy-now approach before a lot of brands; and through social media using Instagram to build an audience and a true community,” she says, noting that the expansion of the brand enables her to get a little of her own personal life back. “People are knowing the brand and not me which is cool.” Hence the addition of the official Anine Bing retail account – which is currently the smaller of the two. “Now it stands up for itself and gives me a little more space so I’m not having to be in the front all of the time.” Which, of course, is the only problem if you are the brand.
“I remember, ever since I was a little girl, I loved looking through my grandmother’s closet and jewellery and I had a sense of fashion always. I always bought vintage and was good with clothes, had my own sense of style but I just couldn’t imagine this would happen.”
Anine Bing. Photos: Courtesy of PR.
But it just takes one good idea. “A lot of people come in and can find something they like and feel themselves in,” she points out. The clothes, after all, are not the intimidating kind and the word “effortless” is a constantly in-use descriptor for the brand. Trend-driven pieces that have a grasp of reality.
“Effortless, rock ‘n’ roll and classic,” Bing sums up. The rock part is all in the boots and the band-style T-shirts. And likely the fact that Bing was once in a band herself. Another way to describe it all would be Danish (she is) by way of LA (where she lives) and modern life (we all like to look good but all find ourselves rather time-poor).