This Brand Launched Last Week, and Gen Z Is Going to Be All Over It
We’re all aware on some level of the big issues that face the fashion industry—issues like sustainability, transparency, and inclusivity—but for many designers, it’s a much more achievable goal to pick just one of these issues to stand behind. We're quick to celebrate Reformation for its commitment to sustainability and Everlane for always keeping it real. It's brands like these that are raising the bar higher for everyone else, but we have yet to find a fashion brand that proposes a real solution to all of these pressing issues, and it's because up until now, that was an overly idealistic concept and one that would have been incredibly difficult to realise. Enter Chnge. The newly launched line has a strong vision for the future of fashion and has set out to make it a reality right now. Oh, and did we mention that it's a legitimately cool brand you're going to want to wear?
Chnge is a Gen Z brand through and through. Launching in 2018 means reaching an audience that's as digitally native as it is. But instead of simply engaging with its audience, Chnge has made them an integral part of its movement. It's tapped a crowd of influencers and models who, on their own, stand for the brand's core values of inclusivity and representation. The "cool kids" who are personally backing the brand include names like Salem Mitchell, an NYC-based model who's an activist in her own right; Muslim American style influencer Maria Alia, and Yves Mathieu, the LGBTQ+ model already garnering attention from Vogue.
All of the refreshingly diverse faces Chnge features are voices of their generation. They're ditching labels and stereotypes and opening up conversations about issues like gender and identity—issues that really matter to this generation. According to a study we conducted this year, Gen Z is more open about their sexuality and gender identity than any other generation, with 25% of Gen Z women interested in talking about their sexual identity, compared to 19% of their millennial counterparts. This means that the representation in its branding and a genderless approach to designing are both key reasons the brand garnered over 200,000 followers before evening launching.
So it's a brand that has morals. Sounds like nothing new, right? Here's why Chnge is actually a force: It packs a one-two punch. You'd first approach the brand for its streetwear vibe and cool-kid stamp of approval, but then you'd be compelled to keep coming back for more once you learn it's a brand with serious soul. (Name another brand that's pledged to donate 50% of its profits to charity… We'll wait.)
Impressed, we were itching to know more. We spoke with founder Jacob Castaldi to learn about why he created the brand and where he sees it developing from here.
What led to the creation of the brand?
Simply put, we cannot continue putting the maximisation of profits ahead of the protection of our planet and the people who live in it. The best way to change business is to create a business that gives a shit. Chnge exists to put the people and the planet ahead of its profits and hopes to inspire businesses and consumers alike to be more responsible.
You've clearly had a lot of success with Gen Z. What were the keys to success?
By being authentic. By being transparent. By caring. We don't advertise. We find people/platforms with shared values and get them talking about our brand in the most authentic ways. We're not trying to force a product down your throat but rather trying to find creators who care to join our army.
How do you choose who to feature in your campaigns?
We look to target individuals who care about using their voice to promote messages of equality and/or environmentalism. Chnge wants to give representation to people who have something to say and give them a platform to get their messages out there.
What is the product offering? How will it evolve?
We are starting with T-shirts, long sleeves, and hoodies—the basics, constructed in a not-so-basic way, made from the world's finest, heavyweight, organic cotton, and built to last a lifetime.
This is just the start, though. We plan to evolve into a high-fashion brand by bringing slow-fashion to the high-fashion world. We will only create products out of the most sustainable materials and won't create a product if there isn't a sustainable way to create it. For example, this winter, we plan to release coaches jackets made out of recycled water bottles and lined with organic hemp.
Become a part of the movement:
While we're at it, let us tell you about six new(ish) size-inclusive brands that are making us say "yes."