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The changing face of fashion – and what this means for the future of shopping

August 18, 2020 · Life Style

We’ve all heard the story about the tortoise and the hare. The hare being the overconfident and complacent fast runner and the tortoise slowly, surely, thoughtfully beating him at the race. It’s a storyline that repeats itself throughout the fabric of our lives. We often hear about how our focus on quantity and instant gratification erodes the meaning in our lives and leaves us burnout and dissatisfied. And yet, over and over again we see this same scenario play out in different ways. 

You might be mistaken for thinking this fashion article is some sort of life coaching blog but ultimately our choices speak volumes about us, including at the check out. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does give us a moment of pause to reflect on what, and how, we are consuming. This isn’t a push for anti-consumerism, because it definitely isn’t. It’s a push for thoughtful consumerism. Shopping is fun, fashion is fun and we want to keep it that way, but we can’t deny that shopping will look different into the future… Especially at Stella Phoenix.

2020 has been a year of… How can we accurately describe… What the actual bleep? That’s probably the most polite way we could sum up the pandemic that has swept the globe and changed life as we know it. People have heartbreakingly lost their lives, their loved ones, their jobs, their sense of selves, and there have been many, many questions. While we are slowly adjusting to this new normal, we are also grieving what we have lost. Things that were never things have suddenly become things – for example, a recent one we’ve grappled with is, how do we conduct a photoshoot without being physically near each other – one that will survive a COVID-19 outbreak? A photoshoot might seem like a minor challenge to face, however without a photoshoot, we can’t get product to market. If we can’t get product to market, that has the potential to impact our team and their livelihoods. Very quickly something that we once took for granted as another step in the process becomes increasingly critical. Instead of lamenting about these challenges, we’ve instead seen the bright side – a chance to reimagine the way we do everything.

We’ve heard stories and read articles about the collapse of the fashion industry in the face of COVID-19 – and we’ve also started hearing about fashion brands evolving for survival. The funny thing about this is, the things that people commonly assumed were our weaknesses as a brand 12 months ago, have turned out to be our strengths. Someone once said to us, “you must release a new collection every 6 months.” There was something about this that didn’t land for us. Because rather than rush out more more more, we wanted to create less, but better. We wanted to honour the design process, invest in product development and create exceptional pieces that were right for our customers instead.  “People will never wait for it. Customers want everything now, now, now. They’ll go somewhere else,” we were warned.

But, so far, the opposite has been true. While our customers love shopping and are wowed and excited by new things (and have also messaged us laughing about their “dress shopping withdrawals” which we L O V E), they have also demonstrated that they are prepared to wait for those breathtaking pieces. Because, there’s an old adage that time and time again proves to be true – things worth having are worth the time and commitment, the investment, the wait. It makes the prize that much sweeter, in so many more ways than one. After all, patience is about endurance.

But with less weddings, and holidays and events and going out during COVID-19, who would be in the market for sparkly, glamorous outfits?

A customer said to us recently, “amazing heirloom clothing is right up there with magical family holidays.” And in a climate where many around the globe aren’t able to enjoy their special pieces while on holiday, they’re instead creating magical moments at home. Moments that their little ones will always treasure, regardless of the isolation – because kids will Princess anywhere that takes their fancy regardless of the ‘rules.’ It’s that kind of live in the moment mentality that is rather profound in the current climate. What we wear affects our mood, our sense of identity, how we express ourselves in the world. Being at home doesn’t have to mean living in sloppy Joe’s. Comfort doesn’t have to negate style.

If we said we aren’t a little nervous about doing fashion differently, we would be lying. In fact, anyone trying anything new for the first time will reasonably feel the same. But, to be honest, that’s how we know we’re onto something big. Because if we weren’t nervous, we frankly wouldn’t be aiming high enough. And, all we can do is try our best while we roll out our new pre-order model: learn, test, adjust.

We’re forever grateful for our loyal customers and the way they value the process we go through to create those perfect, magical pieces for their little ones to enjoy, no matter what’s going on in the outside world. They are here for the unforgettable fashion, and what we stand for. Another customer said to us last week, “Stella Phoenix is more than a label.” It’s that kind of feedback that lights us up and reminds us that our mission is bigger than us. After all, we’re not here to sell you outfits. We’re here to help you find your perfect piece/s for your special moments. There’s a distinct difference.

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Purchasing and Returns Info

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Please choose your purchases carefully as Stella Phoenix does not accept returns or issue refunds for change of mind, natural wear and tear or incorrect sizing. 

We provide a comprehensive size chart on our website to help you choose the correct sizing. Please refer to our size chart prior to making a purchase as we are unable to exchange sizes due to limited stock availability.

Stella Phoenix takes reasonable steps to ensure that the products we supply correspond closely to the samples and images on our website, social media and in our lookbooks. Due to variations in production runs, computer monitors, device screens, printing colour differences and natural imperfections in fabrics (especially natural fibres) there may be slight variations in colour, embellishment, pattern or construction from time to time. Stella Phoenix is not liable for these differences and will not accept returns on this basis.

