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EXCLUSIVE: Rakuten Reinvigorates Its Partnership With NYFW: The Shows With More Access to Shoppers

Rakuten is entering the second season of its partnership with NYFW: The Shows with a fresh lineup of deals and exclusive access moments this month. Building on the excitement it built for its fashion-loving members in September, the platform will once again give its users exclusive access to pre-sale on select items seen on the runway and has tapped celebrity stylist Erin Walsh to share her curation of designer looks inspired by the latest trends.

In conversation, Vicki Wagner McRae, senior vice president of brand, creative and communications at Rakuten, told WWD that Rakuten sees New York Fashion Week as an incredible place for the company to play “because it’s a center stage for trends, designer fashion and style.” These are all things that Rakuten is focused on serving up to its shoppers — especially Millennial women.

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“Rakuten has a unique place at NYFW because it gives shoppers an inside track to what they already love by helping them score coveted designer items first, exclusively and with a cash-back deal that makes shopping even more fun and rewarding,” said McRae. “Our goal is to continue to remind fashion lovers and savvy shoppers that Rakuten is the most rewarding way to shop from all your favorite designer brands and retailers.”

NYFW, she said, has already been a great platform for Rakuten to reach these target customers and tell its story.

PatBo FW24 mood board: “Femme Frames: Crafted by women, inspired by women. Our vision of the empowered Woman.”
PatBo FW24 mood board: “Femme Frames: Crafted by women, inspired by women. Our vision of the empowered Woman.”

Notably, Rakuten created news at NYFW in February 2023 with its partnership with Christian Siriano when he designed the yellow plaid suit for the company’s 2023 Super Bowl commercial. During fashion week the platform also launched exclusive pieces designed by Siriano and inspired by Clueless. The shoppable “Not-So-Clueless” curation of apparel and accessories was available on Rakuten.com.

“The fashion arena is such an organic place for Rakuten to show up in fun and unexpected ways,” said McRae. “We love bringing our members in on what we’re doing and helping them directly benefit from our creative partnerships. Now, we’re embarking on another season of our NYFW partnership with the assurance that we have an important role to play at the biggest fashion moment of the year in the U.S. NYFW has been an incredible platform for us to meaningfully connect the benefits of Rakuten to what shoppers love — savings and first-access to designer fashion.”

Prabal Gurung FW24 mood board: “Fragmented memories.”
Prabal Gurung FW24 mood board: “Fragmented memories.”

Moreover, McRae told WWD, that Rakuten saw such success and engagement from its offerings last season that led this season’s programming to remain very similar.

This season Rakuten’s four partnering designers include Prabal Gurung, Sergio Hudson and PatBo. Each designer will be featured on Rakuten’s platform and members will receive early access and cash back to purchase select items from their runway collections this season.

Sergio Hudson FW 24 mood board.
Sergio Hudson FW 24 mood board.

The fourth designer with an exclusive partnership with Rakuten this season is Rachel Scott of Diotima, a designer and alum of the Black in Fashion Council (BIFC). McRae said that Rakuten has continued to expand on its ongoing partnership with BIFC to help grow and scale the businesses of Black designers. “Through this effort, we hope to shine a light that helps drive even more awareness for Rachel’s brand and the BIFC at large,” said McRae.

Bringing NYFW together in one place, Rakuten will again host its Wear the Runway shopping event to feature more than 40 designers and retailers. Shoppers can shop the event from Feb. 12 to 14 and receive 10 percent cash-back savings. Retailers and designers participating in the event include Theory, Bergdorf Goodman, COS, Moda Operandi, Neiman Marcus and Shopbop, among others.

The second iteration of the Wear the Runway event is making fashion even more accessible to shoppers with a partnership with celebrity stylist Erin Walsh, who will act as an expert to translate designer runway looks into wearable wardrobe must-haves, showing shoppers how they can make the pieces “come alive in their own closet.”

“Erin is helping Rakuten shoppers translate the runway into their everyday lives,” said McRae. Walsh’s trend reports and product curations will be featured on Rakuten’s social media channels throughout fashion week and feature designer items across a range of price points.

Diotima FW24 mood board: “Fall 2024 begins at the rum bar, in the lusciously undone moments at the end of a long night before day begins.”
Diotima FW24 mood board: “Fall 2024 begins at the rum bar, in the lusciously undone moments at the end of a long night before day begins.”

“At Rakuten, we’re always looking for new and fresh ways to get in front of shoppers who love designer fashion and remind them how easy it is to save on brands they love or discover new favorites,” said McRae. “For savvy shoppers, the thrill of getting first access to exclusive pieces before anyone else is made sweeter with the elevated cash-back savings from Rakuten. Rakuten is truly the most rewarding way to shop and our presence at NYFW is exemplary of how committed we are to showing up for shoppers to unlock new access, inspiration and exclusive savings that make shopping fun.”

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