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Starting a Denim Brand in NYC with Standard Deviation

Denim is arguably the greatest material in fashion. Versatile, durable and affordable, denim is worn by men, women and children from different backgrounds across the globe. Of course, you already know this as its been a staple for many years and you already own multiple denim items. Yet with our own individual styles the perfect piece may not already be out there and the market for custom denim pieces such as jeans, jackets and accessories are only limited by imagination.

The durability of denim is in its origins. Dating back to the 1800s and those involved in Americas gold rush, the everyday trouser couldn’t endure the same physical strains that those hoping to strike it rich required. One Levi Strauss took notice and had the inclination to create a tougher pair of trousers, creating the modern-day denim jeans we know today. Due to their durability, their popularity soared and it wasn’t long before they found their place in the everyday man's wardrobe.

Combine the fact that denim is affordable, easy to match with any outfit (plus an awesome way to add an extra texture), easy to maintain and readily available, it is the material to have in your wardrobe armour. Standard Deviation of NYC share this same passion of denim and decided to create a business of premium denim and menswear to its followers in a direct-to-consumer model with no retail mark-up. Furthermore, their 2-year developing process developed 3 model fits (as not everyone has the same body type or preference for how their jeans fit). The company develops all products in the USA, using experienced craftsmen from Los Angles and Cone Denim dating back to 1891 based in North Carolina. They were kind enough to speak to MenswearStyle on what its like starting up a designer brand in NYC and why denim is such a passion for them.

What’s it like starting a company in New York and how have you been able to find your feet? 

“Both of us have lived in New York for over 10 years now, and the proximity to many resources for starting your own business, as well as to sources of design inspiration, makes the city an ideal place to start a fashion brand. We are still in the process of finding our footing, but connecting with other start-up designers has helped in terms of sharing best practices and advice.” 

Why is denim so important to you and how did you get the idea to start the brand?  

“Denim is not only an iconic American fabric, but jeans are also one of the easiest items to wear in one's wardrobe. Their versatility takes them from everyday casualwear to more dressed-up occasions. We were inspired to start a brand that would deliver high-quality, American-made apparel with fresh style and great value for our customer.”

What’s your favourite product you’ve produced? 

“Our denim pants are something we 100% stand behind. We put a lot of work into the details, from the silhouettes of the three different styles (Gamma, Beta, and Alpha) to fit every body type to the rose gold hardware. We also receive a lot of positive feedback on our tops, especially the Summit crew-neck sweatshirt.” 

Why did you decide on a no mark-up retail model? 

“Providing unbeatable value to our customers is something we've always wanted to do. Once men try on our jeans and see our prices, they are usually hooked.”

Can you talk us through the 2 years of developing? 

“Development started with surveying the market and seeing what we could offer differently from the existing brands. From there, we came up with our three different silhouettes and went through the painstaking process of sourcing the best fabrics, including the American-made Cone denim, and the best factories in Los Angeles.” 

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start a fashion brand? 

“Start scrappy and start learning all you can about all aspects of your business.”

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