Fashion Designer Wayne James Launches Online Luxury Concepts Store
Fashion designer Wayne James has launched his online Concepts Store, www.waynejamesltd.com, in celebration of the company’s 35th anniversary. The online store will present James’ most cutting-edge design concepts, one concept at a time—from a silk-soft leather scarf, to a five-blend line of dry-rub seasonings formulated for male cooks, to a collection of belts with 18K gold buckles—each concept featured for three consecutive months before moving to the “Reserve Collection,” thereby making room for a new concept to be featured. Only four concepts will be featured per year. And most of the products in the collection are made in the United States whenever possible: an exquisite men’s robe made of imported Irish linen is made in New York City; a timeless white linen shirt made of the same Belgian linen used to make papal vestments is manufactured in Boston; and luxurious seven-fold ties made of Italian and English silks are hand-sewn in North Carolina.
“The aim of my Concepts Store is to simplify the online shopping experience,” James said. “The internet is great; but it can also inundate.” The unique format of the store—believed to be the only of its kind—allows consumers to focus on the one item that is being featured.
“Shopping at WayneJamesLtd.com is easy and elegant,” James said. “And unlike other online vendors who simply pack their customers’ purchases into mailing-boxes and ship them off, no frills added, my online store keeps the experience upscale from start to finish. Purchases are packaged in company gift boxes with company-colors tissue paper—just like the great department stores of yesteryear—before being placed into mailing-boxes for shipment. That way, each purchase arrives at your door as a ready-to-be-presented gift,” James added.
St. Croix-born James established his fashion company in 1986 at the age of 24 and presented his first collection in New York’s artsy SoHo district two months before graduating from prestigious Georgetown Law in 1987. And within a mere two years, in 1989, James was being touted as one of the rising stars amongst young New York designers by the Washington Post and United Press International (UPI).
“I showed my very first collection at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery on Spring Street in SoHo in March of 1987, sold the collection to Bergdorf Goodman in April, and my garments were being worn on New York’s famed 5th Avenue by July of that year,” James recalls. “I was busy shipping my first collection of Ecuadorian hand-knitted sweater-dresses while my law school classmates were studying for the bar exam.”
Within the first decade, James’ collections had been lauded by fashion’s most venerated arbiters: Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), New York Times, Washington Post, Elle, GQ, Ebony, Essence, USA Today, UPI, Daily News Record (DNR), etc. And his garments were being sold by fashion’s best—from Nordstrom’s to Bergdorf’s to Saks Jandel to Victoire’s in Paris, France.
“But fashion has evolved since the 1980s,” James said. “E-commerce has not only made brick-and-mortar merchandising almost irrelevant, it has also made the entire world your marketplace: With a quick Google, Bing, or Yahoo search, a customer in Otavalo or Montescudaio can purchase one of my luxury products and have it delivered by courier across the globe. I saw it coming—from way back in the late 1990s. And that’s when I started designing this online collection—way back then—patiently waiting until now that the average person is comfortable with online shopping. The designs in this online collection have been tested and re-tested to perfection. I’ve been working on this for 20 years, and it’s now time for the roll-out of all these great products. It’s exciting. It’s exhilarating. I have decades’ worth of luxury products in the roll-out queue, all ready to be featured in the Concepts Store at the appointed time.
And James, who will turn 60 later this year, is once again looking to the future. “I have recently begun laying the foundations for bringing new, fresh talent into the fold of the company—design graduates from schools such as New York’s FIT, RISD in Rhode Island, and the Savannah School of Design. The objective is to have the Wayne James label endure long into the future—as a label that is synonymous with timeless innovation,” James concluded.