Wardrobe.NYC Wants to Dress You Forever
So tell me about this idea, give me your pitch.
JG So this is Wardrobe NYC. We design and develop what we think are the most essential items you need in your wardrobe for the season - and forever. We source everything in Italy, develop and produce everything there as well, and we sell it as one pack. You can get a four-piece or an eight-piece, so there’s only eight pieces in each collection, men’s and women’s. There’s almost a genderless current across both, with a couple of exceptions. We’re really into this idea of modern ensemble dressing; we designed them as individual items, but merchandise them as looks, so you’re not just buying pieces you’re buying ensembles. We like the great versatility importance of having great staples that you can rely on day after day after day. And it’s direct to the consumer - it’s only available on our website, and because it’s direct we’re giving people unprecedented value for true luxury goods, goods of this quality are almost unaffordable, certainly for most people. But why shouldn’t people be able to wear the best, why shouldn’t they be able to wear great-quality clothes? So we tried to make it more affordable, more accessible.
Why buy a wardrobe?
JG I think it comes a lot from our own dressing habits and our personal style. We both felt like we kind of wear a uniform, the same things all the time, but they’re also really hard to find - like where’s the perfect t-shirt? There’s literally thousands of them out there. Where do you go to get the perfect black blazer?
I think of this as anti-fashion, is that the idea?
JG Yeah, exactly right... Here’s the thing about fashion, by definition it’s trend-based to start with, and this is not that - it’s not about trends, it’s about forever dressing. These pieces will never go out of style. So it’s anti-fashion in that sense, it’s also a kind of anti-fashion model for a whole variety of reasons, whether it’s the buy-now, see-now element, or whether it’s the fact that it’s direct to consume, it’s just a whole different model. We also call it anti fast fashion, because it’s almost the opposite of fast fashion. We want to make pieces that, instead of being disposable, you can keep them forever, and rather than make them as cheaply as possible, we want to make them… they cost what they cost but we’re offering what we think of as an extreme value proposition. So for the four-piece men’s pack, it’s 1500 - it’s a suit, a shirt, and a t-shirt.
Do you think fashion is by definition excessive and consumptive?
CC Yeah. I think it can be for sure. I think this goes against all of that. It provides a solution, you have pieces that can conform to your wardrobe or that you can put together. By having great quality essentials in one’s wardrobe, it means you aren’t constantly searching for something that you might not have. It alleviates the need to have so much stuff.
JG One idea we had in the beginning was this is all about less. We’re trying to make what you don’t find in luxury these days - this is about quality and design without excess. And that’s a departure from what luxury has become in today’s world. The thing about essentials is these are needs-based things, these are things that most people actually need. And you don’t need much else.
I’m reminded of this quote I came across about a tribe in Africa, there was this phrase that struck me, “affluence without abundance,” this reminds me of that - like they live an affluent lifestyle but they don’t have a lot of stuff.
JG We looked at a lot of stuff like that in the early stages, there’s an artist based in Palm Springs, her name is Andrea Zittell. She’s got some really interesting stuff out there in print, in her manifesto she talks about some of these things, like ‘affluence without abundance’ and patterns of consumption and that less is more - she says it in much more poetic terms. She actually provoked a lot of thought in us, it’s like a collective conscious - the way people live and think and consume are changing.