DUER retools in a big way
Let's start with a few disclosures: in the heady days at the start of the pandemic I did what many others did and gave my entire closet a hard edit. In the end there was a shirt here, a blazer there and an enormous stack of pricey selvedge jeans that I had bought over several years...and that I hadn't warn in ages.
The four-letter culprit that steered me away from those pricier jeans? DUER. I got my first pair of DUER jeans about five years ago and since then, through birthday gifts and a yearly pilgrimage to their warehouse sale, I've amassed a dozen pairs (actually 13, which is a baker's dozen) of their pants. Wearing normal jeans or chinos anymore seem like wearing a straitjacket. So...I'm a fan. Secondly because all of us here at WL love the pants, and because they're local, we've strong-armed DUER founder Gary Lenett into being a judge in our upcoming annual Designers of the Year awards (entries close May 15th!). So when we got word from Gary that DUER was launching a new manufacturing initiative in response to Covid-19, it's fair to say we were a bit of a captive audience.
NEXT by DUER is the company's pivot to the hard facts of losing 75% of revenue in less than a week once Covid hit. The old way of retail in which you develop designs, create them and then wait for customers to show and purchase the finished project had been essentially unchanged since Sears Roebuck & Co. put out the first mail order catalogue in 1888. But the process had long not sat well with Lenett. “The old-world way of creating speculative inventory and then running costly marketing campaigns to sell it, is inefficient and wasteful,” he explains.
Instead, he's come up with a way to disrupt that century old paradigm. NEXT by DUER will reorient the retail experience: the company will introduce a prototype of a product, and customers will have the ability to order pieces at a discount throughout a three-week campaign period. If minimum thresholds are met, the garment is manufactured and delivered to the customer within 4 to 8 weeks. This quick response approach will enable DUER to deliver products much faster than a traditional clothing supply chain, which would typically take 6-18 months.
First up are the Live Lite Pants and Shorts (pictured above). The interface on the site looks like any other save for one: for a retailer that eschews the mass and frequent markdowns so common these days, there's a 20% markdown if you opt in. If you and enough others opt in, you'll get them on you doorstep in 4-8 weeks. Simple: no waste, and the savings are passed on to the consumer...which is no small thing when your working on pair #14.