Innovating Men’s Apparel

Premium active wear has become hugely popular in the last few years. With companies like LuLu Lemon and Athleta, premium women’s brands have dominated the market.
While many of these brands create apparel for women and men, most men associate these brands with their female counterparts. And with big box retailers using cheap and uncomfortable fabrics, a void opened for men’s high end workout clothing.
Nate Checketts 2017
Enter Rhone. High-performance activewear engineered for comfort and geared towards men. We chatted with cofounder, Nate Checketts, about how Rhone got it’s start and how they fit into the extremely competitive apparel space.
What lead you to starting an apparel company?

My cofounders and I really felt there was a void in the market. No one was really serving men a premium active experience. Guys were generally choosing between companies predominantly focused on women’s yoga or big box retailers with cheap fabrics and products. We felt like there was an opportunity to build a product and brand that really speaks to the way men live, work and sweat.

 

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How/where do you source the best fabric/yarns?
From wherever we can! It’s hard to predict where the next great fabric innovation will come from but the main thing is to put effort into it. Most of the larger players suffer from “only invented here” syndrome where they limit their R&D to what is in their lab. But the reality is disruption can come from anywhere and the key is not to close yourself off to it.  What’s really exciting is Rhone has gained such tremendous momentum and is known as a disruptive brand that embraces the latest and greatest that many mills are willing to codevelop opportunities together.


From cut to color to cloth, you guys focus on the details. What’s one detail that other mens apparel brands fall short of?
Honestly, the best active clothing is highly dependent on the fabric and construction. Most people don’t realize that it’s not just the makeup of the fabric, but also the way the fabric is created. Is it a knit or a woven? Is it an interlock, jersey? What’s the length of the filament? Is there an appropriate application to pull out additional performance features? There is so much detail in fabric it really is an art—and we never ever start with price. But if you sit in other development meetings with other brands the meeting will start with “We need a fabric that is high wicking with 4-way stretch and doesn’t cost more than $1.50 a yard”. When you think that way you cut yourself off from developing great fabrics and thus great product.

 

 

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Tell us about GoldFusion and how that came to be.
GoldFusion was born out of a drive to constantly improve. When we launched we had a technology called SilverTech that won us an award in GQ as the best odor-fighting product on the market. As a result, many groups starting reaching out to tell us about other options in the market that we should consider—one caught our attention. It was a company that had created a solution for fighting agricultural crop disease by attacking the disease causing bacteria. The group was lead by some of the most brilliant scientists including a PHD in Chemistry and Physics. What’s more valuable, is they promised that it was better for the environment and 100% eco-friendly. It sounded way too good to be true, but it’s in our DNA to test and suspend disbelief until we give something a try. After 18 months of working together we are really proud of what we have brought to the market in GoldFusion—it’s unlike anything else out there. More than 2x effective as SilverTech and more than 5x effective as standard market solutions. It’s really a game changer to keeping your clothes dry, fresh and clean.

 

If you could see one celebrity or professional athlete wearing your clothes, who would that be?
We get this question a lot and it’s certainly an interesting one. And let’s face it, as much as any of us want to be, few if any will be in a class with Lebron James. So instead we like telling great stories and focusing on incredible men doing great things. But if I had to answer—I’d probably say Chris Pratt. He’s fit, good looking and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

 

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Any new and innovative products you guys are working on?

Always! But I can’t exactly let that out of the lab just yet! But Fall / Winter collection are going to be great and a twist on anything we’ve released to date.

 

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What advice would you give other entrepreneurs/young start ups?
Embrace your own ignorance. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know—chances are others in whatever your target industry is don’t have the answers either. Ask lots and lots of questions—never feel like you have to know anything because that is the first step in creating a block to your progress.  If you keep looking and searching for ways to improve and learn you will end up ahead of where you were and at the end of the day that’s the only person you can compare yourself with anyway.

 

Learn more about Rhone here.

About La Colombe Coffee Roasters (518 Articles)
Take life to the next level. Everyone deserves cafe quality coffee, anywhere. #CafeAnywhere

1 Comment on Innovating Men’s Apparel

  1. Chris Pratt!

    Check out G of the G, vol. 2, it does not disappoint (bring tissues or a hanky). Love Chris Pratt, thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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