SPY Spotlight: Entireworld Is the Utopian Brand Making Comfy Basics for Work, Play and Sleep
Brand Spotlight is a new conversation series that highlights our editors’ favorite up-and-coming brands. We’ll introduce you to unique brands and share some of our favorite products.
In 2003, Scott Sternberg began a brand known as Band of Outsiders. It started as a menswear line that focused on shirts and ties, but later grew to include women’s clothing as well. Sternberg had a pretty solid run with the brand, but eventually chose to leave in 2015 after 12 years.
At first, Sternberg wasn’t really sure what he was going to do next. With a creative background in arts and music, he wasn’t limited to a career in the fashion world. But in 2018, after three years away from the scene, Sternberg announced he was starting a brand new clothing line — Entireworld.
Today, the brand offers stylish and comfortable basics — even though Sternberg told us he hates that word — for men and women. His goal was simple: to create modern staples people will love wearing. From athleisure to tees to socks and undies, Entireworld is supposed to be a brand for everyone. And unlike some high fashion brands, Entireworld isn’t afraid to put comfort first. And since we’re all spending way more time at home in our coziest sweats, t-shirts and boxers, Entireworld is the perfect brand for the moment.
The stripped-down aesthetic and bright colors might remind elder millennials of American Apparel (without any of the baggage), but Entireworld is to carving out its own niche in the market. It’s catering to customers looking for comfortable, affordable and sustainably produced apparel that doesn’t come from a fast-fashion outlet. Besides its comfy basics and stylish everyday appeal, Entireworld also has a playful website that makes shopping online a delight (seriously, the brand’s About Us and FAQ is bananas).
To find out more about this new brand, I was able to catch up with Sternberg recently and chat over the phone. Read on for our conversation and discover the utopian ambitions of Entireworld. Or if you’d rather start shopping, scroll down to see our editor’s favorite picks from Entireworld.
First and foremost, there’s one thing I have to ask — the music on your website. Why did you choose to use sound and that almost early propaganda-esque video work on a site that’s main focus is to sell clothing? Do these aesthetically early-internet choices influence the way you want people to visualize your clothing?
I don’t think of Entireworld as a fashion brand or a clothing brand, it’s just a world that I built — a frequency for you to tune into. After my previous company Band of Outsiders, I already had this notion for a more Democratic brand that was built off of this idea of utopia and world-building. All of the elements of the brand through the site experience, imagery, video-driven content, product and labeling is all an internal holistic approach to this world I’m trying to build for the customer. The important thing Entirworld is about is taking the stuff you wear every day and making it feel sublime and making the product itself sublime — as well as the experience of buying it.
One of the touchpoints when I was building out the brand focused on the way I think in three dimensions. So I was thinking, what does this brand sound like? The answer to me felt like ambient music. So, when we were building the site with the developers, that was one of the concepts I gave them. They built this really clever AI based on notes that I played on one of my synthesizers that plays little tunes as you roll over different items on the site. When you put something in your cart, you hear an audience clapping. Just these little nods. The video choices really comes from my love of general media nostalgia to come out of leftfield and explain things in a different way.
Can you briefly enlighten us about the origin of Entireworld? What did you want to say with your style when you began it all?
My previous brand Band of Outsiders was kind of an expensive brand that sold at some of the best boutiques around the world next to the best brands. We made suiting and ties and expensive womenswear — all that stuff. I just became, as a designer, more interested in mundane things. T-shirts, sweats, socks, underwear — literally the stuff you live in. I wanted to really elevate that and consider that in a way that wasn’t overdesigned or maximalist in its approach, but really modernist and certainly quite sustainable. But not really hitting anybody over the head with that, just doing it. It’s really about a message of purity of design, simplicity and almost a system of dressing. Something that works with a lot of different type of people and wardrobes. Kind of an alternate to all this crap out there that’s trying to be the cheapest thing or “the perfect t-shirt”. Just throwing it all out the window and being an alternative for basics, even though I hate that word.
I read your interview with GQ that took place at the beginning of the coronavirus talk. How much has changed for you since COVID-19 took over the planet? Did you face any restrictions?
