NICHE BRAND REPORT
Naked & Famous Denim
Naked & Famous was founded in 2008 by Canadian Brandon Svarc and is one out of hundreds of denim brands. Being in the same category as Levis, Lee and Diesel which has a long history of making denim products, one wonders how this brand in particular would stand out.
PRODUCTS + BRAND + UNIQUE SELLING POINT
Having a family being in the business for 65 years, starting with his grandfather setting up his own work wear business. Having such a strong heritage and family history in the industry, Brandon Svarc decided to set up his own denim brand. Having experience in marketing and PR he quickly set up something of his own, partnering up with Bahzad Trinos, creating something directional, crazy and story based – And Naked & Famous was born.
The idea behind the brand was simple, gimmick free, untreated denim that would stand out due to its quality and fit, and not using a celebrity endorsement. The name itself ‘Naked & Famous’ is poking fun at Hollywood brands that sell for a crazy amount of money just because it is celebrity endorsed. Naked & Famous has stripped down their denim to the core essentials of the whole denim production, using Japanese fabrics to create a blend of linen and silk denim manufactured in Canada only. Naked & Famous products are simple, but well crafted. Svarc, the owner and designer who would rather be preferred to be called a builder, does not focus on the decorative side, but more of the fit and construction, the development of fabrics. They focus on the fit for both male and female, for the slim guy and the power lifter.
The fabric they use is 100% raw denim, that means non treated, bleached or washed selvedge denim. Selvedge denim is made on old machines called shuttle looms, which seals the edge of the fabric making a selvedge. This fabric is more unique and rare. It goes back to the traditional production method, and is the opposite of mass production. It goes back in time before companies saw rock n roll and celebrities, before they knew that the denim would be the American staple product. Naked & Famous is all about going back to the old school method, that’s all about quality. Naked & Famous has a wide variety of fabrics and fits for the customer to choose from. Having the freedom to choose based on the weight, construction, composition, even the smell of their denim. Some might say that having to many choices reduces the values or that the quantity might confuse the costumer as to what they want, but it also gives them a choice to find a pair of jeans that fits their personality.
When creating new fabrics, the is to create something different from the standard. As most of their product has a classic and timeless look, what makes their product stand out is the construction and materials. “Denim and leather is the only two materials that looks more beautiful with time”, Naked and famous celebrates individuality. Every pair of their denim has one starting point, but having these jeans fade according to one’s lifestyle is the only way to have a unique pair of denim that no one else will have.
So the brand can be described as being split into two parts. One side more innovative and crazy, and the other lone is the luxury basics, which is the core of the brand – focusing mainly on Japanese fabric, done raw, and for a good price. Following their own four main rules – “Always made in Canada, Always from Japanese fabric, Always raw and no bullshit.”
Having two collections a year (Spring summer and Autumn Winter), all made with Japanese materials, cut and sew in Montreal, Naked & Famous has over the years collaborated with several independent brands, such as ONI SHOAI and BIG JOHN - two Japanese selvedge denim brands, creating unique piece of garment using the highest quality fabrics.
The Spring ’16 collection brings in lighter colours with returning classics like the vintage cast broken twill selvedge as well as some new takes, like the sky blue power stretch. The lighter weight also makes them perfect for moving into spring summer.
Naked and famous has a strong marketing philosophy. By not using celebrity endorsement, the brand feels less pretentious, which reflects their philosophy. Straight to the point. Having such a strong philosophy and anti-marketing attitude, to even say no to Justin Bieber when asking for a couple of pair of jeans, the 8 year old denim brand has stuck to their anti-marketing policy when Justin Biebers stylist asked for free pairs of jeans, with simply replying them the address to their store. Their anti-marketing has paid of, as they save money to invest doing creative and innovative products such as their glow-in-the-dark denim (Fit: Weird Guy, 165,60£ available at Barneys New York, Barney COOP exclusively) and scratch-and-sniff denim (Fit: Weird Guy, 86,51£ available at Farfetch). ‘There was no way my imagination was going to get any better as I was getting older’. When trying to create new innovative ideas, Brandon Svarc focuses on looking back to his childhood where his imagination was at it best. And that’s how they get inspiration to create their products. Each of these unique ideas sparks a degree of interest in consumers, and has already become popular in the Japanese fashion market, being known for doing “crazy shit” in Okayama, Japan.
