NEW YORK — Andy Dunn, chief executive officer of Bonobos, wants to create “slowed-down fast fashion” with the launch of the company’s first full collection from its women’s brand, Ayr.
This story first appeared in the February 4, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
As of today, ayr.com — the brand’s name is the acronym for All Year Round — will be stocked with women’s contemporary apparel ranging from denim and basic silk tanks to sweaters and outerwear. The site went live in November, soft launching with two styles of denim: a skinny and a cropped “ciggy” silhouette, each in two washes.
“There is great stuff from a fast-fashion standpoint, but what about a woman who is graduating from that who wants great essential pieces?” Dunn said in an interview with WWD. “[We asked ourselves]: How do we create a brand that does that with a digital model?”
The ceo cited Nasty Gal, Everlane and Modcloth as successfully establishing strong fast-fashion, e-commerce businesses — but said he had yet to find a pure-play e-tailer that specializes in contemporary apparel.
“A huge amount of the offline world lives at this price point, but there is nothing digital at its core,” Dunn said.
Ayr brand director Maggie Winter said the line, which has an average price point of about $150, abides by an intuitive “buy now, wear now” philosophy. Pieces range from $50 for a graphic T-shirt and $150 to $195 for denim to $480 for Italian wool outerwear. Ayr will expand its denim offerings from two to 12 washes with 50 possible combinations between waist, fit and inseam — from 25-inch cropped styles to 34-inch skinny flare.
The overall collection includes 25 pieces that come in about 75 colorways. While the line will be updated seasonally, Winter said every season should layer on to a previous season.
Dunn and Winter wanted to make sure that Ayr wasn’t just “Bonobos for women,” and that it established its own identity, separate from the parent company. That said, they also wanted the business to incorporate Bonobos’ digital-driven model, including its technologies, customer service, fulfillment, sourcing and marketing.
“Part of the strength of Bononos is that it’s a club for the guys,” Dunn said. “It’s about great fit and service and fun, and we didn’t want to dilute that story in any way by going into women’s. If we extended [Bonobos] to the women’s side, we would end up with something that we weren’t going for. It would end up being more niche than what we thought Ayr could be.”
Dunn declined to share first-year projections, but said he hopes to see “something bigger than Bonobos’ first year.” He did estimate that sales for Ayr would account for 5 percent of the company’s overall business this year.
Dunn is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to opening any of its guideshops — retail outposts where consumers can try looks on and place online orders— for Ayr. Bonobos didn’t get into physical retail for three years, and since testing out the first guideshop in its headquarters here in 2011, the brand has opened eight doors in markets such as New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Austin, Tex.