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In-person music festivals have resumed after a pandemic hiatus. Among them, Revolve’s invitation-only Coachella-adjacent festival returned in May, with celebrity sightings, an Instagrammable pink swing and performances by American rappers Post Malone and Jack Harlow. But the Los Angeles-based company that calls itself the “next generation” fashion retailer now faces a very different world – one where it is no longer run by the next generation and where its focused approach on the data is not singular.
Market pressures are mounting for Revolve to prove it can maintain the momentum of its past in the new era of TikTok and the nascent metaverse. Despite a strong financial performance in the first quarter of this year, Revolve stock has faced a selloff since May due to apparent doubts about its future growth potential. M Science analyst Matt Jacob says recent warnings from Revolve management that supply chain issues could limit product availability have also spooked investors. “The investor group is not used to a company downplaying expectations,” says Jacob.
The fashion retailer that once defined bohemian festival dressing and pioneering influencer marketing is 19 years old and looking to connect with the daughters (and sons, at Revolve Man) of its first customers. Many of the millennials who came of age by reading blogs about Revolve’s mini dresses and micro bikini tops are now mothers — and wealthier. They often look for clothes that enhance their power and sophistication or are office-appropriate. They are increasingly unimpressed with their own Instagram feeds, which are clogged with ads and algorithm-driven reels.
Therefore, Revolve is determined to evolve and plan for a post-Instagram world. It places more emphasis on catering to its older and now wealthier customers through its sister site Fwrd, which launched in 2019 and sells brands including The Row, Khaite and Peter Do.
“The Olsen twins’ journey is pretty much the same,” says Revolve co-founder Michael Mente, noting that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen once epitomized the festival’s fluid, bohemian look but grew and launched The Row, intended to adults. women with sleek, minimalist, and meticulously crafted designer clothes that appeal to millennials — and their elders.
“Maybe when you’re in your twenties you’ll go to Coachella in a flowy dress and a flower crown,” Mente says. “That’s exactly why Revolve exists in its zone and Fwrd exists in its zone.”