Indochino is branching out from its roots as a men’s-only brand.
The Canadian direct-to-consumer label debuted its first women’s suit style on Friday, in a move that CEO Drew Green said will revolutionize the 15-year-old business. “As we’ve grown from a niche brand to a national brand, we’ve always had it in the back of our minds that we wanted to provide made-to-measure apparel to everyone,” he said. “This is a whole new line of business that I think will become as big as our men’s side within 10 years.”
A women’s silhouette has been the company’s “most requested addition” since it was founded, he added. Female shoppers regularly purchase men’s suiting from the brand’s showrooms, having pieces customized on-site. According to the CEO, Indochino has long been mulling a move toward greater inclusivity. “We’ve wanted to do it right, so it’s taken some time to really refine the silhouettes that we’re bringing to market,” he said.
Rather than create a separate channel for womenswear, Green envisions the new styles being integrated into the existing line. “What I see foresee is a world where the basic frame of the garments we create are all gender neutral,” he added. “It’s really more about offering the different base structures for men or women to create what they want, whether that’s a three-piece suit, two-piece suit, separates or outerwear.” A shopper pilot-testing the women’s offering at Indochino’s Seattle location purchased the new women’s blazer and paired it with a men’s pant, for example.
The first women’s styles—a single blazer and trouser, with separates starting at $99—will initially be available at eight Indochino stores in Canada and U.S. Clients can customize those pieces by selecting their own fabrics, choosing to build their blazer as single- or double-breasted, or opting for looser or more fitted tailoring.
“We’re based in Vancouver, so having our showrooms here soft launch made sense,” Green said. Seattle’s proximity to headquarters made it another attractive option, while New York and Toronto represent two of Indochino’s biggest markets. Women’s styles eventually will be available “across the entire showroom network.”
“We’re going to learn a ton, speak with our customer, further refine what we’ve brought to market, and then once the team feels comfortable we’ll go online and throughout North America with it” in roughly the next year, Green said. “We don’t feel any pressure or financial obligation to launch network-wide too early.”
Indochino, which sold its millionth suit this summer, said it has bounced back from a pandemic slump over the past 18 months. Green said this period of “very, very strong growth” puts the company in a good position to attract new customers. “Our first half [of 2022] is up 85 percent year-over-year profitably,” he said, with EBITDA growth of 364 percent.
Indochino’s online business boomed over the past two years, while its stores initially shut down during the pandemic’s earliest months. “We had this huge surge in e-commerce, but we always felt that there would be this swing back to retail and a more balanced behavior from consumers, in terms of online versus in-store,” Green said. Indochino opened more than 30 new locations throughout the pandemic for a total of 87. “We’ll exceed 100 showrooms in the next six to eight months,” he said.
Green believes shoppers are still interested in dressing up in clothing beyond their pandemic-era loungewear. “Whether they’re going out on more dates, going to parties or events, people are wanting to refresh their wardrobes,” he said, adding that “weddings are coming back.” “There is a return to office, and people want to be well-dressed for that.”
Green said he’s “lucky to be able to travel all over North America and see how different cities are adjusting to the new world.” While some cities have resumed business as usual post-Covid, others are seeing a slower return to normal. The CEO believes consumers will always appreciate the sensory experience of physical retail. “E-commerce is very transactional—you find the best price and hit the buy button,” he said. “I think people are wanting to have fun when they shop.”
Indochino’s central value proposition—personalization—lends itself to an in-store experience. Shoppers visiting a showroom can choose their own fabrics, customizations, linings and fits. “They are the designer of their own one-of-a-kind garment,” Green said.