Company of We was launched in Summer ‘09 by Jayzel Samonte and Christopher Crawford to alleviate what they call their “Bergdorf Blues- a malady inflicted from a growing inability to justify the price tags lurking within those synonymous lilac shopping bags.” “It’s funny but also very uncomfortable- we’ve always appreciated fashion and have immense reverence for designers and luxury brands- but we became increasingly conflicted with the relevance of $700.00 shorts in our economically altered lives,” Crawford explains. So they launched Company of We, with the goal of creating cool affordable menswear. Since its June launch, the brand has received tremendous success and attention from their site’s online shoppers and blue chip retailers alike. With no initial plans to wholesale, the duo had to quickly revise their vision to accommodate an eager audience and will hit retail stores in Spring 2010. We caught up with the guys and asked them a few questions (after the jump).
How do you like being entrepreneurs? I think being an entrepreneur in this climate- we've had to evolve the core philosophy of what we've been conditioned to think. Sure, we started the brand as a way to make an extra living- but what was really compelling for us in launching the line was answering some questions we had as a consumers and not entrepreneurs. We have immense reverence for the craft of fashion- and understand the artistry in a Michael Bastian pleated short-in fact, we idolize it. But when even Michael Bastian is saying he can't afford his own clothes, it really makes you think- even in his moment of jest- that the money we lose today and the money we hope to make tomorrow- should never be a factor in the way we feel when you throw on that blazer that makes you look employed when you've just lost your job. I think we like being consumers and not business people- and understanding the true nature of life outside the glossy fantasies of magazines makes the business of fashion really rewarding.
What are some lessons you’ve learned already since launching your line? We've learned that people still love fashion and still love to shop. But the customer, armed with the plethora of knowledge from blogs like yours- are savvier. People will buy into their egos more than a designer's ego. The tides are changing. People want value- but they want to feel luxurious, they want quality- and a lot of them still have money to pay for it at a reasonable price.
What are some key items in your collection ? We've interpreted fashion forward elements into basics that can translate into any wardrobe. We want our customer to feel spectacular- not a spectacle. Our blazers are constantly on back order. We've paid really close attention to the fit- so off the rack the pieces look tailored.
How do you describe Company of We? Company of We is democratic luxury. We've shipped everywhere from Dubai to Harlem.