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Universal Standard Offers Denim ‘Mystery Box’

Universal Standard’s “mystery boxes” have returned for a limited time. For years, the size-inclusive women’s brand has offered elevated version of dime-store grab bags to shoppers looking for a convenient and simple wardrobe refresh.

Universal Standard unveiled its 2022 range of boxes last week featuring 11 different themed boxes including Denim on Denim, Classics for Spring, Smart Traveler, Best Sellers, Tops, Premium Jersey, Archival Treasures, Dresses, Luxe Lounge, Petites and Surprise Me Lite. Each box contains three on-theme garments chosen based on consumer-fed data like sizing and preferences selected prior to checkout.

Shoppers don’t know exactly what they will receive—the Denim on Denim Box description says the concept will help them “discover different washes, weights and the perfect amount of stretch,” and states that “not just jeans” are included. The Denim on Denim box retails for $148, translating to $49 for each piece. The box is valued up to $312.

Pricing for each box varies from $68 for tops to $178 for dresses, and contains a retail value of up to $851. Sizes are available in Universal Standard’s inclusive range of 00-40. Boxes can be purchased through Feb. 24, and items are nonrefundable.

“Mystery Box delivers this wow factor—it is a true culmination of Universal Standard’s brand promise to democratize fashion,” said Ramon Martin, Universal Standard’s U.S. head of design.

Last spring, the brand set out to “democratize designer denim” by collaborating with high-end British label Erdem. Together, the brands created an eight-piece collection of white and indigo denim that merged Erdem’s feminine silhouettes and fairytale-like flourishes with Universal Standard’s expertise in designing apparel for a wide range of body types. It has taken a similar approach to footwear, offering women’s boots and shoes in extended sizing 6-13.

Mystery boxes are a win-win for consumers and brands alike. The concept allows Universal Standard to lower its pricing, offering consumers an average savings of 52 percent per box. As the fashion industry looks to find creative ways to reduce overproduction, repackaging leftover stock in the form of mystery boxes gives brands a way to mitigate waste and move through inventory.

The concept is gaining traction in luxury sector. LVMH Luxury Ventures, the investment entity operating within the LVMH Group, and venture capital firm Antler recently invested $5 million in London-based circular startup Heat, which packages unsold luxury items into subscription-based mystery boxes.