Now It’s The Post-Prep Digital Menswear Evolution?
Remember when Nick Graham launched a rocket into space with a pair of his Joe Boxer brand shorts in the nose cone? Or, were you there when he did the first live-streaming fashion show (from an airline hanger in Iceland? Regretfully, I was invited but couldn’t attend. Or, how about when he launched one of the first fashion industry websites; wove the Joe Boxer URL into the elastic of his underwear; installed the world’s largest email in New York’s Times Square; and sold the world’s first cyber-scooter in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue.
During the early 90s, Nick Graham, an early adopter of technology, connected his cyber-vision to his meteoric Joe Boxer brand and one outrageous and hysterical event after another. Indeed, his mantra, ‘The brand is the amusement park, the product is the souvenir,’ was the DNA of the Joe Boxer brand.
And, now he’s at it again.
I recently caught up with Nick on his plans for his new venture.
Robin Lewis: How has the men’s wear market changed since you started Joe Boxer?
Nick Graham: Twenty-five years ago, 80% of men’s underwear was bought by women. That number today is probably down to 20%, because men are more independent in their thinking, in their self-expression and what they wear under their pants. I now feel the same is happening with Men’s clothing in general, and what we have trained men to wear is ready for a big shift. We're about to go from Prep to what I call Post-Prep.
Robin: What’s Post-Prep? Sounds like a Nick Graham-ism
Nick: If Prep is emailing, Post-Prep is Tweeting. Prep is Prius, Post-Prep is Tesla. It’s the Darwinian evolution that we, as men, are going through -- and how we want to represent ourselves as our own personal brand.
Look at the modern world we live in: the technology shaping social systems; the world that is being mapped and photographed on every street -- and now in the ocean; crowd funding of new ideas that would never before have seen the light of day; space tourism coming online in 2014; 3D printing poised to print a material revolution. How are we going to dress while our world goes through one of the most disruptive periods in history?
Robin: How will you be different? Men’s wear is an increasingly crowded, competitive and commoditized market.
Nick: Its funny you say it’s a crowded and competitive market, I actually see it the opposite. I actually see it wide open, and can be fun and innovative.
I want to explore new production processes, such as 3D printing, that are on the cusp of revolutionizing design, fashion and pretty much everything else we know. I wanted to create new ways of communicating by adding QR codes to our products so wherever you are in the world our products are a portal back to us. And by creating what we call “Everywhere,” we can connect you 24/7 with what we are up to, as well as what we find important, interesting and ironic.
Robin: You’ve gone digital! Tell us about your site.
Nick: I designed it very cleanly, and online site architecture is really important. I want to attract busy guys who are impatient and distracted, like me.
Robin: You’ve always created an experience for your customers. What’s your secret sauce?
Nick: The 3 most important parts of any brand are product, product and product. And not just how the product feels, but how it makes you feel.When you buy a product from us, I want you to feel like you just got something that’s special and individual; both in character and quality. Basically, we’re giving you something a lot like you.
I’m not trying to revolutionize Menswear, because guys and style are evolutionary, which is totally cool. I just want to move the needle 20% from where we are. On the menu of what I call the McDonalds of Men’s fashion, I want to be the salad.
I also want to start a new conversation about lifetsyle brands in the ecommerce world. This conversation is not about a new trend, but the launch of a new style. A trend is having dinner with someone and never seeing them again, style is like knowing someone all your life.
Robin: What’s your vision for all this?
Nick: I want our customers to have a blast and be constantly surprised by what we do. And whether they wear one of our pocket squares, scarves, our underwear, or are impressing a Russian supermodel (male or female) with their 3D printed bracelet. I want each man to always remember that his style is his own. It’s all captured in our company motto: “Because he can.” Robin: Well, if anyone can do it ‘because he can,’ it’s Nick Graham