Saks Fifth Avenue hosts emerging designers

Saks Fifth Avenue (TSE:HBC) has been looking for emerging designers as part of its plan to attract younger shoppers and this week declared two winning labels.

Saks announced an open call for its first "Emerging Designers Showcase" in early March and receiving more than 300 responses. Designers were invited to pitch their portfolio and present their collection to buyers.

The entire process was concluded in just one month.

The team declared two winners: Vetta and Roberta Einer. Vetta is so new it had only launched the month prior to the contest, while Roberta Einer debuted in September, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Saks will carry the lines in stores and on its website. It also plans to work with each designer to grow the labels.

"We want to continue to be at the forefront of fashion by discovering new talent," said Tracy Margolies, Saks' chief merchant.

Finding and fostering new talent is a challenge for Saks and most retailers. From luxury department stores including Neiman Marcus and Barney's to big box mass merchants, the goal is to provide shoppers with something unique and fresh.

Walmart has been hosting Shark Tank-like pitching competitions for placement in its discount stores and Sam's Club membership clubs while Nordstrom has been hosting pop-up shops in stores and online showcasing new and emerging brands.

Saks has been tweaking its business model to better appeal to younger shoppers with growth of its Off Fifth Avenue stores and the addition of Gilt Groupe last year for $250 million.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article (tiered subscription)

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