WWD Series: Laura Darmon

September 27, 2021

Laura Darmon

Buyer director and Business development at ENG 

Shanghai, China

What are your customers asking for right now?

At ENG, our customers are mostly looking for items that hold comfort, style and functionality. Styles can be simple in cut but they have to be distinctive in details or pattern design. In other words, items that are easy to wear yet not boring.

But there’s always a proportion of our customers who want pieces that truly stand out, highlighting either body shape, or featuring very extraordinary patterns or prints. Right now, the weather is still warm and humid, so it’s all about thinner pieces – a go-to here in warmer seasons – as well as corset tops and dresses with cutouts, which are quite popular among our female customers. 

What is important to them these days? How does it affect their purchase decisions?

Our customers tend to select brands they can relate to. It goes beyond the styles in this aspect. Brand’s ethos, image, philosophy, and ambassador all contribute their decision-making. 

The pandemic and social movements happening around the world really make social ly-conscious brands stand out. Those with values around eco-friendliness, sustainability or gender fluidity are the ones that win people over, and those are qualities we also consider when selecting brands. 

As a retailer, we encourage individual expression, through a very curate selection but also through collaborations with artists, underground musicians and other creators. [With the multiplicity of these proposals], everyone can always find a piece of themselves in our space and that’s something our clients seem to appreciate.

There’s also the idea of finds that you can’t get anywhere else. After the launch of our international e-commerce – last week! – we received complements from our first international clients, who were happy that we carry niche brands that aren’t easily found in other parts of the world and offer exclusive designer capsules. 

What are the challenges of Spring 2022 in terms of buying?

Since we are based in China, traveling to Europe is not an option for us this season. So the challenges are the physical ones, like really complex patterns or designs that only really speak for themselves when you look at them in person.

Not being able to feel the garments, or try on for fit is always difficult when it comes to buying. And truth be told, it is possible that we sometimes underestimate a piece seen online due to image quality.

What will you miss about physical shows?

A physical show gives a more faithful representation of the season. You can really see the designer’s vision and their intention for the brand. And that feeling is just incredible, when you get to see their months of hard work coming alive. There is a unique show atmosphere that is exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time. But these shows allow the pieces to speak for themselves in the perfect setting. Digital is great for one thing: you don’t have to wait or to travel between showrooms!

What are you most excited about? 

DIDU who is having her first presentation in the Paris calendar digitally with an amazing short movie and a very special installation.
Courrèges, because I love the minimalism and straightforwardness of Nicolas Di Felice’s designs and we’ve been the first to pick up the brand with ENG in China.
Thebe Magugu, really curious and excited about his new collection. Ludovic De Saint Sernin,always. I also just heard from them personally that the season is going to be very special so I can’t wait to see! 

And of course, Rick Owens!!

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