FAULT: Differio.com introduces itself with a big claim: that you are different to all other online men’s fashion outlets. What exactly is it that sets you apart from similar websites?
Jimmy: We don’t sell clothing. We sell a feeling. Because we believe it’s not what you buy that’s important, it’s what you feel after you have bought it. We see our pages as an ongoing fashion show that feature live models embracing original designer creations from their latest collections. We showcase clothing and accessories that are unique, yet affordable, to our customers.
This dedication to originality doesn’t stop with the product. Have a look at www.differio.com and you will see it is clear this isn’t your stereotypical e-commerce company. All of the models’ pictures are created against a background of music. With a new style of photography and its own unique look, the website resembles no other out there. It’s daring, edgy and bold, featuring original clothing, but the flow is still easy to navigate. No bombarding sales promotions, no womenswear, no kidswear. It is simple, yet different. We stay away from all other online men’s outlets. In fact, we have no interest in what others are doing, instead, we are looking to make a new path all our own.
You provide men with a unique perspective on fashion by offering them products by independent designers. Can you tell us a bit about that process – how you select the designers and how you persuade them that Differio is the best place to sell their designs online?
Because we don’t believe the world needs another retailer, Differio aims to be both magical and meaningful; inspiring our customers by being different. It is about getting to know yourself and finding that source of expression. It’s about being connected with the very essence of who YOU are and being confident about it.
We try to look for designers with liberal creative identities, designers without limitations. Creativity has no borders, and our team has traveled the 7 continents on the lookout for creative designers, new ideas and original fashion expressions.
Originality is our core ideology and defines the character of our organization and what we stand for. Talented designers have a reputation for eccentricity and originality, so they go hand in hand with our company. The designers we carry share with us the same values, and we offer them a unique platform to reach the target they are looking for, a top-notched palette to portray their creation in a more appealing way.
In the beginning, we got some rejection letters from brands who did not understand our vision or who wanted to impose their vision upon us. But we stayed strong and true. Our core essence will never change; originality and liberal expression is Differio’s soul. Today we receive plenty of requests from designers, both independent and renowned brands, which would like us to feature their products on our website. Unfortunately, we cannot carry them all and, while we maintain close ties with everyone who has approached us, we try to select only the crème de la crème of each season when it comes to our website.
Describe your ideal customer – to what type of person is Differio meant to appeal?
Our designs are for the man of today; he who is an explorer, sophisticated, and unafraid to create his own personal style. We want to appeal to the bold and courageous trendsetters, those whose experiments with style go far beyond everyday fashion dynamics.
How do you reconcile your key selling point of offering a unique selection of styles (independent designers) with your decision to also stock major labels alongside them?
While we promote independent designers’ work, we still carry major brand labels on our website like that of French Connection, Staff Jeans, Jetlag USA, MC2 St Barth, Gregg Homme and more… Our clothing stock model consists of selecting the best designs out there, whether from unknown designers or mainstream, we are always seeking unique creations. We don’t carry the full lines of the brands we have, we only select what we feel our target might be interested in. While other websites focus on the choice as a key business driver, we focus on emotions. Our customers are unique; therefore they look for unique clothing.
You clearly take your philosophy of supporting independent and emerging designers very seriously. Can you recommend us two up-and-coming designers – one from your site and one whose designs you’d like to be selling but aren’t right now – to look out for over the course of 2015?
That’s a tough one. We carry a lot of independent designers and it is really hard to recommend one over the other. I will give my personal choice here: designer James Calehan from LA did a great job this season, a great collection of trousers, cardigans, beautiful shirts boasting bespoke prints, luxury fabrics, fine-fitting cuts and unmistakable detailing. My other favorite is a denim brand called The Hot Child Junk Jeans by Florida designer Octavio Silva, who introduced a new line of jeans specifically designed with a man’s “anatomy” in mind. Both designers’ creations are sold online exclusively at Differio.
When it comes to who I would like to see on our website, I have my eye on many! What crosses my mind at this moment is the Bulgarian brand Demobaza from designers Demo and Tono. I think they’ve done a very good job by creating a new style of deconstructive uniforms.
Judging from some customer feedback we’ve read, a few of your customers obviously set great stock by the fact that you are based in the USA – Manhattan, NY, to be exact! Is that something that you also feel is important and, if so, why?
New York is undoubtedly the fashion capital of the world (according to the Global Language Monitor ranking 2014). New York is a great hub of inspiration, it has thousands of showrooms at your fingertips, the world’s renowned fashion universities like Parsons and FIT, and of course, a great infrastructure for technology and importing and exporting.
However, only a few e-commerce fashion companies are based here; many are situated in London, Italy, Stockholm etc… Even stateside, large retailers often choose other locales including California and even Ohio. While this may be good for a company’s bottom line, for some, it may result in being removed from the epicenter of the fashion world. For those of us at Differio.com, we know that to be a trendsetter, one must exist where trends are created. We wanted to bring a unique and decidedly ‘New York approach’ to menswear out of our Manhattan offices.
You only started Differio last year but what would you say has been your greatest achievement/proudest moment so far since your launch?
There was more than one moment where we felt proud of what we did, from famous celebrities buying our clothing to the thousands of beautiful words we received on social media and in emails. I have to say, though, that selling out of certain items from the first day of launch – that made me forget about the year of hard work and endless preparations. It was a big sign for me that Differio is set to make a difference in the world of fashion!
Where do you see the company in a year’s time?
The Journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination. In the meantime, we would like to create maximum awareness and introduce Differio to every fashion seeker in the world. We want to strengthen our image as a unique portal and aim to improve customers’ opinions of our organization significantly within the next year.
And what about 5 years’ time?
To be the leading menswear fashion inspiration, saving the world from boring stereotypes!
Who or what are your personal fashion inspirations?
- Dolce & Gabbana – the suits from their summer 2015 collection were brilliant.
- Vivienne Westwood - I love how she brought modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream
Last but not least, my everyday encounters with people I see walking in Soho, the Village, even Williamsburg. Charismatic people draw attention, they automatically energize you and motivate you to step up and be inspired.
What is your FAULT?
I can’t stand fashion faux pas.
For more information visit www.differio.com