Founded in 2006 with the foresight and vision to change the way women feel about fashion and beauty, WhoWhatWear.com, the go-to site for runway trends and celebrity style, continues to champion the idea that style is inclusive and attainable with the launch of the brand’s first-ever DTC apparel line today.
Focused on “trend-ish classics”, this latest launch is a natural segue for the brand. Under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Kat Collings, who joined WhoWhatWear (WWW) in early 2017, the company has established an impressive track record. Readership has grown over 117% from 5MM monthly unique visitors to over 12MM monthly unique visitors in 2021. Coupled with meteoric sales growth of over 230% since 2017 to over $5MM per month in referred sales today, Collins seems to have her finger on the ever-changing pulse of what female consumers want.
Now with the launch of the new WhoWhatWear DTC brand under the Clique Brands umbrella, Collings as creative director and Brianna Mobrem as president are greatly expanding and adapting their roles to helm the new DTC label based on key findings gleaned from their over 20 million global readers. Because the duo and their team are in constant communication with their audience and are able to use extensive surveys and affiliate data, the line was developed with the reader top of mind.
Who is she? The WWW consumer is coastal, in their mid 20’s – 30’s, and has fashion influence within their circle. They want to look current, make considered purchases, and follow trends, but only want to invest in the ones that will last. Enter the Who What Wear Collection.
From its inception, Collings and Mobrem envisioned “building and curating a collection with intentional pricing and elevated wardrobe essentials in mind” along with the objective of crafting low-key luxury classics from plant-derived organic materials in smaller batch drops.
Inspired by the desire to have and create “an ever-evolving personal style” the deliberate twist is the “feel-like-luxury” design approach that marries what a consumer is searching for now but also incorporates what they might have in mind for tomorrow.
Designed in LA, the collection offers small-batch monthly drops, with a particular focus on feel-good fabrics that are the “perfect” take on must-have pieces. The inaugural collection is comprised of 27 pieces, intentionally priced to offer quality that feels investment-worthy, but is also priced for greater consumer accessibility with a $55 starting price point.
Each of the brand’s drops is also built around a select number of hero pieces that are intended to elevate a women’s current wardrobe and grow with an individuals evolving style. Created using natural, all stock fibers and textiles, the business is also focused on making earth-friendly choices in their design and production processes.
It is always a long and complicated process to launch a new apparel brand. Collings and Mobrem sat down and shared the key fashion trends the duo and their team incorporated into the brand’s inaugural collection along with their predictions on the emerging trends women are seeking as part of our new, hybrid work environment and lifestyles.
NJ Falk:What trends do you predict will evolve as more women adapt and embrace the new, remote (hybrid) work environment?
Brianna Mobrem: I predict that the hybrid part-office, part-remote work model will invite some new dressing norms. The office will be seen as a chance to make an impression with your outfit, with more effort and attention given to the days you see your colleagues in real life. That said, the joys of comfort dressing are not easily forgotten. After a year in slippers, super high heels feel like shoe whiplash. I expect to see an abundance of low heels and smart flats in the office. Our line meets the needs of a hybrid work environment: relaxed suiting for client meeting days, an elevated lounge set for your work from home days, and a chic, yet comfortable dress to impress the co-workers in the office.
NJ Falk: What are some of the key trends that you identified from the editorial side of WWW that you brought into this collection? Can you call out specific styles that speak to each of those trends?
Kat Collings:We predict the plissé and second-skin knitwear is going to be huge as it is easy to wear, travel with, and can easily be transformed for daytime or evening. They’re an important part of the collection along with the tops, pants as well as midi dresses with matching cardigans.
Falk: When describing the collection you talk about “trend-ish classics” and “quality that feels investment-worthy but doesn’t hit your wallet like one” what do these phrases mean to you? And how will the Who What Wear collection fill the gap in the market for pieces like these?
Mobrem: The gap we are trying to fill in the market is splurge worthy quality products with a guilt free price tag. We want our collection to generate the excitement and satisfaction you feel from getting a great deal without having to wait for it to go on sale. Trend-ish classics are keep forever pieces designed for the current moment. For example, we designed a great fitting spaghetti strap linen dress in our launch collection. This is a wardrobe staple item you can wear for years to come but we added an element of trend by scrunching the straps to give it a little something extra.
