Australian designer Josh Goot and his partner, Vogue Australia fashion director and stylist Christine Centenera, are well acquainted with the flaws of the fashion industry’s retail model. After working at different ends of the industry for over a decade (Goot ran his namesake label and Centenera has been at Vogue for seven years, after working at Harper’s Bazaar for a decade), they became fed up with the churn-and-burn nature of the fashion cycle. To address the problem they launched Wardrobe.NYC in December last year.
The direct-to-consumer luxury label cuts through the noise to spotlight essential wardrobe items in periodic, neatly packaged capsule collections (a few essential items that don't go out of fashion). The first all-encompassing capsule targeted the concept of “tailored” with just 16 items (for both men and women) in a democratic black.
The second capsule has finally arrived. Made in Italy, it follows the same radical formula but with a “sport” theme. Spanning just 10 items for both men and women, Sport is designed to be as unisex as possible – they are almost identical albeit a few items. Under the women’s category there are ankle-length leggings, bike shorts, a sports bra, a long tank, a tracksuit pant and top, a long-sleeve T-shirt and a waterproof nylon running jacket – the bundle arrives in a water-repellant gym bag. The men’s capsule is almost exactly the same, but the sports bra has been swapped out for a long tank with a T-shirt and track shorts.
“We’re isolating what an essential wardrobe looks like based on the themes we had planned,” says Centenera. “We thought about what the most useful, practical pieces were and broke them down into a democratic, versatile, age-wise series that works across the board. The idea is to help people use less and get more out of it.”
“The concept is modern, luxury essentials combined into a wardrobe so that they’re coherent and work together,” says Goot.
Wardrobe.NYC side steps the conventional wholesale retail model. “You can offer these clothes to people with less margins. The term luxury, for us, is about commitment. We source the best textiles and spend a lot of time and effort fitting the garments and specifying finishes so that people are offered a truly exceptional product,” says Centenera.
“It’s also super personal to us,” says Goot. “These are the clothes we see ourselves wearing all the time.”
The only exception to the label’s strict black dress code is the tenth item – adidas Originals Yung-1 unisex sneakers – the result of an exclusive collaboration. “We always wanted to work with best-in-class iconic labels and to integrate them into the pact,” says Goot. “Especially in product areas when we knew we couldn’t create anything at that high level to complete the story.”
The sneaker is an evolution of the 1997 adidas Originals Falcon Dorf style. “They’ve updated it and taken it into 2018. It’s kind of a sculptural design … it feels super moulded with great contour lines within its upper details and upper-mid sole. It’s leather, suede and synthetic [and comes] in a palette of optical white, light grey and cream. The natural-coloured gum sole is exclusive to us. It turns into a super fresh, modern-looking shape, which is a great accent to all the black in the collection.”
Another radical aspect of Wardrobe.NYC is its distribution model. The capsule collections are only available online, and just 1000 wardrobes are being offered in total – 500 as private pre-order for clients, friends and members, and another 500 for the public. And you have to commit to the full ten-piece wardrobe. The idea is that, for the single price of $2000, you save yourself from having to invest in future sportswear items.
Goot and Centenara say the goal long-term is to tackle more dress themes with comprehensive luxury capsule collections.
“There are probably two of three more themes [to explore], and then we want to continue to build on these concepts,” says Goot. “We want to have five or six themes that we release with a rhythm year on year, and we want our customers to grow comfortable with our themes and rely on them as they add to their wardrobe.”
“We’re not saying this is an overarching answer to [the existing retail model],” says Centenera. “But this is our way of grappling with the issue of sustainability.”
Wardrobe.NYC Release 02 / Sport launches to the public on July 10, 2018. Pre-order registrations are open now at wardrobe.nyc.