Entrepreneur Spotlight: Darwin Clothing Delivers Timeless Style and Distinct Fit
Fashion is an evolving industry that is both inspiring and innovative. We had the pleasure of speaking with two up-and-coming entrepreneurs challenging stereotypical men's clothing options; Peter Oswald and David Freemyer of Darwin Clothing. For years, men have been underrepresented and severely limited in the world of fashion, particularly when it comes to fit. Where women have the option of a body-con, A-Line, tunic fit and more, men are presented with an underwhelming number of options where they are forced to generally accept the traditional boxy shirt; tight in the shoulders, loose in the waist or vice versa. Keeping the natural shape and function of the male body in mind, Oswald and Freemyer seek to design a well-fitting product aiming to tackle the issue of ill-fitting clothing options. The goal is simple; to create a tailored solution that provides mobility while maintaining non-limiting style.
Learn more about Peter Oswald, David Freemyer and how the Darwin Fit is the perfect addition to your unique wardrobe in our interview below.
Tell us about your company
The idea behind Darwin Clothing is simple, yet innovative. We design elegant foundations of style, but with an entirely new fit. We found that men’s ready-to-wear shirting was neglecting the natural shape and function of the male body. Outside of bespoke clothing, the options seemed limited. A good fit in the shoulders left the torso lost in a sea of excess fabric. If the torso was a good fit we had to deal with seam-busting tightness in the shoulders and back. The Darwin fit and design addresses this issue, not with stretchy technical fabrics that lack the timeless style we love, but with crisp and elegant fabrics joined by an entirely new fit…the Darwin Fit.
What was your background prior to founding Darwin Clothing?
We had no conventional background in fashion other than a propensity to constantly evolve our own personal styles. After meeting in college, we realized that we were similar in that regard, but headed in different directions. One of us was planning on defaulting to a job in finance while the other was figuring out what type of business to start. Even though we both have very entrepreneurial minds and are very focused now, we both definitely needed our time in college to figure out the right path to take.
What was the tipping point that led you to entrepreneurship?
We both are very unique in the way we do things. We operate very differently, but somehow in an incredibly cohesive way. I think once we became good friends we realized that we had to do our own thing. The typical path through corporate America or working for someone else was simply not an option. We were lucky enough to realize this early on in life. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of incredible people a number of years of being miserable to internalize this idea and do what they are truly passionate about.
What roadblocks did you overcome to reach the point that you are at today?
Gaining knowledge and new skill sets. Learning is the most important thing we do; the most fun thing we do and a lot of the time, the hardest thing we do. Having no prior experience with designing clothing or even running a business, we are constantly learning on the fly. We have spent over a year perfecting the fit of our men’s dress shirt and we have plenty of room to grow as entrepreneurs and designers. The cool thing about enduring these growing pains is that we get to grow with our label, which really excites us.
How would you define success in terms of entrepreneurship?
We can only speak for what success looks like for Darwin and us. We have a vision; or rather an obsession that we hope will inspire people. If we can do that while building the lifestyle we want into our label and business, then we would certainly feel successful. As entrepreneurs, we believe that the business you start should be a part of the lifestyle you aspire to, not a means to a certain monetary number. Then, your business becomes just another job and not the passion it should be.
What are your plans for the future?
Right now we’re looking to get the business off the ground. Our five-year goal is to expand into full collections for each season, with our shirts remaining the iconic staple of the brand. Expanding an e-commerce presence along with our own stores is also apart of that plan. Traditional retail in department stores has no real appeal to us because the Darwin experience at every level is so important.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs?
We’ll start with something we look at every day that we saw in a Medium article. “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done.” That’s more of the inspirational advice that gives us a little extra jolt of energy. From a more operational standpoint, we would really stress learning and patience. You can never stop bettering yourself as an entrepreneur—there are always new skills to learn and more knowledge to internalize. Be patient. No one is going to build his or her entire dream in a day, a month or even a year—if you can, you probably don’t have a big enough dream.