Carbon38’s success in fashionable activewear has the company turning greater attention to ready-to-wear.
The e-commerce firm had already made a push into the space in the spring with an 11-piece collection of looks that blurred the line between active and everyday pieces, including high-waisted pants, cutout detailing and bell-sleeve tops. A week after launching that initial collection, 40 percent of the styles were reordered.
“The ready-to-wear collection came out of a personal need, as with almost everything, it’s coming from a personal place,” said chief executive officer and cofounder Katie Johnson, adding the offering is mindful of a consumer who’s shuttling off to business meetings and then maybe catching a red-eye flight later. “When we first started dabbling in ready-to-wear, almost at the inception of our private label program, we recognized this insatiable need of our customer.”
The rtw offering is now expected to triple in 2018, according to Johnson.
The company named its just-launched, Made in Los Angeles collection Passport, which totals 14 pieces retailing from $125 to $195. The name reflects the travel season, playing up the items’ wrinkle-free, moisture-wicking features.
“It gives you that passport to wear this active DNA for the rest of your life,” Johnson said. “We quietly are creating this new category in this seamless intersection between active ready-to-wear and performance ready-to-wear that our customer is certainly reacting to.”
More than half of the overall Carbon38 line of apparel is made in Los Angeles with the rest produced overseas. Keeping things local allows the company to react quickly to consumer-buying patterns. The overall makeup of brands at Carbon38 are still outside brands, including labels such as Blanc Noir, Michi, Repetto, Adidas by Stella McCartney, Alo Yoga, Ivy Park and Norma Kamali.
Moving forward, the company plans to release collections on a more frequent basis than the typical fashion calendar. Ultimately, it will be driven by demand. The same goes for further expansion into other categories.
“Our customers are our compass and if she takes it there, we will go,” Johnson said. “I think no category is off limits because we really want to serve her and we have a task ahead of us in terms of creating this new category so we’re really focused on what that means to her and if that includes a shoe or bag or protein powder — and you can see from our site, we’ve tested all categories. Part of our company DNA is testing. Whenever she reacts positively, we double down.”
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