Durand Guion Fashion Features Macy's

DEPARTMENT STORE FASHION AMBASSADOR AWARD: DURAND GUION

DEPARTMENT STORE FASHION AMBASSADOR AWARD: DURAND GUION

How many people are fortunate sufficient to have a job we nonetheless love
after 30 years? Macy’s VP/trend director Durand Guion feels really blessed to
interact in his ardour day-after-day. He has no concept what number of distributors he outlets on a daily
foundation (it’s certainly lots of) however one way or the other, he manages to go to even small rising
manufacturers, not only for their gross sales potential at Macy’s but in addition to help them
with strategies. For this, he claims no bragging rights. “It’s a part of the
ministry,” he explains. “And why not take a couple of minutes to offer somebody steerage?
You by no means know when or the place you may discover that subsequent great point.”

Born and raised in San Francisco the place he lived till Macy’s
moved him to NYC ten years in the past, Guion describes a cheerful childhood. “I’m from a
small household: my mother (a instructor), dad (a chef) and one brother (a tech
recruiter). My dad cooked dinners Mondays via Thursdays (which explains my
nice appreciation for meals); my mother took over on weekends. From a trend perspective,
my largest affect was my paternal grandmother. She was a single African-American lady from the South who moved to San Francisco within the late 1940s. A wonderful dresser with a tremendous sense of favor, she’d spend cash on garments that was unprecedented for a lady in her state of affairs. So, I thank my grandma, Gracie Mae, for my love for style!”

He might have inherited the gene, however it was expertise mixed
with luck that propelled a profession in trend merchandising. Learning enterprise
in school, Guion realized quickly sufficient this was not his ardour so he took some
day off. Though an ill-advised transfer based on his mother and father, Guion now
maintains that taking that break to realign his priorities was certainly one of his greatest
selections ever. “I wanted that second to realize readability and focus,” he explains. “I
finally went again to high school for an AA diploma in trend merchandising and
then a BA in speech and communication. I wanted that break to know I’d
been following a path that wasn’t me.”

His profession monitor at Macy’s was additionally a bit fortuitous. Having
labored retail all by way of highschool and school, Guion thought-about making use of to
Macy’s a logical transfer. However not realizing that he wanted to undergo a proper
school recruitment course of and apply properly prematurely, Guion simply confirmed up at
the shop and requested to hitch the chief coaching program. They advised him these
spots have been crammed way back so he now needed to show himself as a promoting
supervisor. Letting go of his frustration, he took the job, put his coronary heart into
it and proved himself to be a star vendor, supervisor and shortly supervisor.

Quick ahead a number of years, Durand is working in a Macy’s
shopping for workplace that occurred to be close to the style workplace. “Coincidentally, I had
as soon as interviewed Macy’s trend director Ray Wills for a university task
lengthy earlier than I considered becoming a member of Macy’s. So there I used to be, this pesky little man
who stored popping into the style workplace. Then someday Wills retired, and with
the assistance of a development report I created utilizing my private assortment of previous GQ magazines, I by some means received the job!”

A robust believer in mentors, Guion attributes his profession
path to many fantastic individuals alongside the best way. “However the important thing to a division retailer
trend enterprise is the connection between the style director and the GMM.
So, I’ve to provide a shout out to Paul Fitzpatrick, Menswear GMM at Macy’s West
for a few years. He actually understood my strengths and challenged me to do extra
with them. His encouragement led me to perform excess of I may need
in any other case.”

Extra lately, Macy’s SVP/GBM Mark Stocker is filling that
position. “Mark got here into the lads’s enterprise with out the normal background,
and I’m so impressed with how he’s pushed our males’s staff to persistently ship
the most effective style. He’s been a real game-changer and dealing intently with him to
reimagine the way forward for the lads’s retailer has been a rewarding expertise.” He
additionally praises his present affiliate trend director Danny Kim for his terrific
sense of favor and imaginative and prescient, and Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette for his “unwavering
help and perception in me. I’ve recognized Jeff since I began my profession at Macy’s;
he’s a tremendous chief, and his belief means the world to me.”

Requested about Macy’s present menswear enterprise, Guion is
delighted to provide a constructive evaluation. “Though it’s been robust elsewhere, our
tailor-made clothes gross sales proceed to be strong. With gown codes nonetheless informal,
it’s a difficult enterprise: measurement intensive, largely replenishment. However we’ve received a
dynamic staff and the most effective assortments. Our focus is on separates, prime manufacturers,
recent trend, prolonged sizes and associated furnishings. Once we decide to a brand new
look, we commit massive: We will’t tiptoe round or it will get misplaced. We’ve been
selling the idea of ‘multiple approach to put on a go well with’ and that’s been
thrilling!”

Will Macy’s undertake the looser, extra voluminous go well with fashions
now seen on European runways? “Not but,” Guion says with out hesitation. “Guys
are lastly snug in slim fits, in brighter blues, in seasonal materials (seersuckers,
khakis), appears we couldn’t promote for many years. We don’t need to push them away
from these too quickly, particularly since tailor-made is a such huge funding—guys
don’t purchase fits the best way they do denims or tank tops, and we need to guarantee they
be ok with their funding. (Editor’s notice: Macy’s go well with retails run to
about $1,000; they’re simply beginning to supply some made-to-measure choices.) That
stated, we’ll in all probability begin loosening up by introducing wider lapels and pants
types which are looser on prime however nonetheless slender on the underside, to point out off the
shoe. Keep in mind: It took 15 years to evolve males’s clothes to slim; whereas it
gained’t take that lengthy to return (quick style will velocity it up a bit), we’re
not going from zero to 60 in a single day!”

