This may be the blog post that makes or breaks the brand, but we are committed to 100% transparency with you guys. You deserve it for all the support you give us. So we will give it to you straight up.
The process of starting the brand began in October of 2015 with a lot of research and development. Although an oxford had always been a staple, it hadn’t been our uniform. We started by wearing an oxford all day, every day for 30 days straight. From there, we hit the thrift stores on a mission to find strong brands with heritage. We’d find their old “Made in the USA” stuff from estate sales and un-sew them. We took measuring tape to all of our shirts. A trip to the mall became a quest to find the strongest and weakest features of every shirt it had. And when we thought we knew what it took to create the perfect oxford, we found a pattern maker.
Each trip to the pattern maker was an ordeal. We’d list every feature we wanted and give precise measurements. The pattern maker would create it, and then we’d live in it for a week. Usually within the first day, the new-ness would wear off, and we’d be able to make educated decisions. This process would take 2 weeks each round. 1 week of production; 1 week of wearing the shirt, and then start over again. After 4 rounds, we were ready to go to production.
As we’ve already mentioned, our brand is dedicated to doing everything with integrity which meant we had to see the production facility with our own eyes. So one flight out of O’Hare with Scottie Pippen and a second out
of Miami later, we were in Central America ready to see the facility. In a sprint, we were on the factory floor from 9 AM until 7 PM hammering out every last detail. The whole time we were looking for anything that could be amiss, but the factory passed with flying colors. It was one of the safest working environments I’d ever seen with a lot of people who were happy to work there but maybe a little annoyed that someone was asking them questions in broken Spanish while they were trying to get stuff done.
Lastly, came sourcing. It doesn’t matter how good a design or sewers are if there isn’t material to make it. Thankfully, this market has a lot of middlemen willing to meet your needs and explain the entire process. Sourcing fabric is the easiest part of the process. It’s literally just shopping. Not to say it won’t be the biggest purchase the brand makes, but it’s still just shopping.
For every shirt purchased, The Hounds will provide a school uniform to a child in need. The uniforms are distributed via local nonprofits already working in communities across the country. Our pilot partner is the organization, Inner City Impact (ICI).
There you have it. This is how you build a fashion brand the hard way.