The fashion industry spends so much money and energy telling us what’s new…but the really smart tastemakers know that it’s all about what’s old.
Marc Herman certainly did. As the founder and CEO of Original Retro Brand Clothing, Herman spends all of his time making new tees feel positively vintage. Original Retro Brand has mastered the perfect retro-feel tee – you know, the kind that’s so soft and so perfectly worn in, it’s the only thing you ever feel like wearing. As Herman told me, “When you reach into your closet to get your favorite shirt or your favorite sweatshirt… that should be our product.”
And there’s a good chance it already is. The Original Retro Brand has made a mark with its many school collaborations to date – nearly 200 colleges and universities have partnered with Original Retro Brand, so students from Alabama to West Virginia can find soft vintage-like tees bearing their school’s name right in their campus bookstore.
“I loved the whole college experience I had,” says Herman (who grew up in Texas but attended the University of Arizona). "So I think from a sports standpoint, mixing that with fashion and lifestyle, the collegiate piece is by far the most viable for long-term success.” Combine that with the timelessness of collegiate loyalty and the latest trends (slouchy boyfriend tees or slim cut yoga pants) and what you get is a product that looksold but never GETS old.
And this basic formula has already proven to be a runaway success for the company – Original Retro Brand shirts appear not only in campus bookstores, but also in boutiques and department stores nationwide (like the famous Fred Segal in California and your own local Nordstrom). The styles range from basic t-shirts to hoodies, sweatpants, cute shorts, off-the-shoulder tops, and hats, and the graphics have expanded from college logos to numerous other brands; old-school minor league baseball teams, the NHL, the Harlem Globetrotters, and even beer companies (because really, what college boy wouldn’t want an cool, comfy tee with “Colt 45 Malt Liquor” emblazoned across the front?)
“The whole idea of the brand is to keep it simple, but ultra, ultra comfortable and stylish,” explains Herman (who’s been in the fashion industry since starting his own beachwear company as a junior at U of A). The key, he says, is producing small batches of product locally in Los Angeles, using the highest quality fabric (trust me, I felt for myself: the tees are luxuriously soft), and striking the perfect balance between timeless logos and the latest fashion trends we can’t get enough of.
And what exactly are those? I asked the industry vet to enlighten me from his insider's perspective: What are the biggest trends as we head into fall? Here's a quick break-down:
1. Oversized Crop Tops
“We’re doing really well with our dolmans and very wide-neck, scoop-back, oversized crop top,” he confirms. Reality check: Off-the-shoulder, slouchy, Flashdance-style tees are back!.
2. Scoop Dresses
“The scoop dresses and a little Flashdance tunic dress,” reports Herman. “That’s been fantastic.” With leggings, tights, or simple flats, a little dress like this goes a long way.
3. Boyfriend Tees
At a recent (highly air-conditioned) trade show, Original Retro Brand’s shivering female models threw on some men’s tees over their outfits to stay warm. Buyers swarmed the girls, asking immediately, “Can I get that?” This successful fluke, Herman asserts, speaks to fashion’s "boyfriend" moment" — loose men’s tees, oversized hoodies, and other boyish looks rule for fall. Of course, pair them with your favorite boyfriend jeans (duh).
Herman says legging are here to stay, and Original Retro Brand is even including them in their new Quad Collection. With a small logo in the corner, you can rep your school with these versatile, wear-anywhere bottoms. Throw them on with all those oversized tops and dresses and you can’t go wrong.
5. Yoga Pants
You can also get your yogi on with this popular addition to their new Quad Collection. These bottoms come with an understated shout-out to your school and can easily take your from the gym to the library.
Enter our College Colors Day Contest and you could win $200 worth of Original Retro Brand Clothing!
— By Ellie Krupnick, Barnard College