The minimalist chic looks of Oak + Fort have made their way to Southern California as the company looks to further solidify its presence Stateside.
The Canada-based firm, which started off as a born-online brand, currently counts 12 stores in Canada along with two units in San Francisco and one each in New York and Chicago. Plans call for a Long Island store to open in June following a door that recently bowed in the first phase of Westfield Century City’s $1 billion makeover, which now marks the company’s presence in the Los Angeles market.
“We’ve been asked to open a lot in the Los Angeles market for a long time and it was the right timing and we saw the opportunity for our brand to fill a niche,” said founder Min Kang.
The company hasn’t done much in the way of traditional marketing and has instead relied on word of mouth to grow out its customer base, hoping to nab those who share the same minimalist tastes as Kang.
“I just loved clothing and beautiful things,” Kang said of the company’s start. “In my early 20s me and my friends were spending most of our checks on clothing, traveling and buying books. So I really felt that we needed a brand that appealed to our aesthetics and was affordable. So that’s how we started our boutique and it just grew from there.”
Kang said growth of the company’s stores will continue in the future, adding that additional stores are planned after Long Island. She declined to provide specifics, saying leases have not yet been signed for those locations.
“Our focus right now is the U.S. for sure,” she said. “However, there are going to be some [additional] Canada stores and we’re looking into new markets as well.”
Oak + Fort ships out of a distribution center in New York and designs its line in house. Manufacturing is in Korea and China with basics such as T-shirts starting at around $24 and going up to around $150 for jackets. It’s that pricing Kang sees as the company’s competitive advantage in the marketplace moving forward.
“I really want to [offer] clothes that are really minimal but it’s hard to do with a lower price point. Everybody thinks it’s easier but it’s not because you have to pay attention to the details,” she said. “We do well with great prices.”
In June the company launches its second collection of home goods. The brand expanded into that category about six months ago and is now weighing the possibility of a second brick-and-mortar concept dedicated specifically to home.
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