The Lost Explorer is following an unfamiliar path in starting its wholesale business.
Five months after launching direct-to-consumer sales on its e-commerce site, the Los Angeles-based label founded by David de Rothschild is setting the groundwork for wholesaling its forthcoming spring collection of jackets, shirts and shorts dyed by eco-friendly techniques using green tea, coffee and hibiscus. It also plans to broaden the distribution of seasonless styles that make up half its line, including cashmere-cotton T-shirts, which can appeal to women with their unisex sizing and soft hand.
As a member of the prominent banking family, de Rothschild is fortunate to stave any necessity to rush into the wholesale market. The Brit strives to create an experience at retail for his customers, who so far have revealed themselves to be like-minded creative professionals who like The Lost Explorer’s ethos to celebrate nature in its design and production.
“For me, it’s where our audience is hanging it,” he said, standing in the middle of his Venice showroom decorated like an adventurer’s campsite, in a natural-colored button-up shirt from his company with raw denim jeans and sneakers. Those hangouts could be bars, hotels, even a corner of Iceland as one of the company’s investors lives on that Nordic island nation. “You’ll find it in places you’ll least expect.”
Even the fashion retailers that The Lost Explorer targets, such as Unionmade and Dover Street Market, don’t follow a style orthodoxy compared to the rest of the industry. “We’ll experiment,” said Len Peltier, creative director and chief marketing officer. “This brand is behaving differently than traditional brands do.”
De Rothschild set the parameters for the unconventional branding. A trained naturopath and adventurer who’s crossed oceans and icebergs, he’s been developing the company for two years. The vintage pieces he picked up on his journeys form the basis for a category that combines old with new. For instance, a $495 Belgian postman’s bag from World War II is re-crafted with straps lined in felt and side pockets sewn out of the same cork-wool textile created by Swiss-based Schoeller for The Lost Explorer’s garment bag. A shawl collar was modified on a $425 military field jacket with vintage kimono fabric. De Rothschild said the vintage pieces eventually will grow into a made-to-measure business.
The retail prices for the rest of the line run from $85 for the cashmere-cotton Ts and $145 for cargo shorts to $160 for water-resistant chinos and $450 for slubby cotton jackets. “We’re always interested in high-low,” said Jonathan Kirby, head of design and merchandising.
Soon, more people can get their own taste of the high-low style, as well as the mezcal, espelette chili and ginger-spiked tea and balms from The Lost Explorer’s apothecary line. The showroom will transform into a pop-up shop by November.
The philosophy guiding the shop is the same one that de Rothschild applies to collaborators such as Leaves & Flowers, the Berkeley, Calif.-based company that created the six varieties of tea, each selling for $28.
“How do you create this new partnership with nature, this new partnership with each other?” he said. “It’s not about what you wear. It’s about what you do as an individual.”