WWD Series: Lisa Aiken

March 5, 2022
Lisa Aiken
Fashion & Lifestyle Director, Neiman Marcus 

How did you become a buyer/ fashion director?
I have spent my career in luxury ecommerce, through an untraditional trajectory that has blended buying, marketing and editorial at various retailers across Europe and the US including MatchesFashion, MyTheresa, Net-a-Porter and Moda Operandi. I am currently Fashion & Lifestyle Director at Neiman Marcus. I don’t believe there is a single route into this area, personally I studied Fashion Management at London College of Fashion, however I have peers and colleagues across the industry that come from such varied backgrounds; the arts, law, economics, etc. The important skill set is really to balance the creative and analytical, both are fundamental to success within luxury fashion retail.

How has the business of buying evolved since you started? 
First and foremost, in so many ways the democratization of luxury has changed the breadth of the customer base, and the importance placed on anticipating the wants of the next generation. From a process standpoint, so much has changed; from the pace of emerging consumer trends, to the importance of standing behind cult pieces, the direct connections brands can build with an audience through social media and where we discover new brands.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
By far the thing I love most about my role is discovering and nurturing new talent. I often meet designers at the very earliest stages, and have the opportunity to help guide them towards achieving their ambitions. I will say that there is a big focus within the industry on what is brand new, but I believe emerging talent needs support through several years and I see it as a responsibility to ensure that support is ongoing. It is a philosophy I have held at every retailer, and one I bring to Neiman Marcus as we grow our new brand portfolio. 

As a brand, how do you attract retailers?
Be very focused in your vision and be in a position to articulate it clearly both visually and verbally. Tell your own story. I don’t need to see a huge collection, I would rather see 8 incredible looks done immaculately that give me confidence in the quality, production and point-of-view. The best way to capture attention is word-of-mouth, and direct communication, don’t be afraid to reach out, we are all so connected digitally now.

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