On April 6, Yeezy Mafia, the controversial Instagram account known for leaking details on yet-to-be-announced Yeezy and Adidas drops, featured a post announcing the June release of Adidas’ Yung-1 sneaker, a collaboration with fashion brand Wardrobe.NYC inspired by Adidas’ Falcon Dorf style released in 1997. The image of the white and gray shoe was liked by 23,000 of the account’s followers, with a majority of those responding to the “Cop or drop?” prompt with the positive option. Some called out the style’s likeness to a pair of Yeezys.
For Wardrobe.NYC’s founders, designer Josh Goot and stylist Christine Centenera, the early buzz — among sneakerheads, no less — was new. The couple released the brand’s first collection, a capsule of 16 tailored pieces sold in packs of four and eight for him and her, in December. They teased it just days before on Instagram, through both their individual accounts and the brand’s, largely relying on traditional fashion publications (Vogue, Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book) and industry friends to get the word out.
Officially, Goot and Centenera are rolling out their second seasonal capsule collection, titled Release 02: Sport, in the same way as the first. But, based on attention to date, they’re prepared for a different outcome.
On June 20, 500 “wardrobes” were made available for their clients and acquaintances, who could place an order after accessing the site through a provided password. As a bonus, those early buyers can double as influencers, wearing and building hype about the collection before the final 500 sets are made available to the public on Tuesday. With Release 01, supporters included Virgil Abloh, Margot Robbie and Gigi Hadid.
“We think this time the [buyer] demographic could skew a little younger,” said Goot. “But we’re still finding out.”
It’s a safe bet, considering the draw of the limited-edition Adidas sneaker (1,200 were made) and the aesthetic of the new collection, compared to the last: athleisure wear, versus work-perfect classics. (Pieces in Release 01: Tailored included a blazer, a skirt or trousers, and a coat.)
Reaching new shoppers through a collaboration is an increasingly popular strategy for fashion brands and no doubt smart for a new fashion business. (Goot and Centenera already have others in the works for future collections, said Centenera. Down the pike is a release centered on summer tailoring.) But it’s the founders’ hope that they’ll earn a consistent client base, with the collaborations being perks versus draws. Ideally, all product would sell in one release, to clients, rather than over the course of two drops.
“This is Adidas’ big sneaker right now,” said Centenera. “But we’re introducing that to Wardrobe’s client, thinking they’ll look at the shoe and be like, ‘This is a cool shoe.’ And not have that hype-driven behavior.”
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Aside from the addition of a collaboration, the Sport release has other updates based on learnings from Wardrobe.NYC’s first go-around. For starters, the first, tailored assortment gave shoppers more options: They could choose a four-piece wardrobe for $1,500 or an eight-piece collection for $3,000. (The pricier set sold best, said Goot, and female clients outnumbered males 4 to 1.) Sport, on the other hand, is only available in gender-specific 10-piece sets, priced at $1,500 each. What’s more, while Sport is all black — with the exception of the sneaker — the Tailored set included a white dress shirt and the choice of a black or white tee.
“This requires the discipline not to ‘do things,’” said Goot. “It gets too complicated.”
Sizing is also more inclusive. Due in part to limited quantity, sizes on the far sides of the spectrum were first to sell out, and women’s pieces started at Size 2. Based on demand, Goot and Centenera diversified available sizes accordingly. The new collection comes in Size 0.
“From a logistics standpoint, the process was so much more complicated than we had anticipated,” said Goot. “We needed more time after launching to actually get our house together — but in the six months since, we’ve done a huge amount of work. We’re so much better organized this time.”
An image from the Wardrobe.NYC Release 02: Sport campaign
The collaboration with Adidas kicked off more than a year ago, when Goot and Centenera first approached the brand with the idea. “Once we got the green light, it was almost instant: We had a couple of days to make decisions, and then it was signed off, and done.”
She alluded to the “dad sneaker” trend, saying the couple had the style in mind and wanted a very wearable shoe. She and Goot sent Adidas several of the brand’s retro styles they liked. Adidas had planned to rerelease the one, the Falcon Dorf, so timing was right.
Centenera had worked with Adidas before in her ongoing role as a collaborator on Kanye West’s Yeezy line — “It was nice to have that rapport,” she said. But, despite the Adidas link and the fact that apparel pieces in the Sport collection reflect the popular Yeezy aesthetic, Centenera said no inspiration came from the line.
“[West] doesn’t have black in his collection — recently, anyway; he’s very much on a different color trip,” she said.
In addition to the sneaker, the women’s collection is composed of a crop top, a tank top, a bike short, a legging, a long-sleeve tee, a track top, a track pant and a windbreaker, which arrive on buyers’ doorsteps in a unisex gym bag. The men’s is much the same — a T-shirt and running short are in place of the crop top and tank.
“There are some similarities to [Yeezy], but the purpose and the outcome is quite different,” said Goot. “This is a little more technical and performance-oriented, a little less oversized and ‘fashion.’ You can train in these clothes.”
That is, as long as you’re fine with scuffing the sneakers.