After traveling to a base camp on the slopes of Mount Everest, Lona Alia had an epiphany about how the fundamentals of the fashion industry. “I traveled with only one piece of luggage, which was very small, for four months,” Alia said. “I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I was able to rent something in these places I went to because I was going from one climate to the next and one continent to the next.” A former model, Alia has spent a career immersed in the industry she’s now changing. She is now the founder of Style Lend, a peer-to-peer online marketplace for women to rent high-end clothing, which she discussed on the 30th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.Read More
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If you take the apparel industry and strip away all of the noise, you’ll find a company called Loomia trying reinvent the very foundation of how industry interacts with technology. And you’ll find Loomia CEO Janett Martinez detailing her vision for the future of clothing, which she discussed on the 29th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.Read More
“One simple motion, eight arms extend themselves synchronously, it’s a surprisingly complex mechanism.” David Kahng talks about umbrellas the way a scientist might talk about the advanced robotics of the Hubble space telescope. But this attention to detail and focus on engineering is exactly why Kahng co-founded Davek, a brand rethinking umbrellas from the ground up, which he discussed on the 28th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast.Read More
When you listen to Carrie Hammer talk about everything that came before Role Models Not Runway Models, it’s easy to see why she known for so much more than just designing clothes. On the 27th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, Hammer talked about building her eponymous clothing line and how it led her to create a movement with larger and more socially conscious aims. It’s not a story that begins with her Forbes 30 Under 30 selection or a profile in Entrepreneur Magazine, but back when Hammer was a young woman disheartened with a career in advertising.Read More
Part I of this series looked at the changing landscape of brand longevity and how the traditional formulas that used to make brands defensible are now obsolete. Part II proposed a new formula that harnesses networks as the only defensible moat for physical goods brands. Now, Part III looks at how brands can 1) use branded tokens and network-based incentives to grow; 2) how these mechanisms reshape customer acquisition and unit economics, and 3) what these changes mean for companies and investors.Read More
Alana Branston is the kind of person who believes retail isn’t dead. After all, she used to work in a toy store. But on Episode 26 of the Loose Threads Podcast, Branston talked about co-founding Bulletin, a start-up that is rethinking retail by providing emerging brands with turnkey storefronts and brick-and-mortar locations where they can reach audiences offline.Read More
Part I explored how the internet fundamentally changed the playbook for building durable physical goods brands. Before the internet, mastering product, brand, distribution—signified as (product + brand + distribution)—was enough to make a brand defensible, specifically in the apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories and furniture space. Additionally, a small set of brands, usually in the luxury space, built their companies on (product + brand + distribution) x community. Companies that built communities are more defensible than ones that didn't, but keeping these communities intact and enviable is unscalable.Read More
The women behind Pivotte started their clothing company with a simple realization: Performance apparel that flies in the workplace doesn’t need to be exclusively for men. Pivotte is here to do more than just bring gender equality to fashion. But co-founder Yehua Yang, who spoke on the 25th episode of The Loose Threads Podcast, said that she and co-founder Evelyn Frison struggled to find outfits that complemented their active lifestyle.Read More
How does one build a brand that lasts for centuries? Today, in the consumer goods space—specifically in apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories, and furniture—it's an especially challenging quandary given the ferocious speed at which Amazon and fast fashion giants like Zara and H&M are growing, while other legacy physical goods brands are struggling. The internet reorientated the playing field for brand durability and is now forcing both upstarts and incumbents to think about brand in an entirely new way.
Olivia Wright wants to bring social responsibility to contemporary fashion.It’s easier said than done, with companies like Toms allowing consumers to make philanthropic purchases at an inexpensive price point. But Wright’s mission has always been two-fold, and she spoke about the brand's journey on the 24th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. It all began while watching a movie.Read More
Kevin Lavelle has gone into business with everyone from NFL stars to the country’s largest retailers, all on the strength of his fabric. For the 23rd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast. the founder and CEO of menswear company Mizzen + Main discussed his clothing line’s revolutionary union of advanced performance fabrics with traditional men’s apparel. It has brought athletic wear into the workplace and it’s a story that begins with Lavelle getting laughed out of the building at his very first trade show.Read More
By his own admission, Josh Udashkin is not a samurai packer. The 33-year old Montreal native always checked a bag when traveling with footwear company Aldo, where Udashkin worked before founding the smart luggage company Raden in 2015. On the 22nd episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, Udashkin talk about how the genesis for Raden came from something he noticed on the luggage carousel during business trips. “It was shocking not being able to recognize any products,” Udashkin said. “It’s something that bridges the function and fashion gap. I just [didn’t] see the next brand of the future for people of my generation.”Read More
J.Crew’s Mickey Drexler Confesses: I Underestimated How Tech Would Upend Retail read the headline of a big feature in the Wall Street Journal, which ricocheted around the retail and technology world last week. The piece highlighted J.Crew's struggles under Drexler's leadership, which has resulted in ten consecutive quarters of falling sales. Yet the struggles of J.Crew, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel and many others goes beyond the simple explanation that they missed the impact of technology or a specific trend.Read More
The Loose Threads Podcast is just over a year old. Since then, I've had over twenty amazing conversations with founders, journalists and writers about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce. What started off as an informal and infrequent experiment has turned into a professionally recorded and edited show that improves every week.
But there's always more work to do.
On the 21st episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Matt Scanlan, the founder of Naadam, a direct to consumer brand that is reinventing the cashmere supply chain. Matt started Naadam on a chance encounter in Mongolia, which led him down a rabbit hole of launching an NGO, then a cashmere yarn company, and finally the digitally-native business that Naadam is known for today.Read More
On the 20th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Giancarlo Paternoster, the founder of Giancarlo Studio Furniture, a workshop that is pushing wood to the absolute limit. Studio Furniture, like Couture in the fashion world, is the highest possible form of art. Pieces are made in small, if not entirely unique, quantities, and are comprised of the best materials. Giancarlo and I grew up together and he’s ascended to the top of his craft in a rapidly short amount of time. He’s driven to excel past any inherent limits to produce work that few others would dare to see through.Read More
Walmart's acquisition spree in the consumer space has earned the company a lot of press recently. The speed of these acquisitions is a bet that buying companies, brands and talent is the only way for Walmart to catch up to Amazon, its biggest rival. Is Walmart building a reputable competitor to Amazon or will it flame out like Yahoo, the last company to acquire its way to nothing? Looking at its strategy alongside Amazon's gives us some clues.Read More
On the 19th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story, a company that has the point of view of a magazine, that changes like a gallery and sells things like a store. Story is headquartered in a 2000 sqft store in Chelsea, Manhattan, and runs themed installations that change every few months. These installations feature everything from experiences to products to talks and events, acting as a lab that is merging the best of offline retail with the benefits of online media and commerce.Read More
On the 18th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Andrew Lipovsky, the founder of Eponym, a company that designs, manufactures and sells eyewear for a range of fashion and apparel brands. Luxottica is the omnipresent name in the eyewear space, which many know from the now infamous 60 Minutes special on the company’s dominance. But Eponym set out to build a vertical eyewear license focused on brands that the big guy ignored. It’s a really interesting story about new players entering an age-old space, and how the internet has opened up the surface area for competition no matter how big a company’s monopoly seems to be.Read More
On the 17th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Amanda Curtis, a co-founder of Nineteenth Amendment. Her company is leveling the playing field for independent designers by streamlining everything from production to infrastructure. Emerging designers are often at a disadvantage when it comes to funding their business, securing competitive pricing for production, and integrating technology to help scale. Luckily, this is Nineteenth Amendment’s focus and the company has helped hundreds of designers grow.Read More