Australian fashion label Tigerlily has embarked on a new brand direction ahead of its 20th anniversary in 2020.
The business began the rebrand with a complete wipe of its Instagram account, deleting more than 4,300 images and the Tigerlily logo.
Following the mass-deletion, the brand began a nine-day countdown on Instagram to reveal its new direction and logo which went live today.
Alongside its new direction, the brand has also appointed former womenswear designer at Zimmermann Lesleigh Jermanus as head designer.
Speaking to Ragtrader, Tigerlily CEO Chris Buchanan details the new direction for the brand as well as what it has learned in its 20 years of business.
You began the rebrand with a wipe of the brand’s Instagram account. Why was this the first step?
For us the rebranding is more than just updating the wordmark and what we’re doing is incredibly ambitious.
So equally, it commanded an ambitious launch. Since deleting our account, our account has been averaging 200,000 views per day over the course of the nine-day countdown.
So that’s nearly a 10x increase in the average views to our account.
In particular with the launch we wanted to do a nine-day countdown where the nine days represent one letter – there’s nine letters in the logo – so one letter each day and to also take the customers on the journey.
It was a 12 month journey and to do it we actually undertook a significant brand audit.
We reviewed every campaign and every collection we had designed and delivered over 20 years and by immersing ourselves in our heritage it actually informed an update to our brand values, mission and product assortment.
So it’s a lot more comprehensive than a wordmark update and for that reason we felt that we had the obligation to our customers to take them on that journey.
What were you looking for and what did you learn when conducting that brand audit?
I think the biggest thing that came out of it was that 15 years ago we became a clothing brand. But no one noticed and everyone continued to think that we only sell bikinis after 20 years.
So after travelling with our customers for 20 years we’ve learned that she’s optimistic, she’s adventurous, fun and playful and in an era when experience matters most we have taken that understanding to better inform our product mix.
In particular, our customer doesn’t come to Tigerlily to discover a dress, she comes to Tigerlily to take it away with her on her holiday and her adventure.
This idea of customers coming to take a piece away with them on holidays to make memories really underpins our new values and mission.
Can you detail the brand’s new direction?
Firstly, our mission is to inspire a sense of freedom and we have three values moving forward which are: optimistic, adventurous and ethical.
I’ll [tell you about] ethical because that has really underpinned the major changes from a product point of view.
So if we go back just one year ago, everything was under $200, everything was made of viscose and everything was dry-clean only.
I don’t know about you but I have a significant problem with that and you can’t claim to be sustainable if you are delivering product like that to the market.
So we’ve now moved entirely away from synthetics and viscose towards natural fibres – cottons, linens and linings – and we’ve also reduced our reliance on air freight which is 26x worse than sea freight.
Importantly we’re also having serious conversations with our retail partners to ensure that they place their wholesale orders on time or within seven days of viewing a collection.
So a retail partner can’t claim to have a commitment to sustainability if they delay orders, forcing [us] to fly merchandise in from China or India.
This is becoming an important focus for us over 12 months: how do we strengthen our sustainability credentials? How do we move towards and celebrate a slow approach to fashion?
What has the reaction been from retailers?
I think we’re probably one of the first and only ones to be insisting on speedy order placement, but they understand the logic and understand that we’re in a circular industry, we all must work together.
Furthermore, we are seeing more retail partners support us in this area – especially over the last season – we were able to close out our wholesale book in the fastest time than we have in the past 12 months.
At the end of the day if everyone wants to place their orders on time we can ship everything by sea. A lot of people are ignorant to the fact that air freight is 26x [worse] – releases more pollution in the environment – than sea freight.
A simple step of submitting an order on time can have a profound impact on the industry.
What else can you tell me about the rebrand?
For us a big part of this rebrand was to launch into global markets and we’ve had an incredible response to our pre-fall collection in those international markets.
Leading up to that we were able to secure some major partners including Felabella – which is the largest department store chain in South America – Shopbop, Selfridges and Bloomingdales Dubai.
They’re responding incredibly well to the more elevated product, so moving forward we’ll be delivering two collections each quarter – one will be a ready-to-wear collection and one will be a holiday edit.
These collections offer a new perception of what it means to be sophisticated, yet fun and playful.
I think we can all agree that Tigerlily has a very unique handwriting and Lesleigh’s taken that heritage very well.
Can you further describe Lesleigh’s influence on the brand?
Lesleigh’s only been with us a short time but what I’ve seen is that she’s a remarkable talent who has a unique ability to simplify complex design into effortless ready-to-wear pieces.
Her approach to design and the manner in which she champions artisanal tradition is something that plays into our approach to ethical design and development.
That will start to become evident from our pre-fall collection but that doesn’t arrive in store until April next year.
This again plays into our slow approach to fashion. We design nine to 12 months in advance.
So Lesleigh’s full debut collection which will be fall, will be in stores in July next year.
Tigerlily will celebrate 20 years in business in 2020 – what has the business learned and how has it changed during that time?
All brands, markets and consumer tastes are ever-evolving. We’re moving now into the Millennial era where in 2022, 50% of all customers will be Millennials.
They are the most informed generation ever and their tastes and priorities are significantly different.
For us we wanted to align our values with their approach to authenticity, which was really where we started this journey and the wordmark update was just the final piece of that puzzle.
What we’ve learnt along the way is that we can always do better – we’re not perfect in any way – but we strive every day to improve our sustainability credentials, to design better product and better merchandise to fit into people’s lifestyles.
The world has enough dresses, which is why we strive to be unique and preserve these traditional artisanal approaches.
Everything that we do is bespoke, every print that we design is hand-drawn by our in-house textile team, every dress we do is hand-cut by our in-house pattern making team, we are really operating like a fashion house in delivering a unique mix of product to a global traveller.
What’s on the cards for Tigerlily in the next five years?
For us we really believe that Tigerlily has the potential to become a global brand.
In five years, if not sooner we hope that we’re generating 50% of our revenue from export markets.
We believe that that is more than achievable based on the feedback that we’re getting from global retailers in our showrooms in New York, Paris and London.
One of the other areas that we’re also excelling in is recycled swim.
Last year 69% of all of our swim was made from Econyl. Econyl is an incredible fabrication that takes waste and turns it into nylon.
That technology and fabrication was only developed in 2011. We started a partnership with them in 2014 and brought the first commercial range to market in 2015, that is only four years ago.
Fast-forward to 2019 and 69% of our collection is recycled.
In the next 12 months our target is to get to 100%.
We also went one step further; not only is the outer shell of our bikini using recycled nylon but we’ve also developed our own recycled lining so that both the inner and the outer components are recycled, which is something that we’re incredibly proud of.