Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with the Co-Founders of Whytes
Whytes, the Lifestyle Brand for Men on the Quest of Designing the Perfect White T-Shirt.
What makes the perfect white T-shirt? We put this question to the co-founders of the German lifestyle brand whytes. Read on what the fashion experts have to say about their start-up, fabric quality and design.
Interview by speakfashion.us
Nadia, Thomas you’re both the Co-Founders of the German Lifestyle Brand Whytes. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Nadia: I’m a Tunisian-born, professional Fashion Designer, who’d been working in New York’s bustling Fashion Industry since 2009. I started my fashion career as a Sales and Marketing Consultant at “agent 011″, one of New York’s finest lifestyle showrooms located in the fancy neighborhood of SoHo. When John Richmond, one of England’s top tier ready to wear designers, offered me to lead his US-Sales Department out of New York, I took the opportunity with both hands. A career step that got me acquainted with the who’s who of New York’s fashion scene. Today, I advise several European fashion brands in all aspects of their sales strategy and market my own collection throughout selected retail boutiques across Europe. I hold a business degree from the “University of Cooperative Education (UCE)”, a Fashion Illustration Certificate from “FIT” and I’m fluent in Arabic, French, English and German. An advantage that I’m eager to use, in order to establish “whytes” as an exclusive lifestyle brand for fashionable men around the world.
Thomas: I’m a German-born award-winning Information Architect, who’s been developing digital products for over a decade. I started my career in 2001, when signing up to work as a Marketing Manager for Hubert Burda Media, one of the biggest publishing houses in Europe. In 2009, I took a leap of faith and moved from Munich to New York City, where I started to work as a Digital Consultant for renowned agencies and freelance clients. During my career, I’ve been developing products and services for brands such as Audi, Mercedes, Microsoft and Fujitsu. I hold a Marketing Degree from the “University of Cooperative Education (UCE), several Marketing and User Experience Certificates from New York’s General Assembly and I’m fluent in English and German. For me, nothing is more sinister than poor quality and bad craftsmanship. I’m eager to eliminate both of these pet peeves by putting all of my career learning’s into beautiful physical products for lifestyle-loving men.
That sounds great. So, tell us how you came up with the idea of starting your own business. Why white T-Shirts for men?
Thomas: At first I was in doubt. Could it really be? I mean, it’s the 21st century after all. We are about to invent the self-driving car but can’t tackle the problem of designing a white, slim fit T-Shirt for fashionable men? I started to dig deeper, chatting up fashion bloggers from around the world, asking them for advice. The more I talked to those guys, the more obvious it became: there was no such thing as a slim fit, well sewn white T-Shirt. At least not one, that wouldn’t break the bank for the regular guy.
So what happens when you realize you can’t find something you’d like to have? Right: you start creating it yourself – or at least, tinkering with the idea. Especially when you have a partner in crime that’s been working in New York’s fashion industry for years and knows a thing or two about design, quality fabrics and cuts. And so we did. Over the course of 18 months we’ve gathered feedback from a couple of hundred men, by asking them one simple question: “What does the perfect white T-Shirt look like for you?” We tested as much as 22 fabrics and more than a dozen patterns until we came up with something we believe is the perfect white T-Shirt – for now. Because we won’t stop here and hope our audience won’t either. With their help we’d like to make our product even better over time.
Ok, what makes your white T-Shirt perfect?
Nadia: Well, it’s the fabric and cut of our T-Shirt. Let me dive deeper into it. Finding the perfect fabric was a rather hard nut to crack. After we’ve put 22 different jersey fabrics to an intense washing test, there was only one that matched our ambition: A European made premium lightweight blend of Combed Cotton and Micromodal. Combed Cotton is a refined version of cotton, where slim brushes are used to pull out any impurities and short cotton fibers to obtain only the purest material. Micromodal is a rather new fiber made from beech wood and spun into ultra-fine yarns to give our T-Shirts the perfect fineness and a super-soft feeling. Micromodal is feather-light and makes the shirt almost feel like a second skin. Our luxurious blend is more absorbent than regular fabrics and ensures that our T-Shirts don’t shrink or stretch.
During an extensive 18 months prototyping session, we’ve created over a dozen different patterns. Our pre-final product was put to the test last summer, when we had 150 random guys in Munich’s English garden to finally try it on for the first time. Our research obviously paid off: we’ve gathered great positive responses on the overall slim fit style – especially the mid-length slim cut sleeves. But the real stunner for our testers was the fact that we are offering two different lengths for each size. Something so many of them had been looking forever. We also got a thumbs up on our signature black collar ribbon – which obviously isn’t only a distinctive design element but also stabilizes the cut and keeps the shirt in shape after so many washes.
Wow, that’s impressive. And you guys produce your Shirts in Germany, right?
Thomas: That’s absolutely right. High quality and expert craftsmanship are the core values of our brand. If you’d have to think of a country that stands for exactly those principals, what would you come up with? See, there obviously is no alternative, is there? And since one of us (laughs) was born and raised in this quality loving land of perfectionism, it felt even more natural to find a local manufacturer for the production of the perfect white T-Shirt. Especially since our fabrics are made in Western Europe as well – a fact that guarantees an easy, fast and emission-conscious supply chain.
Made in Germany. That sounds expensive. What does a perfect white T-Shirt cost and where can I get it?
Nadia: (laughs) – Our perfect white T-Shirt won’t cost you a fortune, even though it is “Made in Germany”. It’s a premium T-Shirt and can be worn as an undershirt as a basic or a stand alone shirt both in summer and winter. It’ll cost you 32 EUR plus shipping (depending on what country you’re living in) and can always be bought on our eCommerce website: whytes.co. Right now, you’ll find us at several offline retailers as well, for instance at Daniels Moden in Munich and Cologne. There we offer our fashionable interested men two different shirt styles: our V-neck and crew-neck in 10 different sizes.
You guys really thought this through, didn’t you? What are your future plans, anything you want to share with us today?
Thomas: Sure. First of all, we’d like to share with you that our start-up whytes made it into the February issue of the German Playboy. We’re really happy about it and appreciate their trust in recommending us. That’s just great. Of course, we’re working on getting more press coverage from other magazines as well.
Nadia: With that being said, we’ll keep up the hard work Marketing- and Sales-wise to spread the word of our start-up. From the design perspective, we’d love to extend our white T-Shirt to more different fashion products on the long run.
Awesome, we’ll keep the fingers crossed for you guys. Hard work pays off. Good luck to you and thank you for the interesting interview!
|1_Fashion History Classics: Invention of the T-Shirt|
|2_Whytes in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary|
|3_Fashion Backstage: Interview w/ESMOD fabric specialist Ms. Menne|
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