Performance & Perspective — with Yehua Yang of Pivotte

Performance & Perspective — with Yehua Yang of Pivotte

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. 

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Building Bulletproof Brands — Part I: Why don't brands last like they used to?

Building Bulletproof Brands — Part I: Why don't brands last like they used to?

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.  
 

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When the Social Mission Comes First — with Olivia Wright of Rallier

When the Social Mission Comes First — with Olivia Wright of Rallier

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. 

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The Cross Country Opportunity — with Kevin Lavelle of Mizzen + Main

The Cross Country Opportunity — with Kevin Lavelle of Mizzen + Main

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.

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Dusting off the Luggage Industry — with Josh Udashkin of Raden

Dusting off the Luggage Industry — with Josh Udashkin of Raden

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.”

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Mickey Drexler and the death of a supply-driven world

Mickey Drexler and the death of a supply-driven world

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.

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Improving the Loose Threads Podcast

Improving the Loose Threads Podcast

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. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: An Unexpected Journey to the Source — with Matt Scanlan of Naadam Cashmere

Loose Threads Podcast: An Unexpected Journey to the Source  — with Matt Scanlan of Naadam Cashmere

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. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: Pushing Wood to the Absolute Limit — with Giancarlo Paternoster of Giancarlo Studio Furniture

Loose Threads Podcast: Pushing Wood to the Absolute Limit — with Giancarlo Paternoster of Giancarlo Studio Furniture

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.

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Offense vs defense: Amazon and Walmart's diverging acquisition strategies

Offense vs defense: Amazon and Walmart's diverging acquisition strategies

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. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: The Amorphous Evolution of Retail — with Rachel Shechtman of Story

Loose Threads Podcast: The Amorphous Evolution of Retail — with Rachel Shechtman of Story

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. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: Monopolies & Opportunities — with Andrew Lipovsky Of Eponym

Loose Threads Podcast: Monopolies & Opportunities — with Andrew Lipovsky Of Eponym

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. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: Leveling the Playing Field for Independent Designers — with Amanda Curtis of Nineteenth Amendment

Loose Threads Podcast: Leveling the Playing Field for Independent Designers — with Amanda Curtis of Nineteenth Amendment

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. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: Keys To The Closet — with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Fitz

Loose Threads Podcast: Keys To The Closet  — with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Fitz

On the 16th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, the founder of Fitz, a company that starts by helping people organize their closets. From there, it recommends new products and services and helps people donate and resell old clothing all while learning more and more about its customers. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: Saying a Lot with a Little — with Matt Orley of Orley

Loose Threads Podcast: Saying a Lot with a Little — with Matt Orley of Orley

On the 15th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Matt Orley, a co-founder of Orley, a knitwear brand based in New York City that Matt runs along with his wife Sam and his brother Alex. It’s less common for brands to start with knitwear, since it’s much harder to produce and often has a steeper learning curve than cut and sew garments. But Orley intentionally started this way, primarily because it allowed them to realize the brand with a limited number of pieces, and then grow from there. We had a great talk about the founding story of the brand, how its grown and evolved over the last five years, and how the internet and the direct to consumer market is changing everything.

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What's happening with retail and fulfillment job growth?

What's happening with retail and fulfillment job growth?

There's a lot of commotion right now about the loss of retail jobs and the impending death of retail. While retail isn't dying—channels as foundational as physical stores don't "die"—legacy retailers are struggling. Retailers are going bankrupt and closing stores at a rapid clip. (Our new project Bankrupt Retail is tracking them.) When retailers go bankrupt and close stores, this has real implications on the economy and employment since jobs are getting cut left and right.

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Loose Threads Podcast: Data and Details — with Seph Skerritt of Proper Cloth

Loose Threads Podcast: Data and Details — with Seph Skerritt of Proper Cloth

On the 14th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Seph Skerritt, the founder of Proper Cloth, a company using tons of data and technology to make customized men's apparel affordable and accessible. Proper Cloth is one of those companies that has both the technical and creative chops needed to thrive today. My talk with Seph focused on the attention to data and detail that makes Proper Cloth what it is and the journey from what some considered a stupid idea to the ever expanding company that exists today. It was really cool to hear about the persistence across all aspects of the business that got Proper Cloth to its current state, and Seph’s determination to power through every new obstacle, be it technical, logistical or creative.

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Amazon is a catalyst, not a middleman, in a direct to consumer world

Amazon is a catalyst, not a middleman, in a direct to consumer world

This May, Amazon is holding a summit for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, according to Bloomberg. The goal is to convince CPG brands to rethink everything from manufacturing to packaging for the ecommerce-driven world we live in. Producing products that will end up on a shelf is very different than creating products that will end up on a customer's doorstep. 

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Loose Threads Podcast: The (Invisible) Long Tail of Packaging — with Stephan Ango of Lumi

Loose Threads Podcast: The (Invisible) Long Tail of Packaging — with Stephan Ango of Lumi

On the 13th episode of the Loose Threads Podcast, a show about the intersection of fashion, technology and commerce, I talk with Stephen Ango, a co-founder of Lumi. Stephan’s company is simplifying the process of designing and producing all sorts of packaging, with a focus on digitally native brands. Packaging is what I would consider a visible yet invisible industries. It something people see everywhere but often know very little about. Stephen and I had an awesome talk about everything from the founding story behind Lumi to the company’s quest to be a packaging company that eventually sells less packaging. And it was great to dive into how Stephen’s design background informed Lumi as it exists today and how some parts of the industry that people find boring are sometimes the most interesting. 

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Why brands can't escape the reality of politics

Why brands can't escape the reality of politics

I recently attended a discussion with Jacques Panis, the president of Shinola, a company convinced it exemplifies the unrivaled power of American manufacturing and the ingenuity of the private sector. Panis spent a considerable amount of time explaining how the public sector has failed to create prosperity for its citizens—especially in Detroit, where Shinola is based—while the private sector, and specifically Shinola, has been a saving grace for job creation. Yet when asked about national politics and how the current political environment could affect his business, he was evasive and kept repeating that his company is immune from societal debates and prefers to stay out of them altogether.
 

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