With DIY culture and statement tops and accessories on the rise, the success story of accessory label Iphoria comes as no surprise. In 2012, designer and founder Milena Jäckel took the world by storm with her feminine, pop culture inspired mobile phone cases, bags and small leather accessories. Today, the label is distributed across the globe in 45 countries. Last year marked a milestone for the label when it opened its first standalone store in Tokyo and presented its first cashmere collection – an apparel range reflecting the same boldness for which the brand has become known. On the occasion of the latest cashmere collection – which is due to hit select retailers in June – we caught up with Jäckel to discuss her love affair with cashmere, the importance of apparel and what’s next for Iphoria.
Iphoria’s third cashmere collection is about to launch. Where does your fixation with this fabric come from?
Iphoria is a premium accessories label and we choose our materials carefully for every single piece. For my first clothing pieces, I wanted to use an equally exclusive material in a different category – plus I’m a huge lover of cashmere. In summer it cools and in winter it’s very cozy and warm. But this is not the only reason why I chose cashmere. In general, most of the cashmere styles in the market are clean and use no prints or intarsia. I felt that there was a gap in the market that needed to be filled; hence, Iphoria cashmere features colourful, eye-catching and unique intarsia.
The line will hit retail in July. Isn’t it a bit too risky to start selling knitwear in summer?
No, absolutely not. In summer, we use a thinner kind of the material. It’s super light and even cools you off. All the pieces can be worn on a cool summer night as well as when it gets colder again.
In which stores and countries will the cashmere collection be available?
Right now, Iphoria sells in more than 45 countries, and we’ll be selling it in all of them apart the Middle East for obvious reasons. Many markets have shown a very high interest in the cashmere line, particularly Italy, Germany and the US. We won many new accounts when buyers and storeowners, who weren’t necessarily familiar with our accessories, got excited about Iphoria’s full product range and started understanding it.
In the long run, are you planning to increase the apparel offering or add new product categories?
The Iphoria journey has just begun – for SS17, we’ll complement the cashmere line with additional styles made in different materials but in line with Iphoria’s characteristic style. I’m not planning these things strategically, sometimes it just occurs to us that it would be exciting to try out new materials or categories, but for now Iphoria focuses on accessories and a exclusive, small clothing line.
At how many POS is Iphora available in its native Germany? What about the rest of the world?
Currently, Iphoria is sold in over 45 countries and we are growing steadily. In Germany, the label is available in about 40 high-end concept stores and luxury department stores; in Japan, we opened the first Iphoria store in Tokyo last year, while the rest of Asia shows exceptional growth rates as well as the US, where we will have something exciting coming up together with one of our retail partners next season.
Could you name some of the most noteworthy retailers currently stocking the brand?
We’re very proud to be stocked in many of the world’s leading department stores such as Isetan, Galleria, 10 Corso Como, Harvey Nichols to name but a few. Not to mention our homeland Germany and Austria and Switzerland, in which we’re enjoying very good relationships with our department store customer; we have a few pop-up projects in the pipeline within the next few months. In terms of concept stores, you’ll find us at Antonia in Milan, Rare Market in Seoul, Princess in Antwerp and around 200 additional stores worldwide that are all noteworthy.
What are the brand plans for the remainder of 2016?
We have some cool things coming up in 2016. For example, pop-up stores in luxury department stores Breuninger Düsseldorf and Lodenfrey in Munich, a new apparel line consisting of shirts, fancy shorts and tops that complement our Cashmere Line, our first participation at Capsule New York and an awesome cooperation that is still our little secret at this moment.