Three years ago, when Coral Chung and Wendy Wen were gearing up to launch Senreve — a handbag line catered to working professionals — they were urged by advisors, by industry veterans who were experts in the traditional fashion and luxury space to partner with Barneys New York for their debut. “They said, ‘That’s the only way you’re going to get your brand out there,'” Chung recalls. Instead of heeding their advice, the co-founders, determined to do things their own way, opted to take the direct-to-consumer route. Now, Barneys New York, an iconic institution that was once thought to be an invincible retail force, has fallen after declaring bankruptcy and then being tragically sold for parts like a sad, broken-down car. It’s rather alarming how rapidly things have changed in three years — for traditional retailers, at least. It’s sent brick-and-mortar establishments into an existential crisis and it’s driven many retail experts to firmly believe that the future lies in the power of digitally native direct-to-consumer brands. Read more at Fashionista.