Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.
Having worked with many talented and independent fashion designers as a PR professional, Bloomingdale knew that not all of them had the opportunity or, wanted to for that matter, “to go the wholesale route.” At the same time, she also noticed that design collaborations and limited-edition capsule collections were becoming an important element of fashion that excited both designers and their fan base. So Bloomingdale put two and two together, and that’s how The SIL was born in 2018—as a digital boutique of “curated exclusives” that you can’t find anywhere else online, all created by independent female designers.
And “curated” is really the keyword here.
Bloomingdale only works with designers—about 20 of them as of right now— who put the quality of their pieces before anything else. That has helped her not only to attract a refined customer base but also to find designers who specialize in producing made-to-order pieces from fabrics that are not meant to be mass-produced.
“The platform exemplifies all of the things I am going for in my designs—uniquely sophisticated garments with exceptional quality and wearability. My textiles are often hand-loomed, hand-dyed, artisan embroidered and—or—hand-stamped,’ say designer Sue Sartor whose line for The SIL includes hand-piped floral kaftans and cotton tiered woodblock print dresses. Because her fabrics are produced in small batches, her pieces “aren't conducive to big-box retail.”
Handbag designer Hayden Lasher says that Bloomingdale’s impeccable taste and savvy entrepreneurship are the driving force behind her partnership with The SIL.
“[…] all of the designers are highly curated and so is the audience. It has given my business tremendous exposure to a very targeted group,” Lasher adds.
“Morgan Hutchison, the designer of Buru, had some beautiful fabrics in limited yardage and offered exclusive styles for The SIL customer. I found Jan McLaughlin’s work while in Houston. Her pieces are all made in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and are exquisite. We launched her Mexican coin earrings recently—I’ve never seen anything like them. They’re stunning,” says Bloomingdale.
Wickstead, the New Zealand designer who counts among her fans Kate Middleton and pretty much all of Hollywood, has created a version of her A-line Alice dress in a gorgeous cobalt blue hue for The SIL. A second dress, this one in hunter green, is coming up for pre-fall.
And speaking of hunter green, if something in The SIL’s look seems a little familiar, you’re not mistaken.
Bloomingdale who lives in Los Angeles loves spending time at The Polo Lounge in The Beverly Hills Hotel—an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property—so the property’s signature colors even inspired those of the platform.
“The Beverly Hills Hotel is a very happy place for me. Merely driving by the 'Pink Palace' on Sunset Boulevard brings a smile to my face,” she says. “During the branding process for The SIL, I wanted to evoke the essence of the storied hotel, since the optics have such a positive connotation for me. For example, we use green and white stripes and blush pink bows in some of the packaging, and The SIL’s logo incorporates a script similar to that of the hotel,” she explains.
So it probably comes as no surprise that the first collaboration The SIL ever did was with this legendary LA property. Bloomingdale asked some of the designers to work on a capsule collection inspired by the colors (that hunter green!) and signature style of the Beverly Hills Hotel. The collection was then presented at a two-day trunk show at the hotel.
“The beauty of the way some of these brands operate is in their openness to custom work, which obviously involves direct communication between client and designer. One of the purposes of The SIL is to widen each designer’s network of support and admiration, and I truly couldn’t think of a more delightful place to do that [than the Beverly Hills hotel].”