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The brand that wants you to buy less and buy better has opened up shop in Union Square. Cuyana is the antithesis of "fast fashion:" the company pitches the lofty goal of choosing quality over quantity, a tough ask in today's fashion landscape. But inside the brand's new office and retail showroom, founders Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah and their team are poised to educate consumers on the benefits of a minimalistic closet and thoughtfully sourced products—all while shopping the beautiful accessories that line the walls.
Similar to other e-commerce-driven, tech-savvy, fashion brands (like Bonobos and Indochino), Cuyana's foundation is in business school, not fashion or design. And it was from a frustration with supply chain that the brand was born: Gallardo
disliked that wanted buyers to know that the closet staple "Panama hat" is actually manufactured in Ecuador, her home country. After partnering with Shah, the two set out to directly source a "one of a kind" accessory from a different country for each season.
Cuyana has evolved since then, moving away from the one-off model and toward reusing trusted manufacturers for additional products and reissues of customer favorites. But the brand hasn't strayed from the fundamental goal of offering premium quality at an affordable price. The numbers speak for themselves. Gallardo and Shah identified a gap in the market for a hand-crafted, leather tote (Argentinian made) at an accessible price point, and it sold out quickly in the most popular colors. And thanks to high demand, the navy leather tote will see a second round of production.
The next steps for the young brand are to incorporate customer feedback and eventually make the relationship between volume and price completely transparent. Look for the fall collection to launch in a few weeks, in conjunction with fresh stories behind the products. We're told to expect more of those classic, casual basics—but we'll have to wait a bit for a full clothing collection.
Head over to the retail showroom on weekdays, between 10am to 5pm (appointments preferred but not required), to try on the one-size-fits-most modern classics (like this easy, breezy fringe dress) and learn more about the lean closet movement (donating old clothes earns you $10 credit). The quality, everyday pieces help build a robust closet. But the beautiful materials and craftsmanship make us want one in each color—which makes us wonder, is less really more?
·Cuyana Builds Brand Around the Less is More Approach [Racked SF]
·Cuyana [Official Site]