Stella Phoenix has stringent quality control processes to ensure the quality of our products, including two separate quality control checks. It’s therefore highly unlikely for a customer to receive a faulty product. It is your responsibility to check the product immediately upon delivery, but in any case within at least 30 days, and advise us of any faults or damage so that we can resolve the issue for you. 

If you have received a Product with a fault, damage or defect, please contact us immediately at [email protected] and provide evidence of the fault, damage or defect along with proof of purchase.

The faulty Product must be returned to us prior to us processing your exchange or refund. 

To return the Product to us, please arrange to post the Product to us by registered post so that the Product can be tracked. In the event the Product is deemed to be faulty, damaged or defective, we will refund your return postage costs, so please keep your receipts. We won’t refund return postage costs of products that aren’t faulty, damaged or defective.

If the Product is confirmed to have a major fault, we will repair (if possible), exchange or provide a refund for the Product to your original payment method, as elected by you. 

If the Product has a minor fault, we will offer a store credit if a replacement is not available due to stock limitations or a full refund at our discretion.

Please allow up to 10 days for the refund or exchange to be processed.

Nothing in this clause is intended to exclude any of your statutory rights as a consumer under Australian Consumer Law.

While it is always our aim to minimise impact to customers, given the unprecedented impact of Coronavirus, there have been some temporary service interruptions to our business (like with many other businesses).

Stella Phoenix has stringent quality control and safety practices to keep our staff, contractors and customers as safe as possible. COVID-19 has affected our business in a number of ways, including fabric shortages, supply chain issues, limitations on business activities such as photoshoots, participation in fashion shows and other events, manufacturing and also worldwide shipping delays and
cancellations. COVID-19 has caused a global reduction in flights. Subsequently, all locations are likely to have shipping delays, including express post in Australia. We ask customers to factor in potential delays when they place their order and to understand we cannot guarantee usual shipping times.

Despite the significant increase in shipping costs, we will continue to cover shipping on full priced statement pieces over AUD$129 as an ordinary part of shopping with us. Please note this policy is subject to change.

We thank all of our customers for their continued understanding and support while we do our best to continue to serve you during this time while managing a fluid and often ambiguous global climate.

Made-to-order is the future of fashion. Ethical and sustainable fashion is good for humanity, the environment, local jobs and our global communities. In line with these values, Stella Phoenix is now only releasing items for purchase via made-to-order whereby a customer submits their order and payment, and Stella Phoenix will subsequently make the ordered item/s. Stella Phoenix will provide an estimated timeframe for your items to be manufactured [which is currently 10 business days from the date we receive your order] and shipped, however we cannot guarantee manufacturing or shipping timeframes and have no liability for such delays. Please note: an order is not considered received until we have confirmed it via email and received payment. We may, from time to time, release samples, or other ready made items, at our discretion, where it doesn’t compromise our values.

All garments have a care label and care instructions are also available on our website. Customers are responsible for following the care instructions correctly. Stella Phoenix will not accept return of items where damage has occurred due to incorrect cleaning or care.

Australia

Stella Phoenix generously provides free express shipping on all orders delivered within Australia totalling more than AUD $129. For orders totalling less than this amount, a flat rate of $10 will apply for express postage.

International

Stella Phoenix generously provides free standard shipping on USA and Rest of World orders totalling more than AUD $129. 

For orders totalling less than this amount, the following flat rates will apply for standard postage:

NZ: AUD $15

Asia, USA and Canada: AUD $15

Rest of World: AUD $25

Stella Phoenix uses third party courier companies and mail carriers to deliver customer orders. Each company has their own terms, conditions and processes which are outside of our control. Parcels are delivered according to the terms and conditions of the selected courier or carrier. Stella Phoenix is only responsible for your parcel up until the point it leaves our physical care. All risk in the Product shall pass to you upon delivery.

It is your responsibility to take care when opening the Product or packaging so as not to damage it. From the time when risk passes to you, we will not be liable for loss or damage to the Product except as otherwise provided below.

A person must be available at the specified shipping address to sign for delivery. If the courier company allows, you may grant them authority to leave the Product at a designated area (for example, at the front door) when placing your order. If you do, you understand and agree that this authority gives us and/or our couriers permission to leave the Product unattended at the place specified by you without obtaining a signature confirming delivery. In such circumstances, you understand and agree that by granting authority to leave the Products, we and our couriers are released of all responsibility and liability for the Products delivered and left unattended, and that this responsibility and liability transfers to you upon delivery.

Customers will receive an email confirming who is managing the delivery of their order, along with a tracking number. If your parcel does not arrive as expected, your first port of call is to contact the courier company or mail carrier, quoting your tracking number. If unresolved to your satisfaction, please make contact with us as a second step.

Stella Phoenix is not liable for delays or failure in delivery for circumstances that are outside our reasonable control (including third party policies and processes). For example, error or omission by courier companies/mail carriers or customs/importation processes. We are also not liable for delivery issues associated with limited access to the property or inaccurate/incomplete contact/address information provided by customers.

