Andres Izquieta and Dee Murthy predicted today’s retail landscape almost 15 years ago. In 2001, Izquieta took a trip to New York and discovered H&M. Izquieta, a then-college student who bought his designer clothes at TJ Maxx, told Murthy, who was less fashion inclined, about the store and they were both taken with the concept.“When I walked into H&M I could tell by the intensity that they were on to something,” said Izquieta, who went on to learn about other fast-fashion retailers abroad, including Zara, Mango and Uniqlo.Izquieta and Murthy used their findings to write a feasibility study at the University of Southern California outlining how European fast fashion would negatively impact American retail. Almost a decade later they created their own fast-fashion brand: Five Four Club, a Los Angeles-based men’s wear subscription service that sends out two to three pieces of on-trend but classic apparel each month for $60. What the men receive is based on their style preferences, which are determined by a quiz and previous items they’ve been sent.Now they are expanding outside of their subscription concept and launching their first stand-alone brand, New Republic by Mark McNairy, a formalwear shoe line designed by McNairy that will debut during New York Fashion Week: Men’s on Tuesday and will be available to purchase on its own web site the same day. The line includes Oxfords, brogues, penny loafers, driving shoes, desert boots and bucks that retail from $58 to $98. Although the collection will not be included in the Five Four subscription box, members are able to purchase items from the line at 25 percent off.“Everybody else in the world knocked me off and made a lot more money than I did, so why don’t I just knock myself off,” said McNairy, who also serves as a creative director of the Five Four product.In an attempt to differentiate its product, Five Four, which is self-funded, tapped McNairy for a collaboration before he joined the team in 2015. Earlier this year it partnered with Robert Geller.“I looked at this project as if it was a collaboration with Target or H&M,” said McNairy, who was approached by Izquieta and Murthy at a trade show in Las Vegas. “I agreed to do the collaboration because it’s going to put my name into the heads of 50,000 guys when they get my monthly package. The stuff never goes into a store. It goes straight to the consumer. So it’s not competing with my regular collection.”It was years of trial and error before Izquieta and Murthy found traction with the subscription model. They spent almost a decade running Five Four as a streetwear-turned-contemporary wholesale brand that was stocked in retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom and Fred Segal. In 2009 they opened three Los Angeles stores in partnership with Westfield. Despite their distribution and stores, Izquieta said Five Four never made a profit — they peaked at $9 million in wholesale — and in 2012 they decided to close their stores and end wholesale after more members started to join the Five Four Club.The club targets the male Millennial, who they say has been trained by fast-fashion brands on price point and taught by the apps they use — Postmates, Uber and Amazon Prime — to expect convenience. As soon as customers receive their packages, Five Four sends out a customized e-mail with tips on how to wear the pieces with things they already own. Izquieta said that e-mail has a 65 percent open rate.“In our opinion, guys don’t enjoy the process of shopping,” said Murthy, who learned this while spending time in Five Four’s stores. “They are very price-sensitive and they don’t know what to buy.”Murthy, who mostly handles the business side while Izquieta focuses on creative, said Five Four currently has 70,000 subscribers and is expected to make $60 million in revenue this year — in 2014 it made $17 million and in 2015, $35 million.Five Four plans to continue to grow the concept with more stand-alone brands including Mister Dean, a formal accessories label that will be available in fall, and Grand Athletic Club, a streetwear-inspired athletic brand that will be available for holiday. They are also interested in introducing the service in China.
"I'm a big shopper and I never go to stores. I buy everything online," said Izquieta. "The next generation of shopper doesn't go to the mall anymore and the proof is in the pudding. Retailers are closing every day. I think malls should turn into big experience centers."
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion