A new clothing brand called Foremost is launching next month to provide customers with a monthly collection of small-batch, American-made clothing that is priced within reach. It hopes to entice users not just with affordable pricing, but also an online lifestyle magazine and interview series designed to show off its goods.
The model of mixing content and commerce has worked for the team behind Foremost before. The clothing brand is founded by the same people behind Need, a curated lifestyle and shopping startup based in Dallas. It hopes to take a lot of the same things that were successful with the previous brand and apply them to the new one.
With Need, founder Matt Alexander sought to introduce men who hated to shop with clothing and accessories they would love. It partnered with various brands to offer eight to 12 exclusive or limited-edition products to its customers each month. While focusing mostly on apparel, Need also sold lifestyle items that included books, furniture, coffee, alcohol and artwork.
For Foremost, the company plans to offer up the same sort of monthly collection to users, but with a twist: Instead of partnering with other brands to sell limited editions of their products, it is designing and manufacturing the items for sale itself. By doing so, it believes that it can offer high-quality goods at a fraction of the price for comparable items.
The idea is to create an aspirational clothing brand at a price point consumers can afford. The folks at Foremost will design one outfit per gender each month, which will consist of three to five items that will each be priced around $50 or below.
According to Alexander, the quality of its items will be similar to what someone might expect from a retailer like J.Crew, but it will be closer to H&M prices. Foremost is able to do that because it designs its products in-house and controls the manufacturing process, which allows it to produce clothing in small batches and make them available exclusively to its customers.
Because the team has the operational experience from Need, it has a good idea of what to expect from customers. Alexander notes that Need’s products sell out every month, which allows the company to operate without worrying about a lot of inventory or overhead.
While the quality and style of the clothing is important, so is the content behind the brand. Like Need, Foremost will produce a monthly “magazine” to blend storytelling into the release of each collection. Foremost will launch its first collection on February 11 at noon EST, and to attract consumers it plans to produce two video interviews per month with celebrities and other high-profile individuals wearing its clothes.
“People really respond to the story and photography” of Need, Alexander told me. “It brings a feeling of exclusivity.”
To get the new project off the ground, the company has raised $400,000 from investors, which is separate from the money raised by Need last year. That includes money from Greg and Ian Abbott, whose family ran a private-label manufacturing business, as well as Need investors Chris Camillo and Mark Giambrone.
Foremost will rely on the infrastructure that was created for Need, and will likely get its first customers from the Need mailing list, which currently has more than 300,000 subscribers signed up.
But while Need is targeted toward professionals in their 30s, Alexander hopes that the aspirational quality and pricing of Foremost’s goods will entice a younger audience in the 18-25-year-old range. Foremost is his response to fast fashion, what he calls the “antithesis of things like H&M.”
But will it connect with users? The good news is because its model is based around producing small batches of exclusive clothing, it doesn’t have to do a crazy amount of business to be successful.