Net-A-Porter's offshoot THE OUTNET would have just been another shopping site in the midst of dozens others if not for one fundamentally different fact: like Net-A-Porter, THE OUTNET offers designer togs and luxury items, but unlike its sister company, items at THE OUTNET go at dramatically discounted prices. Even better news for the savvy shopper: there is no time limit on the sale prices of the products, and these brands -- ranging from runway favourites like Balmain and Dolce & Gabbana, to cutting-edge labels such as Peter Pilotto and Jonathan Saunders -- are presented in editorial spreads to help along with the buying process.
"Throughout the year we offer amazing discounts of up to 75% off the original retail price," explains THE OUTNET's director Stephanie Phair. "Our edit of clothing and accessories, along with our editorial point of view, is what sets us apart. In the ‘Dress Me’ section of the site, we show our customers how to wear designer pieces with helpful tips in our videos and photo-shoots."
Under her watchful eye, THE OUTNET has grown its customer base to over a million unique visitors each month in 170 countries. And it's not just the bargain shoppers that are flocking to THE OUTNET to score the best buy. For the most part, a typical customer has the means to pay full price for luxury fashion, but shops at THE OUTNET anyway because of a love of "great designer fashion and great value".
"[The core customer] shops across a range of online luxury fashion retailers, mixing and matching designers and pairing current season items with previous season or vintage designs," Phair elaborates. The self-proclaimed "dedicated discount shopper" herself landed the job at the company after meeting with Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet, dressed in a "sample sale" outfit. We take the chance to chat with her on -- what else -- the finer points of bargain shopping, her fashion philosophies, and splurge-worthy items.
The upcoming collection at THE OUTNET, created in collaboration with Oscar de la Renta, will feature an exclusive selection of 23 ready-to-wear styles referencing classic silhouettes and iconic fabrics from the designer.
LifestyleAsia (LSA): We read that your outfit was one of the reasons you were hired for the job during your interview with Net-A-Porter's Natalie Massenet. Tell us more about what happened.
Stephanie Phair (SP): Natalie Massenet asked me what I was wearing in my job interview – my skirt was Sonia Rykiel from Loehmann’s and my Dolce & Gabbana shoes were from a sample sale. I am a dedicated discount shopper who loves to mix and match brands, just like THE OUTNET’s customer. I think that helped to seal the deal.
LSA: What are some of your fashion philosophies you live by?
SP: Keep it simple. I love designers such as Roland Mouret, Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham who use fantastic tailoring and construct to make an outfit look beautiful.
LSA: What's the one fashion item that every girl should have?
SP: I find that a tailored blazer pulls any outfit together – it’s my fashion ‘must’. You can wear a blazer with anything and it will instantly smarten up your look.
LSA: What's the best fashion bargain you've ever found?
SP: A Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress at THE OUTNET, reduced by 70%. Staff have to wait one week before they are allowed to shop new items so that our customers have the best choice – I was surprised it was still available!
LSA: What's the one thing that you would splurge on?
SP: A stand-out piece, such as a gown. It’s often the thing that you can never find when you need one, so my advice is to buy it when you see it! Chosen wisely, this is a something you can wear again and again for special occasions without it losing its luster.
LSA: What's coming up next for THE OUTNET?
SP: Mobile technology is a key focus for us this year, as 25% of our customers shop from their mobile phones and 20% shop from their iPads. Items sell out fast on our site, so THE OUTNET’s app and mobile-optimized site enable our customers to shop anytime, anywhere.
More designer collaborations and exclusive collections are set to take place. The first partnership confirmed for this year is Oscar de la Renta for THE OUTNET. It’s the first time Oscar de la Renta has collaborated in this way. The limited edition 23-piece collection references classic silhouettes and iconic fabrics from his most celebrated runway styles. This unique assortment is available from February 26th and will give our customers the opportunity to own a piece of fashion history.