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Seminal to the consumer’s experience, buyers are often the unseen persuaders of the industry, playing a critical role in the commercial success of a designer. Perusing rails and shelves of beautiful garments and accessories, it’s interesting to consider the process that brings clothes presented on the runway to the retail space. Buyers often work closely with designers and their sales representatives, attending trade fairs, showrooms and fashion shows to observe shifting styles. Influencing the way people shop and directing consumers to trends, buyers are some of fashion’s most intriguing characters. Something Curated highlights five influential industry figures helping shape the frontier of fashion retail today.

Brigitte Chartrand || SSENSE

Since launching in 2006, three years after SSENSE’s founding in Montreal, ssense.com has become one of fashion’s premier online retailers by satisfying fast-paced, Instagram-hooked shoppers who are always on the lookout for the next exciting thing. Brigitte Chartrand, its senior womenswear buying director, has guided the women’s department for the last four years, and was among the first to introduce brands such as Vetements and Off-White to consumers.

Xochitl West || H. Lorenzo

After 30 years in the business, pioneering retailer H. Lorenzo is launching its fourth location in Los Angeles. Lorenzo Hadar’s new retail space caters to menswear, and will stock directional designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Maison Margiela, and Raf Simons, many of whom were first introduced to the American market by Hadar. In recent years, the store has been seminal in bringing names like Craig Green, Martine Rose and A Cold Wall to the American market, and leading the charge is buying director Xochitl West.

Clara Cornet || Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées

French department store group Galeries Lafayette has completed their new major project this year, a mega space on Champs-Élysées, designed by Bjarke Ingels. The flagship concept-lifestyle store’s purchasing is headed by Clara Cornet. Cornet started her career at Galeries Lafayette as womenswear buyer, and in 2013 she joined Opening Ceremony as senior buyer, before becoming Buying Director at directional multibrand retailer The Webster. In February 2018, Cornet returned to Galeries Lafayette to lead the new project’s buying strategy.

Tijana Djordjevic || GENTLEWENCH

Launched in October 2018, GENTLEWENCH is an East End fashion store that flatters both refined, quiet tastes and a fashion lover’s sense of joy. Helmed by long-time personal shopper Wei Yue and buying director Tijana Djordjevic, who previously worked at Browns, Dover Street Market and Mouki Mou, the store carries an eclectic edit of makers and designers at various stages in their careers, crucially championing a diverse selection of emerging talent.

Michael Mok || Joyce

In a city inundated with luxury flagship stores, Joyce has set itself apart as a unique fashion destination. Today, the Hong Kong multi-brand boutique has also opened two stores in Shanghai and Beijing. Michael Mok, General Merchandise Manager of Joyce, leads the search for new talent around the world and has been critical in the introduction of labels such as Thom Browne, JW Anderson and Vetements to Hong Kong, and across China.

Feature image: SSENSE Montreal (via SSENSE)

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