It didn’t take long for Carla Cabrera and Ashley Turchin to start dreaming up a fresh retail project. (If you think their names sound familiar, here’s why: Cabrera’s the fashion blogger behind the President Wears Prada, and Turchin’s past partnerships included a gig selling killer vintage for La Petite Marmoset, which closed in January.)
“It was kind of instant chemistry,” says Cabrera. “We started brainstorming within a year of meeting.”
The fruit of that brainstorm sesh? Anthom, which the stylish pair—along with their Web designer/photographer/creative mastermind, Marshall Johnson—launch this week as a Web-based retail concept specializing in emerging designers, exclusive pieces, and commissioned collaborations.
We recently had the chance to chat with Cabrera about the new venture. Read on to get the scoop on the project and Cabrera’s pet faves from the store’s offerings, then click through the gallery to snag a sneak peek of some of Anthom’s über-stylish wares.
What’s the story behind Anthom? Why did you decide to launch this project?
It’s an online boutique featuring some carefully curated pieces from under-the-radar designers, some exclusive collections, and some affordable basics. My partners and I decided to launch Anthom to highlight some of the designers we had admired over the years as well as other upcoming designers who aren’t very well known, and we wanted them to be carried under the same roof and have a specific voice.
And what is that voice?
We wanted items that are wearable but also special and unique. Not something so high fashion you can’t wear it in everyday life, but that is still high quality and well made.
How did you decide on the name Anthom?
We wanted something that was recognizable but different and unique, which is why we spell it with an O. It’s very similar to the items we have in the store: a recognizable silhouette or a recognizable item, but slightly different and special.
Why e-commerce instead of a brick-and-mortar store?
Partly because of the barrier to entry for having a physical store, but also we wanted to reach an international audience, because we do have several international designers and we think our voice is relevant to other countries. I think our aesthetic also translates really well to an online store—a lot of our talent is in photography, Web design, and styling, and you can’t showcase that as much in a physical store.
What makes the site stand out from other e-shops?
We’re carrying a lot of designers that are not carried in any other major stores—not even indie boutiques. We also have 12 exclusive brands—some are capsules that have been produced exclusively for us. For example, we have a handbag designer based in Brooklyn who made us a two-piece capsule that we designed together and she produced for us. We have a local jewelry designer with a six-piece exclusive. And then we have some designers who haven’t been carried in the US before.
It’s something we’ve always looked for in a store—we would come across stores that we liked online but they all seemed to carry the same designers and similar pieces. We think we have a lot of items that hopefully people haven’t seen before.
How do you source the designers that will be sold on the site?
A lot of different ways! I think for my blog I always had a pulse on what’s new and up-and-coming, and we tried to keep those in the back of our minds. With our New York designers, we met with them in person and told them about our mission and wanted to see if they were interested in collaborating with us for capsules, and they were all very excited about it. It hasn’t been as hard as people think it would be, but it takes more legwork than buying wholesale online like a lot of stores do. But it’s more exciting, because we get to know the designers personally and work with them on collections.
What brand are you most excited to carry?
That’s hard—there are so many! I think there’s two I would have to pick: Chiyome is the handbag designer from Brooklyn. Her reference points are modernist furniture and architecture, so her style is kind of minimalist but has some architectural elements to it. She’s first an artist and then a handbag designer. She’s someone who every piece of her collection I love, and I trust her almost blindly.
And then we have another exclusive capsule by a shoe designer called Ten & Co. Her oxford lace-ups are made from antique camel skins and Moroccan rugs that she sources from a market in Marrakesh. We have a three-item exclusive, and we picked the rugs with her when she was in Marrakesh. The shoes are handmade and have a really beautiful texture and vibrant colors, but they’re in a classic oxford style so it’s a really cool juxtaposition.
What’s next for Anthom?
We want our own warehouse and photography studio space so we can all work together and get things done much faster. We want to continue finding designers we’re really excited about and continue building these exclusive partnerships. Obviously, we want to grow and include a lot more designers than what we have now. Just keep doing what we’re doing, but on a bigger scale.
Anthom is slated to launch Wednesday at shopanthom.com.