Descendant of Thieves
For sartorial A-listers and smooth criminals
Department of Thieves’ Broken AC Floral print
Department of Thieves
Matteo Maniatty, Founder and Creative Director: “Love thy neighbor, but dammit, don’t dress like them. We encourage people to be individuals. To color outside the lines. To align our business with this, we make all clothing in small batches rather than mass-producing. It’s much more difficult and expensive to make 150 pieces of a style, but it offers something unique to the customer. It gives them the power of differentiation and a sense of belonging to a niche club of outsiders.
To take it a step further, all our products are single edition releases. We do not repeat designs. To meet demand, we make a considerable number of styles and release new items every Friday at noon, what we call ‘Fresh Friday.’ We understand Descendant of Thieves is not for everyone but trying to appeal to the world only waters things down and ends up appealing to no one.
We started the brand almost by mistake. Our co-founder Dres would only wear clothing he made himself so that he would ‘never be seen wearing the same thing as anyone else.’ The designs were different than anything in the market, so we made a collection of 15 styles. Through connections, we landed a meeting with a buyer of a renowned retailer. The objective was to get advice and directional feedback. We didn’t have the infrastructure to make the product. Due to manufacturing delays, the samples looked unfinished because they didn’t have our brand labels. We got lucky, overnighted them to the hotel, and hand-sewed them minutes before the meeting. At the top of the meeting, we asked about their business and pricing sweet spots. When we showed our product, we quoted a price just below their sweet spot, even though we had no idea how much it would cost to make. They selected 12 styles to purchase and asked for style numbers, which we had to make up on the spot.
We were so excited but had to quickly land a manufacturer that could deliver in less than five months, or we would risk losing the account. When we found a manufacturer, we didn’t meet their minimum requirements, so we sent ransom notes out to buyers, made from letters we cut out and glued onto stationery. It was a little dark, but it worked.
Instead of investing our money, we leveraged the orders from key retailers, which validated our brand and allowed us to negotiate a deal with the manufacturer to front the money in exchange for profit share. We did this without offering equity. We started the brand with almost zero out-of-pocket.
We make reversible shorts that, besides being ideal for traveling light, match back to printed shirting and tees. One side of the short is printed, and the other side is solid. The printed side matches back to a printed short sleeve shirt and/or tee. If you’re not ready for a full-on set —which admittedly can be a lot — the solid side of the shorts wear beautifully with those same tops. We love to give functional styling options and have never been afraid to push color and print.
Street Gang is a key piece. The artwork is a bold patchwork mix of geo-prints that plays against unexpected color ranges. ANother is the monochromatic Broken AC Floral print, which has a more sophisticated feel. The artwork is a hand-painted floral that we later scanned and printed on a silk-cotton fabric for shirting. We also made this print in shorts that match back to it.
[Descendant of Thieves’ Mulberry Street location has its own colorful history.]
For aspiring permanent vacationers
Monkey Business cabana
Mike Sard, Co-Founder: “Our clothing is all about transporting the wearer to a sunnier time, place, or state of mind. We use the term ‘escapewear’ to encapsulate this feeling of fantasy, nostalgia and holiday getaway — even if you aren’t leaving the couch!
If a garment has some special technical function, then perhaps it’s something that would have been cutting edge in 1973 rather than anything slick or futuristic. See, for example, our new Stowaway Shorts, equipped with a range of whimsical pockets and temptingly short inseam; the zenith of 1970s pocket storage innovation! We design our clothing for everyone, generally unisex with broad size ranges.”