One wonders how a brand with such anti-marketing strategy would be so well known. They do not do any advertising, the chance of seeing them in a magazine is less than zero. They do not do any giveaways, this may sound harsh in a way, but it also gives us an impression that the brand does not treat anyone different, a celebrity or not. These are all high quality products that are worth the price.
Recently, the brand has yet again surprised their audience by producing organic, gluten-free, vegan denim jeans (Super skinny guy,108,21£ available at Tate + Yoko). The environmental friendly organic vegan selvedge is a result of a lifestyle trend wave that has been happening in the recent years. And Naked & Famous had decided to jump on the trend, reaching out to a new audience.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND LOGO
The logo is a representation of the brand, naked to the core and pure. It also shows a playful side, using a comic inspired logo to reflect the childish.
Naked and famous has a strong online presence, often being featured on heddels.com, and having social media accounts such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and twitter. After looking through all their social media accounts, I believe their Instagram is the one that is the focus, being on the front page of their website and having a hashtag for customers to tag, it is a way for the brand to interact with their costumer, and also having the customers interact with each other.
The brands logo, a naked lady pop art, is inspired by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. When they made pop art, they were actually making fun of celebrity obsessed culture. However, Brandon Svarc has made it clear that he does not make fun of celebrities themselves, but the fact that people obsess about them.
Naked & Famous due to the lack of celebrity endorsement, also means a lack of recognition for people with little to no interest in denim heritage.
STOCKIST / SALES / OWN RETAIL?
The 8-year-old brand has been successful, having retailers in Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Portland, Seattle and Toronto, but also all over the world from Asia to the UK. Currently, they sell in over 30 countries all over the world, and it’s Svarc himself and his sales manager doing the sales. There are no distributors, no sales agents and no PR company.
They have yet to set up their own independent store. But seeing how successful they are as a brand, going on for 8 year without a store, they are able to save up to do more innovative fabric research for their products.
On their website the shop button takes you to Tate + Yoko, a Canadian menswear boutique with a unique concept. This boutique is one of their main stockists. Tate + Yoko carry some of the best cult Japanese denim whose focus is on quality denim products. Tate + Yoko also carry other brands such as Paulrose products, Japan Blue, Oni Denim (which has collaborated with Naked & famous), Kamikaze attack and others.
Naked & Famous show their product ranges yearly at capsule tradeshows in Paris-, New York- and Las Vegas menswear, where they show their latest collection to the public and a host of buyers for the upcoming season. Being known as the most innovative denim brand in the world, and being the first brand to create the famous 32 oz. raw denim (Weird guy super heavyweight 32 oz selvedge indigo, 345,27£ available at shop.tateandyoko.com)
FUTURE BUSINESS STRATEGY
Within a year I see the brand pushing boundaries when it comes to fabrics for their denim, but also hoping that they pay the same amount of research and attention on their other products, such as their shirts, belts, knits and bags that are less shown in the media. Also their product seems more male focused, as it would be interesting to see how they would put the womenswear more in focus and expanding that area of the brand.
In three year I believe the brand will continue to collaborations, but instead of independent fashion brands, they might want to expand to technology industry based on how they’ve developed their fabrics, and how they can develop that further with help from somewhere other than the textiles and fashion industry.
In five years, I see the brand have their independent shop in Montreal, and continuing to expand into other countries.
Some brand usually finds themselves falling into the ‘mainstream’ ways of marketing and advertising, but since Naked & Famous started out with their strong anti-marketing philosophy, and stuck to it, I believe that they will continue their marketing strategy, as it has been working for them for so long.
Having researched the brand, I truly believe Naked & Famous is a representation of Brandon Svarc as a person, form his humour to his values in ethics and marketing. Naked & Famous is about looking back, embracing the traditional methods yet using the modern methods and practices to create unique and innovative products. I think we are all interested to see how this brand in particular will progress in the future.
3. February 2016
Contemporary menswear (BOOK)
14. February 2016
16 February 2016
18. February 2018