Brand Profile: M. Gemi

There’s something about New York City during the holidays.

It’s almost criminal to duck into the subway on your commute when the streets are lined with tree stands and Christmas lights. Then, of course, there are the window displays.

Extravagant only begins to describe it. These windows demand your attention, never failing to draw crowds of onlookers. I recently walked home via Madison Avenue so I could see the best of the best, a willing victim of the big players in luxury fashion. I was practically begging New York to show off for me. Yet, instead of the awe I was anticipating, I realized something quite startling: these names I’ve grown up hearing about – studying, researching, even pining after – meant nothing to me. I didn’t feel anything when I walked by the shops. What happened? Continue reading

Brand Profile: Tradlands

I’ve loved this company for awhile now, but then I saw this post on their blog and decided their brand profile just couldn’t wait any longer.

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Tradlands is a maker of menswear-inspired staples, designing pieces that are truly tailored for women. Every detail has been taken into consideration: whether that’s the 8-button front to eliminate awkward gaping, or the slightly longer hem so your shirt stays tucked when you’re on the move. These shirts have substance – a far cry from the tissue paper you’ll find passing for fabric at other retailers. That’s because a Tradlands button down is meant to last for a long long time. Continue reading

Brand Profile: Elizabeth Suzann

In an age when the word “Amazon” no longer merely refers to an online retailer, but is more frequently used as if it was an economic theory (“the Amazon effect”), the concept of a 2-3 week ship window seems nearly archaic, an unfathomable inconvenience experienced by people of generations past. With free two-day shipping, overnight delivery, and even 1-hour windows available, why would we have any reason to wait more than 48 hours for a new purchase to arrive at our doorstep? Faster is always better, right?

Elizabeth Suzann would beg to differ.

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Brand Profile: Oliver Cabell

This past week saw the addition of another fashion brand to the ranks of those who go above and beyond to offer pricing and sourcing transparency to their customers. Retailers like Zady and Everlane have been pioneers in this shift toward honest and open engagement with consumers about the products they make. Whether this involves naming the places where a brand sources its fibers, fabrics, and findings, or laying bare a brand’s pricing strategy and inviting consumers to gain a better understanding of what it costs to make their clothing, these subtle changes have huge implications for an industry that has traditionally operated behind closed doors.

When a brand voluntarily provides what has always been considered a trade secret, they aren’t just supplying long sought-after answers: they’re giving consumers the information they need in order to start asking better questions. Part of the reason the dirty secrets of the fashion industry remain so well hidden is because we as consumers don’t realize we aren’t getting the whole picture. If I am unaware of the fact that my clothing had an entire life before I purchased it, why would I ever think to look into the details of that story? Continue reading

Brand Profile: Eileen Fisher

It’s high time we discussed the undisputed frontrunner of sustainable fashion.

“We don’t want sustainability to be our edge. We want it to be universal.” —Eileen

Eileen Fisher started designing clothes in order to solve an issue many of us face: she was having trouble getting dressed. She kept imagining clothing that could easily go together: simple shapes, beautiful fabrics and colors, and proportions that lent themselves to seamless outfit options. In 1984, without even knowing how to sew, she set out to make this vision of simple dressing a reality.

Since then, her initial four shapes have expanded into a full-blown collection with some pretty ambitious goals. Enter Vision2020:

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100% organic cotton and linen, wool from humanely-raised sheep on sustainably-managed farms, Tencel instead of rayon, and recycled polyester instead of virgin. Less water, less carbon, and less fabric waste on the cutting room floor. Committing to bluesign certified technologies for responsible chemical, energy, and water usage and collaborating with other brands to increase demand for responsible dyes. Following their supply chain back to the beginning and ensuring all participants are treated fairly and empowered to voice their concerns along the way. And finally taking back your well-loved pieces to resell or recycle into raw materials for future collections.

Overwhelmed yet? Continue reading

Brand Profile: Dear Survivor

I recently fell in love with Dear Survivor after finding them on Instagram. Once I made it over to their website, I found beautiful jewelry, hand-crafted leather accessories, and an incredible story. The heart behind these products became clear, and I was deeply moved by founder Christine Longoria’s mission for her company.

But I wasn’t quite ready to purchase. I’ve read enough to make me skeptical of jewelry supply chains – especially when it comes to gemstones, leather, and metals – so I wanted some clarification. When I’ve reached this point in the past, I emailed the company or brand to ask my questions. My plan is always to wait for a response before I buy, which puts a purchase off for at least a few weeks (and sometimes indefinitely). So, without high expectations, I typed out a few of my questions and hit send. Continue reading

Brand Profile: Foremost

Affordable, American-made clothing coming your way.

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Today, after a year spent re-imagining the brand, Foremost launched their first collection for 2016: Release 01. They’re starting with the basics: crew and v-neck tees in an array of neutrals for both men and women. The lightweight fabric is a 50/50 blend of Supima Cotton and Micromodal, and the shirts themselves are designed in Texas and produced in California. New releases will be available every two weeks, with new collections about every 8 weeks – you can see what’s coming up on their website. Continue reading

Brand Profile: Hanger & Cloth

There are a few items we all have in our closets: a plain white t-shirt or the perfect pair of jeans for example. These items – though simple – are the foundation on which we build our wardrobe. Often times, however, the best basics are the products of meticulous design: in fact, they are really anything but basic.

Out of any clothing we wear, these are the items where details matters most. While you can easily find a white t-shirt at any retailer for any price, so many of these options just won’t make the cut. Finding a shirt (or pair of jeans or tank top) with the perfect fit, the perfect fabric, and the perfect price is truly a challenge – and we tend to hold on tight once we find our ideal combination of all three.

When Trent Robinson had trouble finding a t-shirt that met his criteria, he decided to create his own – bold move. Before long, this project turned into a brand: Hanger & Cloth. Continue reading

Brand Profile: Vetta Capsule

5 pieces, 30 outfits. Because it’s time we got over this “I have nothing to wear” nonsense.

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I am 100% guilty of spending countless mornings looking into my overstuffed closet and complaining that somehow, there still isn’t enough to pull together an outfit. When this happens, I take so long to make a decision that I end up rushing out the door wearing something I threw on at the last minute – usually something that doesn’t communicate my personal style at all. This experience – leaving the apartment late and wearing a bland outfit – is not a good way to start your day. What if getting dressed could be easy? What if you always felt confident in your clothing, even when wearing something you just threw on? Continue reading

Brand Profile: Taylor Stitch

The fashion industry is ripe for a little disruptive innovation. For years, we’ve had a system that changes with the seasons, introducing new products just a few times a year to stay in sync with the weather. This lumbering beast is quickly going extinct: the introduction of the fast fashion business model rendered this old method obsolete (or just a very quick way to go out of business). Retailers are scrambling to adapt, testing the waters of fast fashion in an attempt to stay relevant to consumers. This spring for example, select Gap stores will start the season by bringing in small batches of new styles. Once they’ve gained traction with customers, the stores will quickly place reorders for any strong sellers.

On paper, fast fashion is genius: it mitigates risk and allows retailers the flexibility to react to trends in season. Instead of front-loading their inventory (using all of their budget to bring in product at the beginning of the season), they bring in small test capsules of new styles and reserve a portion of what’s called their “open to buy” – the money they have in their wallets to spend on new merchandise for their stores. Once these initial capsules start selling, they have money available to place secondary orders and replenish their stock in the most popular styles. What if a style isn’t tracking well with customers? No problem – they didn’t buy very much of it to begin with, so it won’t clog up their inventory the way it would if they’d bought into it heavily before ever testing it in the market. Continue reading