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Random Fashion Thoughts (Part 3: Style farmer strikes back) - our general discussion thread

jbie

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Are there any brands from the past decade that have seen big growth without PE investment? Seems like every other week I hear about another BoF feature on PE-backed brands trying to exit.
 

zissou

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Relatively smaller collab runs are bound to be more expensive to produce and more difficult to sell (new patterns, smaller fabric runs, limited interest). So, brands either have to charge higher prices than standard products or use cheaper materials if they want to keep the pricepoint lower.
 

cb200

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Are there any brands from the past decade that have seen big growth without PE investment? Seems like every other week I hear about another BoF feature on PE-backed brands trying to exit.
ALD and Kith came to mind at first, but no they've taken funding on for growth. A Cold Wall took money grew and had a full exit. That may not be repeated in that realm. Taking money does bake in the need to grow and for a return for the investors. I always think it starts a count down the moment they do, so a lot of the DTC plays and low interest rate stuff that might have given brands promising stories has kind of died while the clock was running out on them, and you're seeing that exit move five years later.

I do know that as a business grows in apparel it can take everything to go back into funding next years products and marketing. There's some pretty major canyons to bridge as you scale up and it's a good problem that hopefully brands and their management get to solve. I'd love there to be paths for viable smaller independent brands that take in low seven figures, get there bootstrapped, make great stuff, with good people, and stay there and keep just going and be the right size.
 

jbie

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ALD and Kith came to mind at first, but no they've taken funding on for growth. A Cold Wall took money grew and had a full exit. That may not be repeated in that realm. Taking money does bake in the need to grow and for a return for the investors. I always think it starts a count down the moment they do, so a lot of the DTC plays and low interest rate stuff that might have given brands promising stories has kind of died while the clock was running out on them, and you're seeing that exit move five years later.

I do know that as a business grows in apparel it can take everything to go back into funding next years products and marketing. There's some pretty major canyons to bridge as you scale up and it's a good problem that hopefully brands and their management get to solve. I'd love there to be paths for viable smaller independent brands that take in low seven figures, get there bootstrapped, make great stuff, with good people, and stay there and keep just going and be the right size.
Over the past few days I’ve been really diving deep into Bode, which as far as I know hasn’t taking on any outside investment according to Lauren Sherman on Puck back in 2023. It sounds like they have been profitable from the start but top line figures haven’t broken past $10m (according to that same report). It’s probably helpfully that Emily Bode herself probably had some money as a cushion to get to that point, so that shouldn’t be discounted. Now it’s a question of if they would take on outside investment, and there have been rumours of LVMH Luxury Ventures investing with a minority stake.

ALD is actually an interesting case because they have actually benefitted from LVV - not sure how that breaks out in the finances exactly but given their recent success I’m sure the investment has helped.

A Cold Wall I think might have been independent for some time but later got investment (and recently got fully bought out by) Tomorrow Group, which has a few other UK based brands like Charles Jeffery in its roster. But it sounds like the Group management is fairly hands off and running their portfolio in a similar way to OTB (Margiela, Diesel etc.)

Good point on the interest rates - I know ALC and a few other PE-backed brands are looking for buyers after benefitting from that readily available debt years ago.

On that last point, I have been thinking more and more about whether some level of stasis as far as company size goes is broadly possible, and not being tempted by continued growth. There’s obviously the smaller companies with cult followings that we all know, but I think they all exhibit a much wider range of financial health than one might initially presume.
 

casterofdreams

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Relatively smaller collab runs are bound to be more expensive to produce and more difficult to sell (new patterns, smaller fabric runs, limited interest). So, brands either have to charge higher prices than standard products or use cheaper materials if they want to keep the pricepoint lower.
Finding that perfect in-between with both brands would be difficult I’d imagine. You don’t want to overprice something outside of the normal price range. A brand operates in and you don’t want to lower the price point or quality of a product and risk the reputation of another brand. Has there ever been a collab run where it elevated one or both brands?

As a side note using Nike again: the FW2019 collab between Nike and Sacai saw something I’ve personally never see before.