Falk: What is your advice for someone looking to build a wardrobe of quality pieces?
Collings: Make sure to look at materials, as they are a sure signifier of quality. We’ve worked really hard on sourcing ours, whether it’s organic cotton grown 5 hours north of Los Angeles (some of the finest Pima cotton around) or Merino wool yarns from Australia. Some of our favorite pieces in the collection are also made from natural fibers, including linen, which is considered the most durable natural fiber in the world, and cupro cotton, which is made from incredibly strong plant-derived fibers. Also remember a really solid wardrobe isn’t built overnight. We always advise to invest piece by piece so you can ensure you’re adding to your wardrobe thoughtfully. Lastly, if you’re not over the moon about an item, don’t get it. From my experience, the love will only fade over time.
Falk: What are some of your favorite styling tips for this collection ?
Collings: We design for versatility, which means the styling options abound. For example, our Kat dress can be worn three different ways. It comes with a detached ruched bra top to wear under the dress. You can also wear both pieces separately or the bra top with high-waisted jeans or together.
One of my other favorite looks is pairing the swirl-printed Courtney vacation button down with the matching slip skirt. To make the styling feel of the moment, we recommend trying it with a delicate belly chain (our editors have deemed it the accessory of the season) above the skirt and only buttoning a few of the top buttons of the top so you get a peek of midriff.
Falk: Aside from identifying key trends, what are some of the most important aspects about designing this collection for you?
Collings:We like to think that high-quality, trend-forward pieces and fair prices shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. We want our brand to feel like, look like, and wear like an investment, which is why we’ve partnered with some of the same factories as luxury houses.
Part of our fabric philosophy also means we source with intention. Across the e-commerce site, you’ll see styles that are marked as locally made, plant-derived, and organic. From our perspective, putting care into our material sourcing translates into pieces that will stay in someone’s wardrobe for many years to come.
Our strategy also includes small batch drops – less is more so we make just enough. Online shopping can often be overwhelming which is why we are launching with just 27 styles, and our edited-out-of-the-gate assortment means we believe in every style so consumers won’t be scrolling through pages. We also produce minimum quantities to reduce waste.
Falk: What have been the biggest hurdles to launching this collection?
Mobrem: Keeping the price point accessible while delivering on a quality promise and producing thoughtfully.
Falk: Many women are interested in fashion and pursuing a career in the industry. How did you both come to be in charge of leading this collection? What was your path to this role?
Mobrem: I whole-heartedly believe in the potential and power of Who What Wear and its mission to make style accessible. This drives me to constantly ask what’s next, build business cases for new opportunities, and push through any obstacles on the path to growth. We’ve learned a lot from 5 years of our Who What Wear at Target line and are ready to take the leap from licensing to an apparel line we fully operate. My determination to expand upon our mission led to me overseeing the collection.
Collings: I’ve worked on Who What Wear’s editorial for almost a decade tracking trends and making shopping recommendations. I know the Who What Wear reader through and through, so it feels like a natural evolution of my job to lead the creative vision of our line that’s designed for our audience. I’m also uniquely positioned to work on the strategy of how we promote the collection in our editorial stories, bridging the gap between consumer brands and media, and looking for synergies. For example, when working on selecting materials, trims, or prints, I’ll be thinking of the editorial storytelling we’ll do around it and how it might resonate with our readers.
Falk: You both joined Who What Wear early on and your roles evolved greatly as the company grew. What advice do you have for others on charting a career path they are passionate about?
Mobrem:Perseverance is the key to success. Believe in yourself, have courage to take risks, and vulnerability to admit mistakes and learn from them.
Collings: If you care deeply about what you’re working on, your passion and dedication will naturally come through in your work. Eventually others will notice, whether it’s your boss, your audience, or your clients, and you’ll get that career growth you’re after. Also if that excitement isn’t there for what you’re working on, maybe take this as a sign to move on to something that fuels you. Time is so valuable, so it can be helpful to ask, “What am I waiting for?”
Falk: Finally, How do you see apparel trending post-pandemic and how have styles changed?
Mobrem:Our data/intelligence team is still seeing steady loungewear and closet staple purchases, so comfort is still important. It’s a pandemic lesson that will likely last. That said, we’ve seen an uptick in clothes for social activities that feel optimistic including cheerful prints and color.
Note: The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.