November 8, 2011

Brand Profile: Anchored Style

Anchored Style is a little bit different and a lot a bit unique compared to other companies' styles you've seen me talk about. The founder and designer, Lauren, calls her style 'surfer prep'. It's a cross between your classic new England collegiate style and that of the laid back west coast. They combine to create this a classic item twisted to focus on comfort and fit.
Anchored Style offers Men's and Women's apparel and accessories featuring their signature logo. I have always been drawn to Anchors because of my mom. She was a Delta Gamma in college, and I grew up in a Raggedy Ann Nursery and humming Hannah songs. This being said, both my parents grew up in Florida and instilled in me a lasting love of the ocean, so I really connect with the symbolism throughout the Anchored Style line.
The Short Sleeve Yellow Shield really seems to combine the sea-loving logo with the collegiate inspiration. Link $30
The Coral Reef Men's Polo is sharp, but is also flexible and comfortable with it's 95% Pima Cotton Pique 5 % Spandex mix.
Link $68

Lauren is also very proud of her jersey cotton hoodies and how comfortable they are while maintaining a sense of style, a surfer-prep style to be exact. I had the great opportunity to talk with Lauren, and below is my recap and take-aways from our conversation.

When did you first decide to start your company?
Lauren first decided to start the company after starting her first company known as Anchor In Style, which offered personal styling, shopping and closet consultations. In summer of 2010, going with the same logo, she decided to create her own lifestyle brand, and drop the "in".  The launch was fast and furious taking only 7 months between the initial idea and receiving the first samples.

What is your inspiration?
Lauren loves all things nautical, clean lines, craftsman details, Ivy Style, and surf culture. “I love the 60's era of design, both in apparel, architecture, and furniture design.  I'm a huge fan of mid-century modern design.  My style muses are Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and of course JFK.  Their looks are effortless and totally chic.

I envision a complete character in my mind when I'm styling.  His job, character, hobbies, his favorite drink, even what car he drives.

The Anchored Style Guy is well educated, a man of great integrity and character, has a great sense of humor, creative, hard worker, yet laid-back,  an avid outdoors man, a gentleman, seeks adventures and travel, passionate about what he loves, has great personal style, and drives an old Jeep (at least as a weekend car).

I have a great photographic memory.  I'm constantly ripping tear sheets out of magazines & creating inspiration boards.  I've been a subscriber to GQ since I was 15 yrs old, and poured over every page of my brothers Surfer and Surfing magazines.  I locked all of those images in my memory.  I have always had a thing for classic American sportswear.”

Where did you first develop your style?
Lauren grew up in Florida, but is originally from Indiana. Her parents met in Chicago, and her dad’s a Boilermaker! She feels she developed her style growing up by the beach and being so intrigued by menswear in my early teens. “ I'm very grateful my parents let me subscribe to my favorite men's and women's fashion magazines and watch the Style network all the time.  I had a dream of New England and California and could not choose, so I took bits of each style and juxtaposed them together, a style I've called ‘surfer-prep’.  My parents have always been very supportive of my passions allowing me to intern in NYC for a celebrity fashion stylist while finishing up my Fashion Merchandising degree from FSU, and then spending time in Southern California, to really get a good feel for the culture.”  

What do you hope your products will convey about yourself and your style?

Integrity, style, and quality. Lauren believes that staying true to the brand and the original concept is of the utmost importance when it comes to Anchored Style. She wants her products to be special that people can enjoy for years to come.
 When it comes to style, the color choices are pretty classic but updated with a modern edge. In terms of quality, Lauren was a textile major and likes to make sure that her products are what she would like to wear. The fabrics have a great hand.
Most of Laurens products are made in the US right now. By fall 2012, the collection will be 100% American made goods.  She really thinks this is an important aspect of her brand and business and remaining true to her business objectives. “It’s a lot harder because there aren’t as many manufacturers in the US, and you have to work that much harder to develop the line.  We want to make sure the quality craftsman making our products are making a livable wage and contributing to our economy.”
Overall Lauren’s “Surfer –prep” style “isn’t about the clothes themselves but how you wear it. It’s how you put your outfit together.  It’s the laid-back version of the New England prepster.”

What has been the hardest thing about starting your own business?
“It’s hard breaking into stores, because often buyers want brands that have a proven track record of being in high demand. My online sales are growing, thanks to social media and our growing army of brand ambassadors at college campuses across the country getting the brand recognition The specialty menswear buyers are hard to break at first; it’s a real boys club. Most of the guys in the industry has been around for 30-40 years, and the sales reps have been selling to the same people forever. It is all about paying your dues and I'm more than willing to do it.  
 Lauren also explains that managing her capital investment is key, and that the way she’s managing her company is different from the other new emerging ‘preppy’ companies. “Everyone wants to have everything at once, but you have to build up.” She explains that she’s working hard to develop her base of products before expanding. “You don’t have to be exactly the same as all the others, because you want to stand out. You want to go into making products that not everyone else is making. Just because everyone else is making it, and doing well with it, you don't have to try and compete when they are already capitalizing on the market for those items.”  Every day is a learning experience.

 What other products do you hope to add to your portfolio?
New button downs.  Lauren believes these will be different than others on the market because they’re handcrafted in the US, something not many brands can say right now. The shirts are expected to have some classic subtle detailing that would make a nice addition to any wardrobe. She’s also coming out with men’s ties, “I’m matching them with the new ties I’m designing. They won’t just be the standard stripes and collegiate colors that are currently on the market, ours will have a little twist. They’ll also be made in the US.”.
Coming out this spring, she has embroidered pocket tees in classic colors that can appeal to men of all ages.

How would you define today's 'Preppy' and how do you think it compare to the preppy of past decades?
“A lot of people think the "preppy" of today is represented by American Eagle & Hollister, but to me it’s heritage brands; classic stuff that lasts forever. Stuff that you can still wear it and it’ll last 10-20 years, like a pair of khaki’s or Sperry's that look better with age. I like when companies take a modern look on a classic style. Polo, Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers stay true to what they are all the time.”  It looks like the preppy of past decades is making a comeback, and I couldn't be happier.”
Is there anything else you'd like mentioned?
“I have the vision of Anchored Style being a heritage brand.  We'll be growing and developing for decades to come, always staying true to our original style.  We’re really proud of what we’re doing and we hope that you like our brand. We love feedback so feel free to provide it!”
What to learn more about Anchored Style? Check them out here:
And as always, if you have any companies you think I should check out and feature on my blog. Please let me know!

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