Online direct-to-consumer retail is a standard vehicle for new brands with little to no experience to get up and running. However, the channel’s appeal isn’t lost on denim veterans.
In May, DL 1961 Creative Director Sarah Ahmed launched Warp + Weft, an online-only, direct-to-consumer denim brand for men and women. However, Ahmed and her team didn’t stop there. All Warp + Weft jeans retail for under $100 and are offered in sizes 0 to 24 for women and 28 to 40 for men. Meaning, if you enjoy quality denim and fair prices, you can wear Warp + Weft no matter what your size may be.
“Sixty-seven percent of women in the U.S. are size 14 or above, yet the majority of mainstream fashion is produced in sizes 0 to 8,” Ahmed said. “This didn’t add up to us, and we wanted to create chic, amazing fitting jeans for women of all sizes.”
Rivet spoke to Ahmed about Warp + Weft’s efforts to democratize denim and how the company plans to scale business in the seasons ahead.
RIVET: Why was it important to launch with all-inclusive sizing?
Ahmed: We wanted to redefine denim. There was a gap in the fashion industry where great-fitting, high-quality jeans were only available to a few, so we founded Warp + Weft to change that. Built on an everyone-welcome philosophy, we’re inclusive in every way—from production and price to sizing and design. It’s our denim democracy.
RIVET: Do you think we’ll see more brands offer all-inclusive sizing in the future?
Ahmed: There’s an aspirational quality to the world of premium and luxury brands, which is great for a certain customer and there is definitely a market for it, but with Warp + Weft, we’re really seeking to democratize denim. Sixty-seven percent of women in the U.S. are size 14 or above, yet the majority of mainstream fashion is produced in sizes 0 to 8. This didn’t add up to us, and we wanted to create chic, amazing fitting jeans for women of all sizes. Warp + Weft is an advocate for a more inclusive industry and hope brands will follow in our footsteps.
RIVET: What are some of Warp + Weft’s best sellers for women?
Ahmed: The JFK is our mid-rise skinny and our hometown favorite. It comes in our widest variety of fabrics and is woven from our dreamiest fabric—super soft, with just the right amount of stretch and lift. It looks amazing on everyone and just as flattering as it is comfortable. Another bestseller and personal favorite, is our CDG jean. It’s a chic, high rise straight style inspired by Paris and available in a few perfect washes. The CDG combines authentic denim looks with our signature stretch fabric, so you get the best of both worlds.
RIVET: For men?
Ahmed: For men, our classic, fail-safe AMS strikes the perfect balance of slim but not skinny. It’s meant for most body types. We designed it from scratch to ensure the perfect fit, right out of the box. It’s also available in a range of wearable shades.
RIVET: Have there been any surprise hits since launching?
Ahmed: We built Warp around our customers, which meant we went through months and months of wear testing and direct feedback from our customers. We’ve been receiving tons of feedback from our customers about how amazing they feel in our jeans, and how much they love our warm message of inclusivity.
RIVET: What are some brand-new items for the fall/winter season?
Ahmed: We’ll be releasing amazing new styles along with updated washes for fall and expanding our plus range to include our most popular CDG and PSP styles. We’re also expanding our product categories to include denim jackets and skirts.
RIVET: What’s trending for fall?
Ahmed: We are seeing distressed hems and denim patchwork as big trends for fall. You’ll see the latter on our new denim jacket.
RIVET: Are there any other bodies or product categories that you would like to see Warp + Weft tap into?
Ahmed: Right now, we are focused on making sure we’re creating the perfect jean for everyone. As soon as everyone’s happy (tough task), we’ll talk.
RIVET: What do you say to retailers that consider direct-to-consumer brands as part of traditional retail’s slow down?
Ahmed: We put the customer at the center of everything we do. We believe that by doing so we’ll build a lasting brand with a loyal base that makes products people love. Nothing is more important to us than this.
RIVET: What are some essential qualities or traits a successful direct-to-consumer brand has?
Ahmed: A willingness to adapt and react to customer reactions. The customer today is trained to expect the best and for companies to listen closely to what they’re looking for. Amazing customer service, fast delivery, free returns—all are now considered standard. A determination to constantly be evolving and improving is key.
RIVET: What has been the most effective way to reach consumers so far?
Ahmed: Unsurprisingly, we’re finding that social media has been the best way to reach customers. We receive the most direct feedback there and have been able to identify people we believe will be fans of Warp + Weft.
RIVET: Do you have any plans to open a brick-and-mortar?
Ahmed: Right now we’re focused on making www.warpweftworld.com our flagship store. However, we’re excited about the possibilities of bringing our accessibly priced, amazing quality denim to a brick-and-mortar location soon. Stay tuned!