Inside The Viral World Of Threads Styling

BY Jade Chilton / Feb 16 2020 / 10:07 AM

Threads Styling is the pioneering, digital personal-shopping service rapidly taking over our Insta feed. Tapping into what we want before we even know it ourselves, is it the only way to shop luxury in 2020?

Inside The Viral World Of Threads Styling

We’re merrily scrolling through Instagram, when our thumb stops dead in its tracks at the impossible-to-find Amina Muaddi neon-pink PVC Begum pumps in all their sparkling glory. We scroll a little further and the sold-out quilted Chanel ‘dad’ sandals pop up alongside dreamy pastel Bottega Veneta mules and the much-lusted-after S/S20 Prada Nylon hobos.

If you hadn’t guessed already, we’ve landed on the Instagram account for Threads Styling, a luxury personal-shopping service operated entirely through the mobile phone. The Threads stylists pull together the kind of wardrobes you might associate with an ultra-cool A-lister and a team of professionals, with the fashion catnip shared on those Instagram squares are of the hottest pieces that have never been seen or photographed before, along with a host of sold-out or gold-dust It-items. The best part? They all come with the promise that everything can be delivered to your door in a matter of days with just a few taps on WhatsApp.

According to the team, the Middle Eastern woman is one of Threads’ “most loyal customers”, so it was no surprise when the gamechanging personal shoppers told us they were flying in to Dubai to shoot Ramadan-themed content with local designer labels ahead of the Holy Month. On their secret trip, Bazaar caught up exclusively with founder and CEO Sophie Hill and fashion director Rachel Ingram to better understand this bold new wave of shopping…

Harper's BAZAAR Arabia: When did Threads Styling begin and what’s its inception story?

Rachel Ingram [RI]: Founded in 2009, Threads is doing something truly unique in luxury fashion; inspiring and influencing a highly engaged global audience of high-net worth millennials through innovative social media editorial content. We engage a next-generation client via chat-messaging platforms, and provide a bespoke, personal and high-touch styling service, taking orders directly through mobile chat, akin to an experience you would receive in a luxury fashion retailer.

HBA: What part did Instagram play in its birth and subsequent growth?
Sophie Hill [SH]: Instagram and Snapchat – and We Chat for our Asian clients – has played a huge role in building Threads. We use our social media-only content to tell our story, to inspire and engage our client and audience, and to showcase product and brands we know they will love. By working this way we’re able to create fast-paced content and be reactive to trends and newness.

HBA: What was the breakthrough moment?
SH: Realising that customers only wanted to be serviced via direct messaging. This was such a strong message from our clients since Threads began.

Dress, Hamsa, Threads Styling

HBA: You’ve recently launched interiors, too – what was the drive behind that, how have you found it and what is next?
RI: Our interiors business is really exciting! We’ve been with most of our customers since the beginning and they’ve grown up with us. We’ve dressed them for work, travel, parties and have even helped find their dream couture wedding gown. We’ve even attended their weddings! Now, they’re renovating and moving into their new homes as well as starting families. Naturally, they came to us to discover what to buy for their interiors and of course, we found them the best pieces. We launched the Threads Interiors account at the end of last year and are seeing an incredible reaction from our clients, along with amazing sales across furniture, home accessories and art.

Who is your core customer – globally, but also in this region?
SH: We have a very diverse and global customer, however the Middle East was our first and continues to be an extremely loyal customer base – I would even say they pioneered our services. We have now expanded globally and service ME, Asia and the US as our top three. We’re seeing incredible growth in Asia, and have a dedicated Asia team.

How  has Instagram impacted trends, and also how people shop?
RI: Instagram has revolutionised the way we shop by making everything accessible regardless of where you are. It’s made fashion fun and interactive by viewing style through your friends’ or an influencers’ point of view, like Threads. You can see items styled in different ways rather than just hanging on a rack and you may discover how an item that was never on your radar can relate to your own wardrobe.

Dress, Illustrella at Threads Styling

How do you pick those viral pieces?
RI: Our team attend all the fashion weeks, along with press previews of exciting launches. We always have our eyes peeled for what will be the next big thing for both product and brands. Plus, we are always listening to our clients so we know what they love and what they want to see. 
We have a lot of fun when we shoot product – we want to create content that’s attention-grabbing and starts conversations.

What’s been the most in-demand piece you’ve had?
RI: Any in-demand piece that is hard to find anywhere else – Threads always has a way of finding it! At the moment, the Prada Nylons; both the hobo and the crossbody are popular in every colour. Anything from Bottega Veneta since Daniel Lee joined, most notably the pouch, boots, and the new ankle-wrap sandals, which we already have a waitlist for. And lastly, Eera earrings – we launched the brand before anyone else and the earrings flew out. Our clients love easy-to-wear, stackable fine-jewellery pieces.

Dress, I Am Mai, Threads Styling

What’s Threads Styling’s mission statement?
SH: Inspire. Acquire. Deliver.

What’s next for you? And what’s next for the future of shopping?
SH: Retail is changing, customers aren’t shopping how they used to. They want ease, speed and immediacy but still expect the best service.  What Threads is doing is truly unique.  We are creating inspiring social content on a daily basis and are giving the luxury consumer access to anything they want without having to leave their phone and the app they were in.
We have huge growth plans for the company. We are continuing to build a lot of our own tech to enhance our capabilities, which we will be rolling out throughout the year. We are also launching in the US, having seen huge demand there, and will continue to grow our Asia business as well as our international business. 

Images courtesy of Threads Styling

From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia February 2020 Issue