Who What Wear has long been known as a place to read about fashion trends. But now, editor-in-chief Kat Collings wants the company to create fashion trends, as well.
On August 5, the company will launch Who What Wear Collection, a new DTC fashion brand with Collings as creative director and Brianna Mobrem, president of parent company Clique Brands, as president. The brand will work on quarterly collections, released in three monthly drops. The first collection, available on the Who What Wear website, will be 27 pieces with prices starting at $55. Who What Wear has previously launched clothing lines with partners like Target since 2015, but this will be its first solo effort created entirely in-house. The first batch of products were manufactured in the U.S., primarily Los Angeles, and China, but future batches may be manufactured elsewhere.
According to Collings, the low price point was an important part of the conception of the brand.
“It’s midmarket,” Collings said. “We call it ‘trendish classics.’ There’s a nod to and familiarity with what’s going on in trends, but it also has a timeless quality. We know what our customers want and we tried to price it accordingly.”
Collings said she’s been using Who What Wear’s editors to track trends as a jumping-off point for designs. She said her team’s knowledge on what trends are flashes in the pan and what will have longevity has been crucial. For example, the first collection contains several pieces made from plissé, a material that Who What Wear editors have identified as a potential trend.
The monthly drops will allow Who What Wear to stay closer to these trends as they come up, especially as quantities will remain low, meaning production can be done faster. The team is designing nine months ahead — it is working on spring 2022 right now — but will continue to adjust collections to match trends up until two or three months before launch.
“We’re constantly working on at least three collections,” Mobrem said. “We see this brand as sort of a startup within the larger company. We have a small dedicated team working on it, and we can leverage the expertise from the media side of the business.”
Who What Wear Collection is one of several media companies that covers fashion that has branched into making and selling its own fashion products. Others that have done so include Highsnobiety, with it online store that includes a combination of the latest sneaker and streetwear drops from other brands along with products designed in-house by the Highsnobiety brand. Notably, Clique Brands previously incubated its first beauty line, called Versed, in 2018. It was based on beauty data culled from its websites. Versed increased its revenue by 200% in 2020, Glossy reported in February.
And editors themselves are increasingly making the transition from covering fashion to working in fashion. Jian DeLeon, former editorial director of Highsnobiety, joined Nordstrom as men’s fashion director last summer.
The clout that media companies have with readers can translate to bringing in customers to a brand. According to Who What Wear, readership grew by 117% in the last year, and sales driven by its editorial content (through affiliate links) grew by 230%. Mobrem said she hopes to translate the loyal readership into loyal customers by marketing to existing readers directly through social media, emails and the website.
“We have a clear vision of who we want to reach,” Mobrem said. “We have a global audience of 20 million women, and we’re constantly in contact with them directly through surveys and indirectly through affiliate data. We understand what she wants, which is contemporary designs at a midmarket price. That’s the plan.”