Last year Scott Sternberg won the CFDA award for best menswear designer of the year for his label Band of Outsiders. Seven years ago he quit his job as a talent agent at Creative Artists Agency to launch the line, which is now sold at Barneys on the same floor as Thom Browne. The Wall Street Journal notes that Sternberg’s clothes are not all that unusual, but expensive. Prices for his women’s line, Boy., which launched in 2007, range from $135 for a T-shirt to $1,750 for a boyfriend blazer. Prices for his menswear range from $220 for a button-down shirt to $2,000 for a handmade suit. So to what does he owe his continued success? Sternberg has little design training, but credits his home base of Los Angeles for his unique point of view that fashion people in New York find so enthralling.
He remains adamant about living in Los Angeles, even if it means missing some of the New York fashion social scene. “If I was here in New York in this mix influenced by the same thing all these people are influenced by, the edge would be gone,” he said in his Manhattan showroom. “This [L.A.] bubble is vital to being able to do something that is not informed by fashion.”
Perhaps it helps that he is elusive to New York fashion people, breezing into town only every now and then, making his time and what he’s selling feel more exclusive. And if fashion people love anything, it’s what they think only they can have, whether it be one of only five pairs of Chanel sunglasses or an appointment with someone fabulous.
Sternberg’s label is still relatively small, and he aims to expand without losing its exclusivity, which can be a challenging thing to do. He says talks with potential investors have been promising. In the meantime he’s expanding product offerings with some more affordable things, such as his line of fitted polo shirts called “This is not a polo shirt.” It’s a nice follow-up name to Boy., which, yes, comes with a period. Maybe what makes Sternberg’s label successful is not L.A., but his fashionable flair with words and grammar. Opening Ceremony would naturally gravitate toward a line with a name that ends in a period.
Can an Outsider Cash In? [WSJ]