DRESSHIRT is a tightly edited collection of tailored sportswear with a mono product structure of luxurious, a-seasonal basics for the over marketed consumer. The custom embroidered DS1 was the first product category to be released and has become the globally recognized hero of the brand.
It occurs to me that I am a feminist. I didn’t set out to become one but I find myself a woman, an entrepreneur, and an activist providing women with a comfort that men have enjoyed for centuries. I wasn't compelled to launch my brand with such morals however, rather the opposite—I was being selfish.
DRESSHIRT erupted from two needs: A personal desire to put something new into the world and a hankering for an ease of dressing similar to what men feel when slipping on their favorite suit. I grew up in Milan, surrounded by fashion. My father, the owner of a fashion consultancy and ex-Saville Row tailor, was an enormous influence on me. You could credit him with being the impetus for both of the aforementioned desires. I watched him get dressed in his own kind of suit every day--a black turtleneck, black pants, a ponytail tightly harnessed with black elastic band. My father is one of the most well dressed men I know, and the ease he finds in just a few basic pieces, that he wears his way, is what aim to give women.
The easiest way of describing DRESSHIRT’s brand structure is as follows:
DRESSHIRT + JACKET + TROUSER + SCARF + HAT
Equals an outfit.
Traditional brands create loyalty by using marketing to appeal to the lifestyle of their customer, and by creating the illusion that there is a need to purchase out of fear that last seasons styles will become obsolete. At DRESSHIRT we believe in a smarter luxury, one that prioritizes values over status and a personal touch over pre-conceived, “perfect” package. We build our brand one product at a time, making pieces that can adapt to many lifestyles, places and seasons. By focusing on products our customers grow with us, and are part of the process of building their wardrobe. It is a truly collaborative, authentic and loyal partnership.
I often say that I feel the internet is being misused in our industry. The emergence and growth of the internet has given the millennial and Y generations a considerable advantage in business. The virtual storefront means you can run a consumer oriented company with little to no overhead. It is our most valuable asset, and the direct-to-consumer brands leading the way in fashion are mostly price-based models with the familiar adage “we bring you the best for less by cutting out the middle man.” Today, there is a space for luxury fashion empires to be built online, and being more accessible does not mean we have to sacrifice quality. The rush of newness and fast fashion is coming to an end and an aging millennial generation wants luxury online.
The same can be said of the in-store customer experience. Traditionally, e-commerce has been treated as a back up, a second string to brick and mortar. As the brick and mortar experience has become increasingly passive and dissociative, online has become the opposite. I can sit in our studio and answer customer service emails and live chats myself. Via www.dresshirt.com, we directly reach customers from all over the world. Everyone on the DRESSHIRT team has contact with a customer daily! We learn names and carry out and produce custom orders. We create a relationship with our return shoppers—you don’t get a more personalized experience than that.
Technology has revolutionized the fashion industry. It is a divisive time and there is movement on behalf of some of the bigger houses away from fashion week and the seasonal collections traditionally aimed at buyers and stores. With all the money spent on these twice yearly fanfares it’s a small disaster when all of the media is not translating directly into sales for the business. Social media is, in part, responsible for this shift, which is the beginning of a new forward thinking, customer focused industry. It is equally responsible for the obsession around influencer culture—when lifestyle is king, brand message and intention can get lost, and achieving longevity in a culture of relentless newness is almost impossible.
One thing is for certain, the fashion world has changed. It is an exciting time where big brands and small are playing together, on a relatively level playing field, with nothing but a website to compete. Everyone is vying for a space in the emerging luxury, direct-to-consumer market. I stand by the prediction I made when I launched DRESSHIRT: This space will be filled by the uncomplicated. Don’t overwhelm, don't overproduce. My mission is to provide my customer with an effortless answer to too much choice. Acting as a compass of style and a canvas for creativity, we created an experience where she can do it her way.
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