The director of United Arrow & Sons, the men’s floor of the Harajuku boutique United Arrow, describes his style as just that — sartorial street style — and likes to mix corporate suits with Tokyo street fashion. It’s that combination, along with elements of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and Hollywood, that will be infused in a collaboration he worked on with Five Four head designer Mark McNairy. The collection, called Five Four x PoggyTheMan, is due out early next month for Five Four customers.
Five Four was launched in 2002 by Andres Izquieta and Dee Murthy. While it followed a traditional wholesale model, that evolved into a subscription model in 2014. Members pay $60 to receive two to three trendy pieces a month based off a quiz as well as learnings from previous boxes they’ve received.
During the first year under the new model, the company raked in $17 million in subscription revenue. The top line is expected to hit about $100 million this year, twice the company’s take in 2016.
Izquieta stumbled upon Kogi’s installation, Poggy’s World, at the Liberty Fairs trade show about a year ago. He was already familiar with the United Arrows & Sons creative director as a customer of that brand and introduced himself and Five Four.
“I think to them what becomes interesting is that our distribution platform is so different and it’s basically noncompetitive to what anyone does in terms of their actual day-to-day business,” he said of the individuals who collaborate with Five Four. “They like the fact that we have this huge demographic of American men, where we have lots of style and influence because we’re sending men these monthly packages.”
While Poggy, who said he’d consider opening a United Arrows & Sons store in the U.S., might be used to designing higher-end product, working with Five Four became an interesting challenge, Izquieta said.
The offering is large at 93 pieces and ranges from jeans and jackets to cardigans and button-downs. Prices start at $30 and goes up to $98. Some of the items — a few of the button-downs and some color-blocked cardigans — will be available exclusively to club members.
In 2016, Five Four teamed with men’s wear designer Robert Geller on a capsule collection in March, which was followed up in the summer with New Republic by Mark McNairy. New Republic, a shoe line, was the company’s first stand-alone brand and bowed at New York Fashion Week. Last year, the company entered the activewear space with the launch of the Grand Athletic Club. That will be followed this spring by a grooming line called Mercer and Clay.
“I think it’s always…interesting to be able to present a different perspective to our club members and a lot of them are not familiar with Poggy or who Robert Geller was or Mark McNairy, but I think it’s important to show the relevancy of these guys in men’s fashion,” Izquieta said. “A big part of the core ethos of what Five Four is is discovery. From that perspective, it becomes very interesting because you’re able to, at that point, provide something that’s unique and different and a lot of these guys don’t know who they are but they become very excited about it. You give them a reason to be excited about fashion.”