Their highly curated selection of clothing, footwear, and accessories, comes from all corners of the world, where the S&S staff travels to meet with makers and personally handpick what is going to hit the shelves every season.
Read what Jeremy Smith, Standard & Strange's co-founder, told us about running a successful operation while having a lot of fun.
Styleforum: How did you hear about Styleforum, and in what capacity did you start here as a member?
Jeremy Smith: I think I first heard of StyleForum around 2008 or 2009 – started out mostly in Streetwear and Denim, and still primarily post there.
SF: When did you realize that you were interested in fashion?
JS: Before I was even a teenager, I realized that how we dress is a deeply coded reflection of ourselves, and I wanted to understand that language. I don’t really think about what we do as fashion, but as apparel, since we don’t play in the fashion space at all.
SF: When and how did you start your career in the clothing industry?
JS: Nearly 15 years ago, doing odd jobs in technology for clothing startups for free in return for access to factories, mills, pattern makers, brands, and trade shows.
SF: What is the best part of the job?
JS: Honestly, my amazing staff, and having built this business that lets me pay them well to do their work.
SF: What is your least favorite part?
JS: Same as everyone, backoffice work, taxes, paperwork, and all that.
SF: How do you stay up to date with the clothing industry and current trends?
JS: I don’t really care about the industry or trends to be honest. We travel a lot and observe what people wear and what they ask for in-store. The industry wants to push trend way too early for merchants (we had a GORP-heavy line-up in 2013, and wide chinos in 2014), which doesn’t reflect the reality of how customers want to dress. New technologies in fabric production or sewing don’t impact us, as those benefit only the large mega-brands, and often don’t produce truly sustainable, high-value goods.
SF: What’s the single item from any collection you are most proud of?
JS: It’s our Wakayama special loopwheel t-shirt. It’s the best loopwheel tee around, period.
SF: What product did you make that you thought would be a hit, but bombed?
JS: We made a collaboration western shirt with Blluemade and Lauren from W’Menswear. Total flop.
SF: You have had some of the most amazing marketing campaigns I’ve seen in the industry. My favorite was a series of ASCII ads you ran a few years back. Can you tell me how you come up with these ideas, and what are some of your favorites?
JS: Most of them are spur-of-the-moment ideas that take way too long to execute. I think the ASCII emails might be the best one we’ve ever done.
SF: I know that you get a lot in from Japan. How has buying changed over the years, in terms of communications with vendors and customers?
JS: During the pandemic, we definitely struggled with our relationships with our Japanese suppliers. Our willingness to get on a plane and go, all the time, is how we built such tight relationships in the first place, and that started to slip as time went on during the pandemic. We definitely missed out on a lot of styles we would have picked up.
Now that we've returned to Japan, we're able to really dial in what we're buying, but a lot of things are delayed or even cancelled across the board. If you see something you want, buy it, because we don't know when we'll get another, especially with leather jackets and boots.
SF: What are three pieces of advice you would give to your younger self?
JS: Start sooner, trust your gut, don’t listen to consultants.
SF: What did you wear to your first ever job interview?
JS: Jeans and a tee shirt.
SF: Describe yourself using only 3 words.
JS: Contrary, thoughtful, ADHD
SF: Tell us about your hobbies outside of fashion.
JS: My hobbies are woodworking, sewing, running, and reading. Used to ride motorcycles but haven’t had time to get back on a bike after my last (small) accident.
SF: What is making you happy today?
JS: Today – got back from a great trip to Japan, which was the first time with our long-time Oakland salesperson, Gen, who had a blast.
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