Isto, the Portuguese fashion startup that launched in 2017 under the premise of sustainability and transparency in pricing, announced last week that it was discontinuing its women’s line of clothing effective April 16.
No reason was given on the company’s website for the reason why Isto will stop making women’s garments except for a poetic swan song that went “full cliché” by saying “It’s not you, it’s me” before adding “It’s over. For now. At least.” and admitting the women’s line “simply wasn’t working.”
Isto product pages display a breakdown of the costs that go into each item to help customers understand why they’re being charged a total product price. Labor, trims, fabrics, transportation, labels and logistics are all explained in detail so that shoppers “get to see exactly how much we paid for each and every component from materials to production,” according to Isto.
Isto, which derives its name from the Portuguese word for “this” and also stands for “independent, superb, transparent and organic,” told Sourcing Journal the decision ultimately came down to the complexity involved with designing for a woman’s form, even though most of the line focuses on basics such as cotton T-shirts, beanies and caps, cotton or merino wool sweaters and denim.
“Our Women’s Collection was born due to a high demand from our customers for a long time to make an offer available for women as well. Although the collection was well accepted by the public, we feel that the fitting of the products is not at the same level as the Men’s collection. A Woman’s body is much more complex than a Man’s and, as such, a Woman’s collection is consequently much more complex to meet the high standards we set for the brand,” Sofia Cambim, Isto’s marketing experience manager, told Sourcing Journal in an email.
“On the other hand, although the brand is sustainably growing year by year, we are still small and we do not have external investors (this independence is part of our DNA),” she continued. “But the consequence is that we have to be very incisive in our decisions regarding investment of resources, team, time, etc. In this sense, we prefer to focus our efforts and investment on the men’s collection.”
Cambim also spoke to the circumstances that would be necessary for Isto’s women’s line to make a return, a possibility hinted at in the farewell message that suggested that “one day” the brand could “get back together” with the women’s side of the business.
“A much well-thought collection as a whole…would require a higher investment of resources,” Cambim wrote. “We prefer quality over quantity. Our product offering needs to be carefully planned to address the real needs of women looking for the best everyday essentials, just the same as we do with our Men’s product development. But even though we’re saying goodbye for now, we’ll keep the door open for a potential reunion down the road.”
Isto was formed by a trio of entrepreneurs, including Pedro Palha, who told WWD in 2022: “We all liked well-made clothing but couldn’t find any at an affordable price. Everything we liked at that moment was either very cheap or very expensive… But most importantly, we wanted to build something that had a purpose. Everything had to be consistent and to make sense.”
Cambim said she did not see a direct connection between Isto’s pledge to sustainability and price transparency and the end of the women’s collection.