The inspiration behind Chicago designer Ashley Zygmunt’s collections? Jeans and a t-shirt. “They’re the two staples that any woman in any social class has,” she says. And while Zamrie’s line may not focus on these simple classics, all of the online-based designer’s pieces can easily be paired with either of the two.
Ashley’s background in the high fashion world of Zac Posen and Peter Som is balanced with corporate experience designing several lines for Walmart. Zamrie, created in 2009 with the help of the Chicago Fashion Incubator, is a combination of both sides of the industry. “We want staples that will be in your closet for years, not months. But we still want some of those high fashion, semi-trendy, fashion forward qualities.”
So basically, Ashley designs based on what her customers want for their everyday lives. This is exemplified by her wash and wear garments and her Morgan Vegan Leather Jacket, a beautiful blazer-esque number designed with moms in mind. “If you have a little kid and they throw up on your leather jacket, it’s ruined… But with the fabric that we use you can just wipe it off.”
Likewise, her customers were the inspiration behind her decision to shut down her wholesale brand and move everything online. After noticing many of her sales were coming from the coasts, she realized an online brand would allow her “to speak to the customers more.”
And speak she did. Beginning with customers’ questions of how to style, she created a page that offered four ways to wear every piece. “Every color of every style, I can tell you at least four, probably ten, different ways to wear it. Give me an occasion, I’ll tell you how to wear it.”
She also responded to consumers’ tendency to stop at the check out and never place an order. Her try and buy program allows customers to order garments and to keep them for 10 days before receiving a charge. “It’s very difficult to shop online with a brand that’s relatively unknown…[I wanted to] allow them to put the clothing in their hands [so] they can feel the quality, they can feel the fabric, they can understand the item.”
Not to mention, on her “What’s Next” page, you can actually vote for the pieces to be featured in next seasons collection. “Why not have our customers tell us what they want? It makes them feel like they’re part of our company.”
So join in on the fun and let Ashley know your thoughts at Zamrie.com!