Lori Rivere on Miami Swim Week and beyond.
Behind the beauty, glamor, and shine of the fashion world are teams of the dedicated individuals who help bring brands to life in this highly competitive industry. Lori Riviere of The Riviere Agency has built a career and a business doing just that. Working with clients such as Oscar de la Renta and Tory Burch, as well as Swim Week Miami Beach, we spoke to her about the growth of Swim and Resortwear in the US, and what it takes to launch in the market.
LM: Can you tell us about your career journey building The Riviere Agency, and what you love about what you do?
LR: I started off working on small projects, and then larger shows "white label" for other agencies with clients who didn't have fashion show experience. It’s an exciting area to be in. I love working with my team, collaborating with other people in the industry that care as much as I do, and helping brands and designers grow.
LM: You have been working on Miami Swim Week - now the largest swim and resort wear event in the U.S. - for over a decade. When did you see the opportunity for swim and resort wear specific events?
LR: The Swim Show started it all and then IMG came [to Miami] 14 years ago, and started Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim. IMG's presence was really the catalyst for swim week growing into what it was. I realized that, and started working with them early and made sure that no matter what, I worked harder than anyone else. When they left the market, my role became a lot larger as one of the key producers that took their place hired my agency to help organize PR, check-in media registrations, etc. From there, my role grew. Swim and Resort is one of the sectors of the apparel industry that continues to grow, and it is a very lifestyle driven segment of the market that lends itself perfectly to events.
LM: The Riviere Agency helps brands enter the US market at Swim Week, and beyond. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
LR: We actually specialize in international and global brands. For example, Australian swimwear has been heating up in the US so we have been working on bringing more Aussie brands to Swim Week for a few years already. Since we work with Fashion Palette to bring Australian designers to the runway at NYFW, it seemed like the perfect fit to partner for Swim Week, as well.
At Riviere, we understand the unique needs and challenges international brands face when entering the US market. So, we can help guide them through the process and show them the differences from their own market, while acting as a guide providing do's and don’ts for launching and operating in the US.
LM: What do you think is most important strategically for international brands looking to launch in the US?
LR: To have a strong long-term plan. Very few brands blow up in the US without significant financial investment and/or thoughtful planning and activity in the market. Recognizing the differences from their home market is the first step and, then, having someone to provide solid advice on initiatives that will move the needle in the US and make the right connections for them is the second.
LM: Promotion is such an integral part of launching a brand. Given the dynamic nature of contemporary media, how does The Riviere Agency integrate traditional media with digital media, and are you employing more experiential strategies in your work?
LR: This year The Riviere Agency decided to take several activations off the runway to create more intimate activations focused on influencers to capture "grammable" moments, and really push awareness through social media. One example was an influencer happy hour for 30 hand-selected guests with sustainable brand, Free Bella, and another was a larger party, filthyhaanz After Dark, which was complete with Go-Go dancers in the SS19 collection suits, complementary arcade games, and Artichoke Pizza. Experiential events are incredibly important for brands looking to build a presence in the US. It is the quickest way to give in insight into the soul of a brand and demonstrates to buyers, and the media, that you understand the US market.
LM: Anything else you’d like to add?
LR: Our agency developed the positive reputation we have by always, above all else, providing honest advice even when it doesn't serve our own interests. We would rather a client hire us for a few hours of consulting, for a few hundred dollars, and provide them the guidance they need than sell them on a runway show or full-time PR before they are ready. We hope to always be a resource for all brands and designers, and offer online seminars and facebook live sessions with free advice all the time.
Interview by Linda Mateljan