In a world where the same Internet It Bags are perfectly seeded into every micro- and macro-influencer's feeds, it's no wonder that social media authenticity has increasingly come into question. So where's one to discover under-the-radar talents that haven't already bombarded your Instagram Explore page?
Enter Well(un)known, a new online luxury boutique that aims to upgrade your artful wardrobe with sportswear-inspired statement pieces from only the coolest designers. In the women's department, expect artful tops by A.W.A.K.E. ($390 and up) and denim from Each X Other ($290 to $525), while the men's section is stocked with sleek outerwear and apparel by Habit Studios and Christos ($53 to $182) Of course, there are plenty of head-turning shoes and accessories, such as footwear from Brother Vellies ($285), backpacks by Vala Los Angeles ($1,475 to $2,345), sculptural fine jewelry by Mara Paris ($135 to $495), and trippy sunnies by Percy Lau ($204 to $310).
The e-comm company was founded by fashion industry vet Aneesha DuBois — and one look at her personal Instagram account (where she chooses to remain anonymous, instead focusing the lens on her #ootd) reveals exactly why she's the best woman for the job. That, and she knows a thing or two about building brands and what it takes for rising labels to stand out from the 'grammable pack, given that her previous post was Director of PR, Americas for Australian Fashion Labels (the parent company to cult-favorite brands like C/meo Collective and Finders Keepers and the retailer BNKR) and PR Director for Wildfox before that.
Here, we sat down with DuBois to find out how her defunct fashion blog gave birth to her stylish new venture, what the entrepreneur learned from her experiences in the corporate fashion world, what she looks for in emerging designers to carry on her digital shelves, and more. Read on below, then shop Well(un)known online here.
How long has the idea been brewing to create the online shop?
The idea came to me in September 2018 and my partner Chris Taylor and I launched the site in May 2019. Back then I had just parted ways with Australian Fashion Labels as their Director of PR, Americas, and knew I wanted to be in business for myself and still stay within fashion. And I already had the name Well(un)known trademarked from a fashion blog back in 2013 where I focused on the most well (un) known brands. It all made perfect sense.
How have your past experiences in public relations and marketing informed your decision to start Well(un)known?
PR and marketing is the most fun part of the business in my biased opinion (haha!) but working to build brand awareness for someone else, your creativity can be limited due to budget, executive input, specific collections, the politics of it all. Creating and operating Well(un)known, there's no one to answer to but myself and of course the consumers. What's also great is being able to work across so many new brands where the designers bend and break the normal rules of fashion… the ability to create and collaborate is limitless.
What sparked your passion for finding emerging brands, both personally and professionally?
Personally, I haven't repeated an outfit since 2003 so I've seen (and worn) a lot. The desire to discover and wear emerging brands sprung way back then. And in 2013 during the rise of fashion influencers, I created the Well(un)known blog to document it all.
Professionally, I began traveling to Paris Fashion Week four years ago attending shows of designers I had never heard of but wanted to get to know… and wear. But as the PR Director for Wildfox and then Australian Fashion Labels, I couldn't work with those other brands professionally. That has changed now that I have Wellunknown.com.
How did you discover the brands you launched with, and what do you look for when searching for new designers?
I looked through the show schedule for Paris Fashion Week SS19 and reached out to the brands I was most interested in and attended their shows. And I was a fan of Brother Vellies and Valas, based in NYC and L.A. respectively, for a couple years. When I got back to Los Angeles, I immediately placed orders. What's amazing is that these brands let me buy with no website to show off… I had no visuals, just a pitch and a date to launch. To me that meant they really believed in the idea of WELL(UN)KNOWN and that trust was so motivating and reassured me that I was headed in the right direction. When searching for new designers I first look into the backstory. Who created the brand and why? What was the passion/motivation behind it? And then the product comes second. There's a million fashion brands in the market. What makes consumers connect now is emotion.
"Instagrammable" is a concept that's influenced everything from restaurant design to fashion. How has it played a role in your business?
Working in PR and marketing, I've been on backside of working with influencers and social media. I know where, and more importantly where not, to invest creative and money. Within my business, what is most profitable is posting self-created content that's diverse. Instagram likes are okay but don't necessarily equal conversions on-site so our focus when posting is to make sure he/she clicks through to Wellunknown.com — and that's not done through heavily curated pictures.
How do you describe your own personal style?
All over the place (haha!) Honestly it depends on where I'm headed and who I may see on any particular day.
Shop Well(un)known online here.