Welcome to our New Website series, where twice a month we’ll feature an e-retailer that we love and know our readers will too. Whether it’s an old but under-the-radar favorite or a newly launched label, you’ll want to report back to your friends with the findings (or maybe keep them to yourself)!
While many responsibly produced clothing lines exist, and there are certainly a number of direct-to-consumer brands out there, no one line has yet to marry the two concepts quite like Datura, an aspirational, inspirational, and attainable clothing line based out of New York. The relatively young brand (it debuted in 2013) is like an online treasure chest of statement-making basics you can wear year-round.
From beautiful mohair sweaters to convertible robe dresses that can be worn as coats, every special yet wearable item on the site is made with slow fashion practices. To prove it, you can check out their Member Style campaigns where a collection of real girls, which casually includes the likes of mega-blogger Gala Gonzalez and model/shoe designer Mari Guidicelli, show how they wear Datura’s pieces in their stylish daily lives.
To tell us more about the brand, we recently tapped Stefania Borras, its co-founder and creative director, who, luckily, answered all of our most pressing questions.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Can you give us a brief history of when, how, and why you launched your brand and site?
STEFANIA BORRAS: Datura launched in May 2013. It was early days for direct-to-consumer brands, and I felt like it was the only way I could launch. I wanted to stay true to the elements that I think are important and what clothing means to me. Things like sourcing luxury fabrics, designing timeless and versatile pieces, using local manufacturers but still achieving worldwide reach… I wanted to combine all of these and still manage to offer my pieces at an affordable price point. I didn’t want to give up any of those elements that were so important to me and the only way of doing that was to be in total control and sell directly to customers through our website.
WWW: How does social media play into your business?
SB: Our social media is a very organic tool for us. We mostly showcase the spirit of the Datura girl and our Member Styles, which is one of our most precious projects. It's where we feature the Datura pieces on the independent and inspiring women/customers that we meet in New York. It gives us a glimpse of these strong and beautiful women's lives and at the same time doubles as an opportunity to how Datura pieces can be worn in so many different ways and by so many different kinds of women.
WWW: Your collections are based around materials—wool, mohair, cashmere, etc.—which is not something we see often. Can you tell us a little about that decision?
SB: I love the feel of fabrics. I always have since I was at design school. I think that it’s the most luxurious part of an item of clothing. If it feels good, it looks good.
I’m a big fan of 100% natural fibers from quality suppliers for exactly that reason—how they feel on you but also because of its durability that contributes to sustainability.
WWW: How does being an online-only brand separate you from other retailers?
SB: We sell directly to our customers so the direct feedback we receive is very important to us. We try to work with our customers to improve the connectivity of the brand, as opposed to working with store owners or buyers that can create a barrier between brand and customer. It feels like a more direct and warm way to operate. Also, the way we interact with the seasons is different. We launch our capsule collections during the actual season and not months before like other retailers because it helps us to be more sustainable. You'll find season-less pieces throughout the year on our site as well as more season-specific collections (like our perfect for summer linens) or our more wintery cashmere-wools and mohairs. People from all around the world can shop at any time. So if you’re based in or going on a trip to a sunny place in December, you can still shop our pieces. Also, not selling to stores is what enables us to keep the price point we have—if we were in stores, our final price would be triple what you see now.
The way we interact with the seasons is different, too. We launch our capsule collections during the actual season and not months before like other retailers because it helps us be more sustainable. You'll find season-less pieces throughout the year on our site as well as more season-specific collections (like our perfect for summer linens) or our more wintery cashmere-wools and mohairs. People from all around the world can shop at any time. So if you’re based in or going on a trip to a sunny place in December, you can still shop our pieces. Also not selling to stores is what enables us to keep the price point we have—if we were in stores, our final price would be triple what you see now.
It’s not all pros, though (of course). By staying independent and having to promote the brand by myself, I miss out on the brand's capacity to connect with a wide reach. We are currently mostly promoted by word of mouth, and although that's a good thing, we would obviously love the brand to grow.
WWW: What pieces in the collection are you most excited about at the moment?
SB: I always love the jumpsuit. It was the first piece I ever made and wore. I got so much out of it, and it reminds me of my mum in the late '80s early '90s too.
She used to have the coolest ones, she'd wear them back-to-front and in so many ways. I'm excited by the new ones we're making and are going to be using some exciting colors. Also the coats—I love warm, cozy oversize coats for when the winter approaches.
WWW: What’s your single most popular piece among customers right now?
SB: The Kimono Silk Dress is definitely one of our most popular pieces right now, along with our classic Escape Coat. The Knot Tops in silk and in linen, too, and all the polka-dot series pieces are doing very well right now.
WWW: What makes Datura different from other e-retailers?
SB: I think we have a more of a traditional designer brand feel than others. I feel like most of the other online-only brands seem like they're run and designed by tech/business people and it can be a slight turn-off. We are a traditional designer label with an e-commerce point of sale structure.
We want it to feel like that way for the customer too—something that feels close to them, warm, and authentic.
Shop our picks from Datura:
Wear this with trousers on your next night out!
This is the perfect dress for going from work to a holiday party.
If you buy one coat this season, it should be this.
Do you have any favorite sites you’d like to see featured next? Share them with us in the comments!
Opening Image: Datura