Delivery timeframes:

Delivery timeframes are approximate and provided as a guide only. Actual delivery times will depend on the courier service and your location.

We estimate our orders will be made in 10 business days from the date we receive your order. It will be packed and shipped by us within 1-2 business days of receiving the finished item/s from our sewing team.

Australia

We use Express post. Once shipped, please allow 1-3 days for Australia Post to deliver your order.

Rest of World

International deliveries will be sent via DHL and may take 7-14 business days depending on where you are located.

We recommend our customers make adequate time allowances for shipping delays when ordering to avoid disappointment. If your order is urgent, please email us at [email protected] prior to ordering.

The order price does not include or cover any applicable importation charges, taxes and duties for customers in the country where the order is to be delivered. The customer is responsible for such taxes and duties. Stella Phoenix has no control over customs or importation processes specific to each destination. We are not liable for customs delays or non-delivery of items due to customs policies and processes.

We reserve the right to refuse any order placed with us for any reason, at our sole discretion.
Only approved Stella Phoenix wholesalers are permitted to wholesale our product.
All orders placed with Stella Phoenix are for domestic use and products must not be resold unless previously organised.

Any retailer interested in wholesaling Stella Phoenix pieces is required to fill out a Wholesale Application Form.

Approved retailers will be required to sign a Stella Phoenix Wholesale Agreement. All terms and conditions pertaining to our wholesale relationship will be as per this agreement.

Please note that minimum order amounts apply and product must be paid for upfront. Stella Phoenix does not wholesale on consignment. For drop shipping arrangements, product must be paid for upfront and a quarterly warehousing management fee applies.

If retailers wish to avoid this fee, it is recommended they ship the product upon purchase and manage their own warehousing.

Stella Phoenix may decline a Wholesale Application, for any reason, at our discretion. We reserve the right to revoke our Wholesale Agreement at any time, for any reason.

This contract is governed by the laws of Queensland, Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia and such other laws which are applicable in the country where the consumer is resident.

Stella Phoenix puts a lot of effort into providing a personalised service to our customers. If you have any questions or feedback please email us at [email protected] as we love hearing from you.

Please also email us if you have a complaint. We will endeavour to respond to your complaint within 5 business days of acknowledging our receipt of it. If you submit a complaint and do not receive a written acknowledgement, please contact us again to double check it has been received.

We pride ourselves on the quality of our customer service and will make every reasonable attempt to resolve a problem or complaint to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.

In the event that you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you may refer the complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

From 2019 onwards, all new Stella Phoenix pieces come with a certificate of authenticity. Each certificate will have a tracking number and other security features to prevent certificate fraud. If you receive your new item without a certificate of authenticity, or you suspect you’ve received a fraudulent item and certificate, please email us immediately at [email protected]

Please note that any suspected copy or fraud of our products, certificates, branding or IP will be referred to law enforcement agencies and vigorously pursued.

Please ensure you keep your certificate safe. If you decide to apply to ‘sell back’ your items in our pre-loved program, you will be required to provide it.

Stella Phoenix may choose to offer samples for sale at a discounted price. These items may have been worn and may also have minor faults or defects. The known faults or defects will be disclosed to the customer prior to purchase, however the customer accepts that there may be other faults or defects unknown to us. The customer purchases the product knowing it may not present or perform to the standard of a new, full priced garment. Stella Phoenix is not liable for the faults and defects on sample items and will not accept returns.

Please note that any third-party website or platform advertising discount codes for Stella Phoenix are not authorised by us, nor will be honoured.

Stella Phoenix cares first and foremost about the safety and wellbeing of our little customers. We therefore have stringent safety practices that we implement in our design. Our pieces undergo stringent quality control before being shipped to customers. This safety warning is a friendly reminder for parents, guardians and supervising adults.

Our pieces may contain small parts, including but not limited to sewn-in buttons, removable buttons, studs, sequins, beads, appliqués and other embellishments that may present a choking hazard to babies and small children.

Stella Phoenix Gift Certificates are valid for a period of 3 years and expire either on the expiration date as specified on the certificate, or in the case that the company ceases to trade or goes into liquidation.

Gift Certificates are not transferrable for cash, must be spent before the expiration date and are non refundable.

The Gift Recipient is non transferrable.

In instances where the purchase total is less than the Gift Certificate amount, no change will be given.

To redeem a Gift Certificate, customers must use the unique one time code on their certificate at the check out. Gift Certificates cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts.

In instances whereby Stella Phoenix suspects Gift Certificate fraud, the order will not be honoured, at our discretion.

If a customer submits a PayPal claim (or other third party payment provider claim) for a refund and that refund is awarded by PayPal or the other third party, the customer has 7 days to return the relevant item/s to Stella Phoenix at their own expense.

If the item is not returned within the specified timeframe, is lost or otherwise not received, without valid reason, Stella Phoenix will vigorously pursue criminal charges with law enforcement for stolen goods at our sole discretion.