Krost, a young online label for men and women, is appealing to its target Gen Z and Gen Y audience with its support of nonprofit organizations and commitment to the environment. With its tag line “Support Your Friends,” Krost is building a community of like-minded consumers who believe social activism can make a difference.
“The fashion industry is one of the leading industries responsible for pollution. There’s a push toward sustainability in the fashion industry. Fast-fashion’s excess inventory ends up being burned. Zara is taking the initiative,” founder Samuel Krost said of the Spanish retail giant’s announcement of its sustainability goals this week.
The apparel industry has a 40 percent gap between what’s made and what’s sold, said Krost, adding, “We produce all of our apparel in the U.S. with the goal of eliminating overproduction. Not every single piece in our next collection will be sustainable, but almost half will be.”
For its new sustainable women’s capsule, Krost is partnering with Ziel, a technology-driven company that’s bringing on-demand manufacturing to the apparel industry. The capsule is made from recycled plastic spun into hundreds of synthetic fibers. Prints are tie-dyed with a water-dyeing process to avoid waste and pollution.
Prices for the capsule range from $60 for a cropped T-shirt to $120 for a cropped crewneck top. The highest price point in the collection is $395 for a heavy twill cotton blazer, available in dusty pink, baby blue and black. Krost declined to give a sales estimate for the capsule, citing its on-demand aspect, but he revealed that the brand’s first two collections had combined sales of more than $250,000.
Krost graduated from New York University with a business degree, but said he was always drawn to fashion. After an internship at upscale swimwear label Onia, Krost studied in Spain for a semester. When he returned, he was tapped by Andrew Rosen of Theory, which owns Helmut Lang, to join the team at the latter, which was relaunching the designer’s men’s wear business.
At NYU, Krost saw #MeToo, Black Lives Matter and gun reform advocates address societal issues and get a national exposure. The Parkland, Fla., mass shooting in February 2018 and the March for Our Lives movement that grew out of the tragedy galvanized Krost. “I was truly inspired by those kids,” he said. “The Millennial generation is buying into brands that stand for something more than just the offer.”
Krost began a partnership last summer with March for Our Lives, which included designing a T-shirt that read, “Save Your Friends,” with a 17-petal flower, one for each life that was lost. Krost donated 100 percent of sales of the $60 item to March. The brand’s next beneficiary will be Eden Reforestation Projects, whose goal is to plant 500 million trees a year by 2025 in countries where poverty is extremely rampant.
Krost wants to continue to grow his brand with Ziel. “The cool thing with the on-demand model for wholesaling, is that retailers can order as little as a size run. If their mediums sell out, they can replenish within two to 10 days. Ziel works with health clubs to take over their retail. There’s no risk, no excess goods, no markdowns.
“Everyone is moving toward this,” Krost added. “We’ve had some great early success. We’re only eight months old. In terms of the capital required to produce a collection, it’s a win-win, but there aren’t a lot of companies that have the technology to do this for all of ready-to-wear.”
Apparel isn’t the only product Krost is eyeing. “Apparel is our first vehicle,” he said. “I want to break into other categories. Apparel is not the end of the story. We need to establish ourselves. We believe we have the opportunity to scale. We’re in the middle of another of investment round, which will be led by venture capital.”