The fashion world, much like the world at large, is currently in a state of flux. Between exaggerated rumors about "the death of retail," designers moving their fashion shows from New York to Paris, the combination of menswear with womenswear on the runways, and the whole "see-now, buy-now" trend, the industry is ripe for new ideas. Enter WARDROBE.NYC, a new direct-to-consumer luxury label founded by designer Josh Goot and Vogue Australia's Christine Centenera, which launches Thursday.
What makes this collection different from everything else on the market is that the pieces must must be purchased as a set (you have the option of buying an eight-piece or four-piece set). "There is so much talk about a broken model and the changing landscape [of the fashion industry]," Goot tells Refinery29. "I was thinking about how to continue what I love about fashion, but with something that makes sense from a business model." He then approached Centenera with the concept.
"We knew that we wanted the first collection to be focused on suiting," Centenera shares. "As a stylist, I sometimes find it difficult to find what I think is the perfect blazer or the perfect tailored white shirt — something that is not defined by a specific brand, something that is high quality and nondescript." The first offering includes a blazer, a shirt, a T-shirt, a skirt, a blouse, a coat, a knit, and leggings for women; and a blazer, a shirt, a t-shirt, a hoodie, a coat, a knit, and pants and trousers for men. All of the pieces are available in that most classic of color schemes: black and white.
While the collection is not "genderless," it is not heavily gendered either, another example of its modern take on dressing. "The men's and women's capsules feel very similar and that is intentional and a core element to the brand we want to continue," explains Goot. Centenera adds: "The women's pieces have a masculine edge, and the core pieces are inspired by men's tailoring."
There is something about the uniform approach of their collection that feels oddly futuristic, but also reflective of the way that many people in the fashion industry approach getting dressed. "[The label] came from a personal place, and as a result, from a place of practicality," says Centenera. "The pieces work together, but they help form a basis for other fashion to be brought in."
"I feel like we are at a point in our lives where we love fashion but don't want to spend a significant amount of money in the excess of it all," Goot adds. And while the collection isn't necessarily inexpensive — $1,500 for four pieces or $3,000 for the whole eight-piece collection — when you think about how much a classic Mansur Gavriel or Stella McCartney coat retails for (about $1,000), the value is evident.
"We wanted to allow people to access this quality of clothing with a reasonable price," Centenera explains, noting that the collection is designed in New York and made in Italy. "I don't think that these pieces exist in the market at this quality level at this price range."
"We are excited to explore how the initial first release can evolve over time and how people can continually work [the collection] into their lives," Goot says. "We like the idea of concepts specific to the season, [and] for the next spring release, we are looking into a travel or sports-related collection." Will capsule collections become the next big trend in fashion? The answer seems to be yes, if Centenera and Goot have anything to do with it.