It took nearly a decade, but Knot Standard is finally taking the plunge into women’s wear.
The made-to-measure men’s brand, which was founded in 2012, quietly began offering an assortment of women’s wardrobe essentials earlier this week. The options include a wide range of pieces for business, leisure and events.
Like their male counterparts, the female customers will be connected with a style adviser who will work with them on their fit preferences, measurements and individual style while providing personalized product recommendations and wardrobe advice. The outfits will be manufactured using fabrics from mills around the world, including Loro Piana.
Customers can work with stylists in person at Knot Standard’s 10 showrooms around the U.S. or remotely, using its virtual appointment and Fit App system.
The move into women’s follows years of requests from friends, family and customers, according to chief executive officer John Ballay. “We tried every which way to talk ourselves out of it, but the market, our customers’ wives and our staff kept asking for it,” he said.
In the beginning, a limited number of stock keeping units will be offered and the selection will be focused primarily on business suits and blazers, Ballay added, but business casual pieces and weekend wear will also be part of the mix.
Alicynne Sher, Knot Standard’s senior vice president of sales and showroom operations, who was with Ralph Lauren before joining Knot Standard three years ago, was a key proponent of the launch into women’s.
“After working with Knot Standard men’s customers for years, and watching women’s wear trends for over two decades, it was apparent that a huge white space existed for custom women’s wear,” she said. “I was excited to combine my women’s product expertise with the Knot Standard product and technology to help the team launch this unique women’s wear platform and service — we provide an exceptionally specialized custom product and white-glove service, and we are thrilled to finally open our doors on this new business.”
Paula Sutter, brand adviser and investor, added: “Customization and personalization continues to be a key trend. It makes perfect sense for Knot Standard to use their expertise and proprietary technology to branch into women’s.”
Ballay wouldn’t project how large he believes women’s wear can ultimately be for Knot Standard, but said it could be substantial. “Academically, it’s hard to argue that it would remain smaller than men’s — look at the size of the addressable market,” he said. “So if this is done right, it could strike a unique cord and represent a huge opportunity for growth.”
The CustomOnDemand platform allows any retailer to offer its customers the same made-to-measure clothing experience Knot Standard uses.
Matthew Mueller, president and cofounder of Knot Standard, said CustomOnDemand “is a first for retail. Never before has custom clothing been possible for anyone, anywhere, without any special training, inventory or infrastructure. The virtual styling tools we have built over the last 10 years, combined with our successful AI-powered Fit App and digital Style Wall, let any retailer offer Knot Standard custom clothing with minimal training and zero inventory.”
Knot Standard has partnered with Brooks Brothers to create and launch a made-to-measure program at 21 stores that will start with men’s shirts and eventually be expanded to suits, jackets and pants. This product will carry the Brooks Brothers label, Ballay said.
At Bloomingdale’s, where Knot Standard has operated concession shops for several years, the relationship is being shifted to a model under which Bloomingdale’s staff will use the CustomOnDemand technology to offer customized suits under the Knot Standard name that are delivered within four to six weeks at around 30 doors.
This is the same process that will be used at Nordstrom, Ballay said. Although the Seattle-based retailer also offers made-to-measure product from Indochino, Ballay said Knot Standard’s offering is priced higher and viewed as an alternative in the premium and luxury end of the men’s market.
For all of these retailers, using CustomOnDemand’s platform will allow them to expand their made-to-measure offering at “a much faster rate,” Ballay believes.
Mueller believes the platform offers tremendous opportunity for Knot Standard and their retail partners: “This isn’t just the future for our brand — next-generation client experiences like CustomOnDemand will become the future for every brand looking to stake their claim in an ever-changing landscape. We’re excited to see where we can take the customer next.”