Dear friend of WFG and all-round style muse DSO is the Founder and Director of Mode Sportif, the ultimate fashion destination for designer contemporary dressing. Deb shares thoughts about Mode's concept, vision and challenges that face the ever-changing retail landscape.
Deborah is the founder and director of Mode Sportif, an online boutique that brings together the world’s best athleisure wear for the discerning and modern woman. With entrepreneurial flair running in the family, Deb’s carved an impossibly chic niche in Australia's fashion industry by dressing the worldly wellness crowd. With a killer instinct for cool, Deb curates the ultimate in global and local lifestyle labels for Australian women to love and live in.
In between running Mode and mothering her beautiful son Beau, she made time to sit down and answer some questions.
1. How did the concept of Mode Sportif come about?
When I launched Mode Sportif six years ago, I wanted to create an edit of the best athleisure brands from around the world, all under one roof, and a space to educate our customers on how to dress “off-duty”. After launching and seeing the success of our causal wear and sports wear offering, I decided to expand to offer more fashion and accessories to our clients. While our casual wear remains a strong part of our business, contemporary fashion is now our focus, dressing women for all aspects of their daily life, from gym, to work, to party and beyond.
2. What are some challenges you’ve faced in an ever-changing retail landscape?
Whilst starting a business has been filled with challenges, the last six months has certainly been a testing time for us, along with so many other retailers and businesses. Now more than ever, we must focus on rebuilding. We listen to our our customers, evaluate our experience and our product offering to ensure we have a business and range that is stronger than ever.
3. Do you think launching Mode Sportif as an e-commerce store, before a bricks and mortar store made a difference to its success?
Absolutely. We did things differently to most, starting online and then pivoting into traditional retail. But for me, being able to test the concept, build an Australian wide audience and a local community, meant that by the time we opened our first concept store, we had a strong demand. Retail and e-Commerce support one another, and after opening our first store in Paddington 4 years ago, our online business has seen incredible growth. Retail creates trust, and a touch point for a brand. I have always loved traditional retail, my first job was working at Bettina Liano in The Strand Arcade. For us the combination of retail and e-Commerce has worked hand in hand to allow Mode to grow to where it is today.
4. Any ideas on what the future of fashion may look like?
Now more than ever is a time for change in fashion. A post lockdown season feels different to before. The way people dress has shifted, the way we live our lives has changed and as always, the way we dress reflects our lifestyle. The industry as a whole is shifting to suit our new norm.
5. Current holiday destination you’re dreaming of?
My husband and I had a trip booked to Italy and The South Of France for June/July this year. We were so sad to cancel this summer getaway, our babies first holiday! So we are dreaming of aperols and salads in the sun on the Med and salty sea swims, and long lazy days.
6. What does a ‘normal’ day entail?
I have a four month old son, so I have a new norm balancing being a new mother and a business owner. I’ve always been someone who needs to be at my desk to be most productive, although COVID has changed that for me, I can really work anywhere, it’s been a good learning curve. No day is the same, but every day has beautiful time with my son, time for exciting work at Mode and just a little bit of time for me. :)
7. Your go-to weekend look?
My weekend uniform is- Agolde jeans, The Range Tank, Blaze Milano Blazer, Olenich coat and Veja Sneakers all from Mode Sportif. Im loving neutral tones right now, and comfort is key!
8. What made you feel called to work with WFG?
Co- Founder Pip Best and I went to school together and when Pip told me about this wonderful concept I was just so excited. I’m so proud to be able to be involved with such a beautiful brand making lasting change. I have had a lot of enquiries about my pregnancy wardrobe and people hoping to buy some of my pieces, so I thought no better edit to donate to Worn for Good for my first drop. Fashion for a good cause and a better future? I’m hooked.