We really lucked out in a sense. We got everything from our spring collection out of China before the Chinese New Year. Right after that is when they really locked everything down. China obviously was much better than here at flattening the curve, so by the time we needed more merchandise, we were able to get a steady flow coming in. So, that wasn’t really much of a problem. I think internally, I did have to lay a few people off, which was tough, but we were a tiny team to begin with. The working from home thing hasn’t been an obstacle at all, and from a sales perspective, the challenge has been having enough inventory. The beauty of what we do is quarantine-friendly clothes. It works outside of that context, certainly, but this was a time period where a lot more people became aware of our brand. Wearing a cozy pair of sweats or updating your underwear drawer felt more appropriate given the time. Plus the price point is so much more accessible.
Speaking of “quarantine clothes”, I see that Entireworld isn’t selling face masks. Given the pertinence of facial coverings right now and considering lots of online retailers hopped on the bandwagon, is there a reason you chose not to produce any?
I think a lot of brands started to do that out of necessity because they weren’t able to sell their core products and they saw an opportunity to bring in revenue. If you own your own factory, which only bigger brands really do, it’s a great use for sewers to keep them working. We were selling so many other things, so for us it wasn’t a necessity to do it. We definitely considered it and we’re still considering it, because we’re probably going to be wearing masks for give or take another year at least. I’ve spent so much time in Korea and Japan over the past twenty years in this industry, that culturally, people wear masks when they’re sick. They wear masks for part of the public good. So, perhaps, we’re going to get more in that place…
It would be cool to collab with someone to create some super hi-tech mask, but having done this for so long, when you get too far out of your zone it becomes confusing to people. My biggest lesson is to stay in the zone and make really natural extensions from that zone, but there’s no need to try and do everything.
You have a ton of different clothing styles on your site, from classic sweats to track shorts. Has there been an area in fashion you haven’t tackled yet that you’re looking at making in the future for Entireworld?
The core is there, right? It’s there and these are not fashion-driven products. These are things that we all love and need and sort of restock on a semi-regular basis. At the same time, as a designer, I’m always of course tempted in so many areas. I’ve made lots of shoes at Band of Outsiders, did stuff for shows, tailored stuff, outwear, everything — I feel like I’ve checked those boxes for my own personal need, but when we can take our brand codes into new areas and really feel it’s a natural extension of the brand and have it be something that feels urgent, vital, exciting and surprising, I’m down for it. It’s not always easy to answer that question, and when that’s the case, it’s probably a sign that you shouldn’t do it yet. Because again there’s so much stuff out there. The last thing the world needs is more stuff.
I know you’re selling some pieces at Nordstrom, but in the future, has there ever been any consideration to open an in-person Entireworld storefront? Or do you see the e-commerce world as your niche?
Sure, I mean we’ve done a couple pop-ups. We did one with Design Within Reach, the furniture store in New York last year, we did our own popup in LA last year which was rad — it was in a movie theatre. But, yeah, I think retail outside of this quarantine bubble that we’re in can be a really wonderful way for people to connect to this 3D world we’re trying to build. At the same time, I think that you have to be really careful as a business owner since it can be incredibly expensive and risky in terms of it really being added into the business and it becoming something that can support itself. Creatively, 100%. What that looks like, permanent store, popup, whatever it is post-pandemic, who knows?
I do think that there’s a way, especially with men from my experience, who just want to know more about the product and try it on and feel it and meditate with the product a little more. It can be a really powerful tool, but for now, we’re just super focused on digital and trying to use these existing tools to bring a more emotional connection to the clothes and make it really easy and fun to buy stuff online.
Okay, final question. The world wants to know, and by the world I mean me. Trunks, boxers, or briefs?
Personally? I’m a briefs guy. Tighty whities. Love ’em. They’re just my go-to, we just dropped trunks for the first time, but I’ve never been a boxer brief or trunk guy myself. Those boxer shorts we sell, though, I do have to say are incredible. I wear those to sleep and I wear those around the house. They’re like heaven. Super soft, fantastic product. You gotta try them. They’re also like candy because they come in so many colors.
This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and grammar.
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