Who are you guys again? Where is this brand from? We heard this a lot when we first decided that the brand focus of NoKipple would be to bring something entirely new into what is really quite a narrow market, the old saying of “familiarity breeds contempt” holds no sway in this market and when someone drops over $300 on a pair of jeans they, more often than not, will want to go with something that they are familiar with. Bringing new brands into this market is quite a challenge.
For us the motivation for wanting to do something different came after the decision to become a retailer, naturally we looked at the most successful people out there already doing it to see what made them a success, who our geographical peers would be, and what the already offered as there would be little point in further diluting the market by offering the exact same brand line up. More than this though, we felt that outside of the established brands, which we are all very familiar with, there must be other brands out there making amazing things and perhaps not getting the attention that their crafts deserved, we were correct.
The brands which I now work with in a retail sense are all unique in what they do and how they do it, whilst being decidedly different from each other also. Looking specifically at Trophy Clothing and Jelado it would be true to say that they both produce vintage inspired Americana wear in a variety of materials and to a very high standard, but that is where similarities end and “la difference” begins.
Trophy redesign and reinterpret to their own vision, nothing is truly a reproduction, it is all given a unique “Egawa twist” by Trophy brand owner Masaki Egawa whose vision, keen eye for detail and insistence upon travelling the lengths of Japan to source materials, hardware and fabrics is what makes Trophy Clothing incomparable to anyone else, because no one else shares his particular perspicacity.
Jelado is also the result of one mans vision and one mans passion, but Yohei Goto walks a different path. Goto San loves authenticity, but more than this he relishes improving on what is already near perfect. If inspiration is found in a vintage flannel from the 1950’s but Goto San is not happy with how it was stitched or patterned then he will re-pattern it and remake it using a higher quality stitch pattern from the 1920’s for example. Jelado work with passion to find inspiration in the old, and then improve upon it in every aspect of materials, manufacture and even slightly modernising the cut, but only if it is absolutely appropriate.
Articulating the above sentiments and stories about lesser known brands to a narrow field of customers, against established competition, is certainly a challenge, but it is one worth facing and one which I enjoy simply because I believe in our brands and I believe in what they do and what we do. Working with lesser known brands is certainly not the easy path to choose and it has its frustrations, but we believe that the consumers in this market are educated, that they want to try new things and that they take the time to research what they are buying. My aspiration is to keep showing the customers products that I think they will enjoy, made by brands whom they might need to get to know a little before they swap numbers.