Spring brings all kinds of growth, and in Berlin, that includes the sprouting of fashion labels. The newest, Ivy & Oak, is an online fashion brand positioning itself as a sustainable and stylish alternative to trendy fast fashion.
The seed was planted a year ago by company founders Caroline von Stieglitz and Steven Tran, both veterans of top e-tailers, from Asos to Zalando. Tran was earlier a business consultant at IBM. They’re joined by Christopher Deckert, another Zalando alum, who is focused on sales and operations. Deckert also previously spent time at Rocket Internet, and co-founded Kirondo, an online seller of secondhand kids’ clothes.
Launching officially on Tuesday, Ivy & Oak will be sold from the brand’s Web site and a temporary pop-up store that will remain open until May 14, but it will also enter online fashion sellers Zalando, Asos Marketplace and About You this month. Talks are also underway with Not Just a Label. To begin, the brand will only be available in Germany; France; Holland, and Switzerland are expected to follow.
“Every platform has a different target customer, each platform brings us something new and that’s very important for us, that right at the beginning we can strike out in all these directions at once and see what suits us best,” said von Stieglitz, who serves as Ivy & Oak’s creative director. She holds a degree in textile and fashion design and interned at Alexander McQueen; at Zalando, von Stieglitz worked on the company’s popular Mint & Berry line.
Tran, who oversees the brand’s marketing, said the team saw a gap in the market for affordable career and occasionwear made with quality fabric and design. The brand is launching with a 75-piece collection, which includes 34 designs in different colorways; it will be delivered in drops every two months, starting now with lighter pieces and ending in September with heavier garments and coats.
Ivy & Oak prices start at 50 euros, or $57, for a strappy top, and run to 250 euros, or $286, for a winter coat, with the average price falling at 150 euros, or $172. A capsule wedding collection ranges in price from 250 to 500 euros, or $286 to $572. The items are designed to last, they say.
“We are talking about a sustainable approach of buying things,” said Tran. “Not being at the very edge of trends, but having sustainable pieces that people can wear throughout a couple of seasons.”
Some 70 percent of the collection is being produced in Bulgaria; the rest in China from carefully chosen sustainably oriented partners. The focus is on materials, including certified fabrics and high-quality dead stock like Italian wool sourced from luxury brands.
“The fabric and the quality are what’s most important,” commented von Stieglitz. “When that’s right, the rest will follow.”
Next up for Ivy & Oak will be a foray into accessories. Men’s wear might also be on the distant horizon, possibly with a spin-off brother brand.
With so many Internet experts aboard, the company readily secured private funding. While that does add pressure, said Tran, it helped Ivy & Oak develop the depth of its range and allow it to deliver to big wholesale partners.