The opposite distinctive enterprise at Macy’s of late is
activewear; Guion attributes this power to carrying all the suitable manufacturers, to
one other distinctive workforce and to the truth that activewear influences are being
built-in into on a regular basis put on. “Very similar to the standing males felt from sporting an
Armani or Hugo Boss go well with some time again, sporting streetwear for a brand new era
signifies membership in a group. It’s now much less about worth or proving
you’ve arrived, and extra about road cred, about being a part of a tribe. It
began with sneakers: restricted provide, frequent drops, excessive worth factors. It’s
not a lot that you simply have been capable of afford it however extra merely that you simply ‘get it’.
And it’s now expanded with even core nationwide manufacturers like Ralph Lauren, Tommy
Hilfiger, Nautica, Levi’s turning into no less than considerably streetwear-inspired. In
reality, there are streetwear influences in nearly every thing we do in informal
sportswear. The younger era has owned it!”

Whereas Guion claims few disappointments in menswear these
days, there’s all the time one thing. Neckwear, for instance, is just not amongst Macy’s extra
strong classes. “However you possibly can’t beat your self up for it,” he explains. “It’s
a pure cycle so that you simply transfer on to one thing else. In reality, at a current presentation
in Chicago, I used to be virtually late as a result of I’d deliberate to put on a tie and it took a
little longer for me to get that good knot. (It had been some time since I
final tied one.)”

Durand GuionDurand Guion

What’s wanted to make enterprise higher? Guion is considerate.
“All retailers have to maintain tempo with the brand new buyer: He’s shifting quicker,
he’s extra assured. He thinks of trend and elegance in a really totally different method. We’ve
acquired to remain in tune with the place he’s getting his style info. We’ve received to
keep on prime of social media. If he’s shifting to a extra informal mindset, we will’t
battle that; we’ve obtained to be proper there with him, or higher nonetheless, forward of
him. And regardless of the development, we’ve received to message the how-to. It’s not about
promoting a bunch of garments however how do you curate it for him, how do you message
it to him, how do you let him know easy methods to put on it? I consider Macy’s is in a
good place as a result of we talk multi-platform: print, TV, digital,
in-store show. And our guys really feel snug in our shops—with each acquainted
manufacturers and a few new thrilling initiatives.”

Requested which of those new thrilling initiatives he’s most enthused about, Guion singles out Story and Market at Macy’s. “The acquisition of Story is educating us to maneuver shortly and be nimble, that we will’t anticipate 95,000 approvals to decide as a result of the combination modifications each 60-90 days. As for Market at Macy’s (launched about two years in the past), that is making it simpler for small rising manufacturers to promote at Macy’s. It was that if a model didn’t have the fitting infrastructure behind it, they couldn’t get in; now, nearly anybody can attain out, and we’ll assist them decide in the event that they’re a match. Those that get a chance to showcase their product for 30 days and even six months, relying on the deal. Throughout this time, they study division retailer parameters with a aim to finally develop into a daily vendor. In fact, there’s a payment related to the association: It’s like a mini-leased division, however it’s a step into the longer term for a lot of rising manufacturers. And it’s nice for us to check promising distributors with new trend ideas.”

On the impression of on-line promoting (editor’s word: Macy’s has
reported 19 consecutive quarters of double-digit progress on its web site, with 700
distributors now promoting direct from the Macy’s platform), Guion stays an enormous
believer in brick-and-mortar shops. “For a lot of males, purchasing on-line for style
may be overwhelming. Our analysis exhibits that males like going into our shops,
seeing new appears on mannequins, viewing the extent of our assortments, getting recommendation
from gross sales associates first hand.”

And talking of recommendation, we ask this trend icon most recognized
for his particular person fashion (typically described as unique, distinctive, eclectic, directional),
how one creates a private model. “It’s a superb query for me since I’m an enormous fan
of constructing, sustaining and defending one’s private model. It’s one thing we
don’t speak sufficient about, particularly to younger individuals getting began of their
careers. You could be e-book sensible, common sense sensible and road savvy however prefer it
or not, individuals first decide you and type an impression by the way you look.

“How you can do it? In the beginning, you need to know who you
are, or no less than who you need to be, and what makes you most snug. Then
you need to do some work! Understand that it’s OK to be influenced, and even to
copy. In case you see somebody or one thing that evokes you, work out the right way to
incorporate that into your persona. Take a look at individuals whose type you admire and borrow
what you assume may be just right for you. After which, in fact, come into Macy’s and
let our private stylists assist you to put all of it collectively. This can be a fantastic complementary
service we provide: Our stylists will help you create a contemporary look with no spin
(they don’t characterize a model). It’s one in every of Macy’s’ largest belongings (there’s no
set spend; you don’t have to purchase a factor) and I want extra guys would take
benefit of it!”