Los Angeles-based brand Frame opened stores in Houston and L.A. just last week, and despite the retail industry’s near-constant chatter of brick-and-mortar downsizing, Frame said it plans to double the company’s store count next year to 20.
The brand was originally made popular by “It” girls including Poppy Delevingne, Lily Aldridge and Kate Bosworth, among others, with just one pair of blue jeans in 2012.
Though in just seven years, Frame has rapidly evolved from a favorite for off-duty models to a fashion house that releases four ready-to-wear collections a year. It is a brand that utilizes the heritage and quality of manufacturing in Los Angeles and embraces a European aesthetic, where the company said it takes inspiration from the “French way of ‘dressed-up casual’ embodied by the style icons of the 1970s.”
Jens Grede, cofounder of Frame, said the brand is growing rapidly because of its “obsessive focus on the customer and giving them a superior product experience,” saying e-commerce and wholesale sales proved a solid foundation for opening retail stores.
“In each market where we open a store, both our shares of wholesale and e-commerce have grown dramatically after our openings,” said Grede. “We also believe in the importance of controlling the customer experience and feel that our presentation and merchandise mix has proven very successful for Frame. In fact, in our retail stores, over 60 percent of our sales are from ready-to-wear. [Stores] are necessary going forward as a platform, along with e-commerce, to create a true omnichannel experience and to test and grow new categories.”
Grede said the brand is also consistently engaging its community, building a holistic and authentic experience through collaboration. “Frame rose to fame as the fashion industry’s favorite off-duty brand, as such, we were the first brand to collaborate with a model — and the only brand to authentically be able to do so — which we did six years ago in our collaboration with Karlie Kloss,” Grede said.
“We have since collaborated with both fashion insiders and celebrities, as well as remaining a meaningful social force through the fashion weeks around the world,” he added. “We continue to be inspired by and design for those who surround us coming from lives spent in the image-making part of the fashion industry — the brand’s culture. This is our community and we are constantly looking to excite them, as well as listen to their feedback.”
And Frame has reached a vast audience outside of the fashion world too, finding a niche in “affordable luxury,” where the company said value is offered at a premium price. “We also believe that to be successful going forward, brands need to make an emotional connection with its customers,” said Grede, “which is why we are trying to increase transparency between our company and our customers by maintaining an open dialog with the community to ensure we are designing for them.”
Grede sees technology as playing an essential role in the brand’s expansion. “Technology plays a crucial role in how the company functions across the expansion of our e-commerce and retail sales — and it is very helpful in both planning and forecasting. In our sustainability push, we’ve also had to optimize our supply chain with new technologies that are innovating in this space.”
Sustainable denim was launched earlier this year by Frame, reflecting company values and consumer demand.
“Sustainability is important to us personally, and because of that — we also know it’s important to our customers. We have been actively implementing sustainable fabrications — cashmere and denim, and next up is zero waste silk. We are on target for at least 80 percent of our denim assortment to be sustainable by the end of 2020.”
“We will be expanding sustainability across all categories. Having already optimized a great deal of our supply chain, we’ll continually strive to do better by increasing the use of polyester and nylon from post-consumer plastic bottles and recycled cashmere, eliminating more water from our wash process, and increasing our use of organic cotton. We also strive to increase our share of domestic production to eliminate freight. The list is long with a continuous process and no destination, just a core belief that from this day on we have to consistently do better. We are at the beginning, not the end.”
Frame additionally added footwear to its roster with a recent collection through collaboration with Tamara Mellon. Grede says that with the brand now creating ready-to-wear, accessories, denim and footwear, the brand hopes to become a “globally recognized, designer-identified lifestyle brand from California,” something he says does not currently exist in the market.
To continue growing the brand and reach even more consumers, Grede said, “Frame works organically with its community of influencers by getting people together for events and gatherings like our recent Thanksgiving dinner, and structurally with content creators. More importantly, we want the values of our business to reflect our personal ones, which we believe are the values of our customers and leads to Frame being a better member of the community.”
“We are also committed to supporting our community by giving back — we have been a proud sponsor of Baby2Baby for quite some time and have also listened to our community to support vital organizations like the Los Angeles Fire Department,” said Grede. “Most recently, together with IMG, we supported FeedingNYC to feed over 1,000 families this Thanksgiving holiday. However, we know that we can get better and we will, just as individuals we are trying to improve and be better members of the community, so will Frame.”
As Frame continues to expand its presence in retail, Grede said the brand is thinking of the consumer first. “Elevating the customer experience has been our number one priority, ensuring we create an enjoyable and interactive atmosphere across our stores. We recently launched Frame Atelier at our new location at The Grove in L.A., which provides one-on-one appointments with our team to ensure customers find the perfect pair of denim for their body type.”
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