All posts by StaffContributor

All-Purpose Beachwear Paves Way for Growing Company

With the nice weather now prevalent all around the United States, and summer officially just a few days away, beach season is officially here. Be it an actual beach, a lake, a river, a pool, or hot tub, swimming is now a plausible way to cool down. Often, swimwear has been seen to hold the sole function of wearing to the beach or pool to catch some sun. Once the fun is done, people quickly rush to change out of the impractical and regularly ugly attire.

Onia, a swimwear company started by Carl Cunow and Nathan Romano, aims to deconstruct the label against beach wardrobe. Much like yoga pants went from being a workout-only piece of clothing to a staple of women’s fashion, Onia hopes that beachwear can soon be used for much more than tanning and swimming.

Started in 2013, Romano and Cunow set out to create swimwear that served more than one purpose. Originally focused on men’s swim trunks, the duo dreamed of creating shorts that could obviously not only be used at the beach but also as casual, everyday shorts and athletic shorts. In essence, they wanted to create shorts for men that could be used in just about every situation without compromising on style. In a previous interview with Fortune, Romano stated that “this is how we started Onia and, since our launch, we have fully developed into a men’s and women’s swim and ready-to-wear brand, and all of our products have been launched based on the same core philosophy that we started with — fit, fabric and function.”

Since the company’s inception, they have expanded their market from solely men’s swimwear. They delved into the women’s swimwear market, which has obvious limitations in comparison to the men’s. Onia also began producing shirts, shoes, dresses, and pants with the same core values in mind.

While they do not expect their customers to go out and swim in shoes, pants, and dresses, they hope that their product yields a practical, stylish and comfortable outcome. Many other swimwear and surf companies are starting to follow this trend too.

Brands like RVCA and Billabong have been staples of the swimwear and surf industry for years. While they have made shorts, flip-flops, etc… before Onia became a company, these items tended to have a distinct style that did not mesh well outside of beach towns. Now, however, brands like these are aiming to implement a more practical product into their collection in order to expand their potential influence.

As Onia continues to grow at an exponential rate—100% growth online in the first quarter of 2018—so might their practices. In providing customers with a unique, multi-purpose wardrobe, the owners of Onia have in a sense created their own market and audience. They are now looking to expand their influence both online and in-stores based on their “long game” method of business. Co-founder Carl Cunow states “we care about trends, but we care a lot more about timeless design. I think there is a place for fast fashion, but that is not our customer”.

Unlike many other companies that seem to simply be chasing the latest trends and hits, Onia wants to make quality clothes that will last throughout whatever the freshest style may be. It is refreshing to see a company that originally marketed itself for all-purpose swimwear evolve into something much more. In an ever-changing market where companies rise and fall rapidly and fashion changes overnight, Onia plans it’s success on timeless, practical pieces of clothing. Surely other companies will begin to follow the same “underground” model that Onia has created if their success continues.

Original ideas focused on quality over quantity appear to be paying large dividends for Onia. I know I myself would appreciate a classic pair of swim trunks that can double as athletic shorts or daily wear.

Fashion Nova Men’s Collection Disappoints

In an ever-growing competitive fashion market, it is easy for companies to be left behind if they do not provide consumers with an inspiring or desirable look. Particularly in men’s fashion, it becomes easy for companies to get lazy and complacent. Fashion Nova is the latest company to fall victim to this shortcoming, as consumers and fashion experts alike were left underwhelmed with their latest men’s collection.

With a generally more limited frame-of-work than women’s fashion, men’s fashion designers often have to go above and beyond to ensure that they do not blend in with other generic types of menswear. Fashion Nova is known for their women’s clothing filled with crazy patterns and two-piece sets. Their male audience also wanted the Nova collection to be a complimentary reflection of their female counterparts—with extravagant patterns du jour. Instead of catering to the wants of the guys that support them, they went in an entirely different direction and released a relatively basic, and perhaps cringy, collection of menswear.

Twitter users took problem with two particular T-shirts with “Meme Lord” and “Tag me in memes so I know it’s real,” imprinted on the front. Instead of providing the audience with unique and trendy patterns, Nova decided to release shirts that could have been made by a seventh-grader with a home printer.

While the line obviously had some decent and wearable articles of clothing, the line as a whole left a lot to be desired. Considering Fashion Nova hyped up the line in advance, it was fair for their fans to have high expectations. High expectations can lead to severe disappointment when the company fails to reach the mark. Fashion Nova built its name creating edgy, interesting pieces for women, so it was a let-down for most that expected the company to do something similar with their men’s clothing.

In a market saturated by a plethora of companies chasing the same look, it appears as though the latest Nova Fashion Men’s collection will be lost in the crowd. Though a few laughs were to be had from the ridiculously childish set of tees about memes, the collection as a whole does not seem to bring anything new or worthwhile to the table. Several pieces can be seen as complete rip-offs from other companies, such as the belt that steals Off-White’s style, color and pattern.

A lack of creativity like this annoyed, or at least disappointed, an audience that expected so much more. The styles that have been released by Fashion Nova, excluding the direct rip-offs of several streetwear brands, are comparable to those sold at stores like H&M, Forever 21, and Rue21. Unlike Fashion Nova, however, these companies already have a solid male audience already in place and shoppers know what to expect from them. Another drawback is that Fashion Nova has a bit higher price point than any of these stores, but not nearly as bad as brands like Off-White and A Bathing Ape.

Consumers have every right to be critical of an underwhelming release from a company they expected much more out of. This is not to say that the whole collection is garbage, however. Joggers, jackets and jeans are hard to butcher, so Fashion Nova does deserve credit where it’s due. It also makes sense for customers to buy similar styles to the big name brands at a lower price. The fact that some of the styles seem childish and many others bring absolutely nothing new or noteworthy to the table is what angers consumers the most.

The collection does have its positives, but the market is already filled with so many similar styles that it’s becoming hard to tell who even makes what anymore. Eventually, as style moves on and the trends change, many companies, like Fashion Nova, will be left out if they do not offer something different from the others. At the very least, a focus on quality and low pricing would help to boost their support if they choose not to innovate new or unique styles.