Sacai has a line of clothing labeled under the “Classics” where every year (or twice a year) they release the same line of clothing. Generally considered basic or essential clothing. Hoodies, sweatshirts, coats, etc. Stuff that isn’t part of any seasonal collection. Their bread and butter is the hybridization of two separate materials spliced together. For the last few years, they release the hoodies and sweatshirts that combined this sponge sweat material (a blend of cotton and polyester — used to be nylon, with a very thin layer of polyester fill), and nylon panels of an MA–1 bomber jacket. Usually costing around $600 give or take. Here an example:
IMG_1612.jpeg

For the FW2019 collab, Nike and Sacai released a hoodie that looks exactly like the above at a price of $275. Obviously the material is quite different, with the body comprising of their standard single layer tech fleece material (cotton/poly blend) and the nylon panels being a bit thinner. Here’s the hoodie:
IMG_1613.jpeg

From a design perspective, they’re pretty damn close. I’m just trying to understand how this benefitted Sacai. I’d usually want to keep my designs for my own brand rather than sharing them with someone else and selling it at a lower price. It cheapens the unique design, almost as if Nike’s version was a knock off.

I’m a nerd I’m sorry 😅
 

K. Nights

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This must be how we're going to Children of Men ourselves. Polyester underwear
 

double00

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This must be how we're going to Children of Men ourselves. Polyester underwear

they posit ' electrostatic potentials ' as a possible mechanism , pretty interesting .

fwiw i'm rocking baby rib 65 cotton 35 poly blend but there's a decent chance i'm sterile anyways I haven't bothered to check
 

cb200

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I’m just trying to understand how this benefitted Sacai. I’d usually want to keep my designs for my own brand rather than sharing them with someone else and selling it at a lower price
Ability to target different customer segment and wider distribution through Nike's larger number of retailers. Appeal to aspirational buyers of the brand without diluting brand value through discounting of own brand while maintaining price integrity and framing of their brand.
 

LA Guy

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This must be how we're going to Children of Men ourselves. Polyester underwear
Don't look at me. I've worn performance boxer briefs forever, and I have 3 kids of my own.
 

double00

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Don't look at me. I've worn performance boxer briefs forever, and I have 3 kids of my own.our

but how's your briefs-wearing doggo faring ya heartless jerk ?!

I suspect bipedalism may be a confounding factor in that study they could've at least used monkeys or prisoners

I mean if I had a tail to wag my underwear would be hella warmer is all I'm saying
 

casterofdreams

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Ability to target different customer segment and wider distribution through Nike's larger number of retailers. Appeal to aspirational buyers of the brand without diluting brand value through discounting of own brand while maintaining price integrity and framing of their brand.
Yeah that makes sense. I wasn’t complaining but was curious. Still a fan of both brands!
 

garigo

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Who makes a cool half / quarter zip sweatshirt? I was thinking of Drake's but it's sold out in my size.

drakes-polos-sweatshirts-navy-cotton-quarter-zip-sweatshirt-mens_1.jpg
 

zissou

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I picked up both colorways of the hoodie and t-shirt. I thought they were alright. The kangaroo pocket and that second hood were disappointing though.

I also picked up the full set of the base layer. That was the better purchase for me.

I tried the 50/50 jacket at Dover Street Market in Manhattan. It was incredibly disappointing. I was going in thinking it would be something close to the Summit Series 50/50 Breithorn jacket (I don’t own it, but when I tried it out, I liked it), but it wasn’t even close. No internal pockets. I’ll stick with the standard Breithorn.

The employee mentioned that outside of the 800 ProDown, it’s purely a fashion piece, not a technical one. And that’s okay. It just wasn’t for me.

They announced a second series today.

Edit: I found that some of the Nike Gyakusou and Nike Undercover stuff was much better. Here are some of those examples:
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Now that I've had a chance to try it all on, I'm happy with about 90% of it. All the baselayers and midlayers fit well, and the dot-knit hoody and tee had a nice amount of slouch while still fitting well. All of the fabrics felt so cozy and warm. The construction of the outerwear was all pretty impressive. I feel like I could have gone down a size on the 50/50 mountain jacket and the geodesic shell, but I am doing my best to embrace the purposely roomy fit. The two misses for me were the hiking boots and the gaiter. The boots were some of the worst things I've ever put on my feet- no support, flimsy materials, basically felt like cheap fashion boots rather than hiking boots. The gaiter had no way of staying up on my face other than cinching it tight and making my nose hold it on my face.
 

Iskander

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Question: I've got an old pair of Alden milkshake suede moc toes from a time when I would get infatuated with an item without considering how to incorporate it into my style.
I have troubles with pairing the colour of them properly. They look pretty good with washed denim, but that's kind of it? They are just really bright and require kind of a tonal outfit to prevent them from standing out in an awkward way.

Still, I weirdly like them and want to give them another chance before I sell them. Any other ideas on how to pair them?
 

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