French Connection has come a long way from the brand known and loved in the U.K. since its inception in 1972. Now a truly global label that caters to countless fashion fans, no matter their location or style preferences, the crowd-pleasing company with something for everyone is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, as well as two exciting new category launches. Carolyn Glynos, president of French Connection U.S.A., fills us in.
How has this year been for the team? What’s been the driving force keeping everyone motivated and positive?
It has been a unique and challenging year for the team. In an industry that’s fueled by socialization and human interaction, it was difficult to move into isolation. We made sure to keep the lines of communication open to create a climate of transparency, both with each other and on the status of the business. We stayed connected and carried on with a shared sense of respect for one another and a love for the brand. We could not have made it through without the dedication, agility, and focus of each and every one of our team members.
How is business going, and what’s next for 2022?
2021 was tough as we navigated through cancellations and delayed payment terms. Despite all the complications and hurdles, we’re slated to have the best year in a decade! We owe our success to our resilient and hardworking team. Next year is the brand’s 50th anniversary, and we’re excited to celebrate that, especially after such tough times. You will see key pieces rereleased from our archives that commemorate each decade of our life.
How does French Connection, a British brand, ensure that it stays desirable for its fans all over the world?
Working remotely has brought global offices more closely together than ever before. Video conferences were not often used prior to the pandemic and have allowed global brand-strategy conversations to extend beyond the head office in London. Likewise, being remote has caused the world to want to feel more connected as we all experienced this extreme global event. We launched our Community Connection campaign to celebrate our global customer base and highlight the diverse population that works with us and shops with us.
The brand was founded in the 1970s. What values have stayed the same and what has evolved?
French Connection has stood for self-expression, individuality, and authenticity since its founding in 1972. These core values have remained at the forefront of everything we do. Right now, our focus is on community-building. The global pandemic has given us multiple confirmations that we’re stronger when we come together. We’re energized by our global community and want to celebrate that international connection.
What was on the moodboard for the design team for the upcoming season?
Spring 2022 will showcase eternal optimism with vibrant colors and expressive prints. You will see feminine silhouettes, retro florals, elevated cut-outs, and craftcore techniques, such as crochet, embroidery, and patchwork.
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Where does the team seek inspiration from when coming up with the next offering?
Travel is often the driving force behind the team’s creations. Every collection has a global influence, taking cues from the people, art, architecture, and landscapes discovered on both leisure and business trips.
Is there an archetypal French Connection customer? Who are they?
The French Connection customer is bold and expressive. They crave social connection, and seek authentic experiences and relationships. They are unapologetically themselves and express that in how they live and dress.
Tell us about the category launches coming up!
We’re excited to introduce two important new categories, footwear and kidswear. Footwear will allow us to offer customers everything they need to complete their French Connection look, head to toe. Kidswear will offer a capsule of whimsical outfits for Spring ’22, and will incorporate signature shapes and prints that are seen throughout our womenswear line.
What else is in the pipeline for the remainder of 2021?
Here in New York, we’ve been working closely with The Door, a youth-development charity that empowers the city’s disconnected youth by providing access to comprehensive resources that help them reach their full potential. We’re collaborating on several initiatives, including a mentorship program to support any members who are interested in the fashion industry. We’ve also been tapping into local creatives for brand campaigns in an effort to showcase their talents. Our next campaign features Waffle NYC, a collective of talented street dancers. We’re trying to do our part to cultivate belonging, purpose, and meaning after being physically apart for so long.
What three words sum up French Connection’s imaginary visionboard for the future?
Community, sustainability, diversity.