‘The idea of Avenue 32 was born out of the desire to create a platform for designers where they could cut out the middleman and communicate directly with the customers,’ founder Roberta Benteler says. ‘We’re offering something more exclusive for the fashion-savvy customer who doesn’t want to be dictated to by the buyer.’
Why the ‘avenue’ emphasis? The site is based on Avenue Montaigne, Paris’s ultimate shopping stretch. Benteler originally wanted to create a street-like interface down which shoppers could digitally wander, popping into any boutiques that caught their fancy. Instead, ‘it’s a metaphor for the street,’ with a cleaner format that retains the window-shopping feel.
Benteler spent years in financial services before the economic downturn motivated her to take a longed-for step into fashion. She worked with former Browns buyer Erin Mullaney and a London-based team to assemble a mix of familiar and lesser-known fashion names. Brands lining this Avenue include Ohne Titel, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Yeojin Bae, Azzaro, Todd Lynn and Tim Ryan.
‘I was there in the showrooms when designers were deciding what they wanted to put up on the site, and I definitely pointed out a few pieces that I can’t wait to buy,’ Benteler says. ‘For me, it’s a dream come true.’