Despite the shift to WFH, fashion brands are investing in new office spaces

While fashion brands in the U.S. are working hard to reopen stores, they’ve been slower to move their employees back into offices. But, now that vaccinations are becoming widespread and business is happening IRL, some have made the decision to reinvest in office space.

Officine Générale, a French brand that just received a funding round for expanding in the U.S., is opening an office in New York this month. It plans to open 10 stores in the country over the next three years. Founder Pierre Mahéo, who is based in Paris, said that even though he typically visits New York around once a month, he and his team felt they couldn’t get a solid handle on the market without some sort of office space in the area.

“Having an office in another region is really important,” Mahéo said. “For European brands, if you want to sell in the U.S., you should recruit American people. There’s a culture that they understand, even if you visit the country all the time, that you won’t get unless you have a permanent presence there.”

Not only can an office be good for the culture, but it can also serve practical needs like housing excess inventory and samples.

But even brands based in the U.S. are finding reasons to invest in office spaces. For companies with multiple brands under one umbrella, the drive is to keep the business strategy unified. Suzy Biszantz, president of Favorite Daughter, Hervé Léger, Hudson and Joe’s Jeans, which are all part of Centric Brands Group, told Glossy that she signed a year-long lease in April on a large office complex in the Arts District of Los Angeles. Employees for those four brands will work from there, saving operational time and allowing for easier sharing of resources.