It is a challenge to keep up with crowd-funding these days. Since Kickstarter and similar platforms have proven themselves to be useful pre-order mechanisms for fashion startups, the sheer number of campaigns has exploded. While it is impossible to review them all, Modern Fellows caught up with two promising companies online right now on Kickstarter: Proper Socks and Hucklebury.
Proper Socks, based in DC, aims to blend comfort and class. Founder Justin Schachner is a management consultant in town who “practically lives in his dress shoes.” While he liked wearing socks with personality, the brands he discovered didn’t do much to support a guy who spends 12 solid hours on his feet. One night, he replaced his dress socks with cushioned running socks, which led to his ah-ha moment: Why not apply the same technology to dress socks?
The sock he developed features targeted padding, specifically-designed left and right feet, a breathable upper toe box and arch support.
Proper Socks provided a pair of their orange-polka-dotted “Washington” model at no cost to Modern Fellows for the purposes of a review, and they make a comfortable sock. The padding injects comfort and support without being overly thick, though it does contribute a slight amount of additional bulk under a dress shoe. The colors and patterns look sharp. Their Kickstarter campaign offers three pairs for $29 and runs until January 8.
Moving from socks to shirts, California-based Hucklebury is offering American-made dress shirts for around $70.
Founded by Parag Jhaveri and Dhawal Shah in 2012, the two made their first round of shirts abroad while developing a proof of concept, according to Parag. As they worked to reboot their line, the two developed a relationship with a manufacturer in the Washington, DC-metro area to produce a line of American-made shirts at an attractive price point.
Hucklebury, who made available a shirt for the purpose of a review, has developed nice-looking and slim-fitting shirts using fabrics from the likes of Monti, Thomas Mason and Albini. The point-collar shirt the company sent features high armholes and a structured back and shoulder construction that was comfortable and mostly fit well. A couple of nits: The collar points are longer than many standard shirts and feature sewn in collar stays rather than removable ones.
It will be interesting to follow the success of Hucklebury’s sales approach, which is described on their Kickstarter campaign page as “an innovative business model where [the] customer curates what gets manufactured. When we reach the minimum desired sales level, your shirt gets manufactured.” That suggests that your shirt won’t get shipped out the day you order it, but rather after the company satisfies a minimum production order — sort of similar to the Kickstarter model.
Hucklebury’s Kickstarter run ends December 28 and has already surpassed its funding goal, so if you ante up now, they’re on the hook to get you a shirt.
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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