It’s not enough to be a denim brand anymore — unless you stand for something. That’s how Khloé Kardashian and Emma Grede, the co-founders of Good American feel, anyway.
Nearly a year since its launch in late 2016, the company — which came about in part because Grede, a fashion and events industry veteran, approached Kardashian clan matriarch Kris Jenner about collaborating with one of her daughters — has sincerely stuck to its altruistic ideologies.
Founded with a mission statement that includes such maxims as “extreme inclusivity” and “looking good and doing good,” Good American literally put its money where its mouth is. Not only does the brand promote body positivity through its products and ad campaigns, but it also donates part of the proceeds from each pair of pants sold to the nonprofit Step Up, which helps women and girls in under-resourced communities.
Kardashian and Grede also lend their time — and money — to philanthropic causes, including Good American’s latest partnership with VFILES: The two women shared their business savvy and design expertise with young VFILES designers ahead of the collective’s most recent runway show.
The commitment to improve women’s lives through clothing, even if fashion is often viewed as frivolous, initially came from Kardashian’s feeling that she’d been portrayed in the media as “the fat sister, even though she didn’t feel that way,” Grede explains.
However, Grede, who was three months pregnant with a girl before the line’s first products dropped, had her own reasons for wanting to give the company a body-positive ethos. “When you have a baby girl, it’s a little different than having a boy, because you already know half the stuff that she’s going to feel and go through as a woman. And as women, there are so many more important things women should focus on, but we’re still worried about the size of our butts. So I thought, ‘I’m going to fundamentally change the relationship women have with their bodies,’” Grede says.
And, Kardashian tells Yahoo Lifestyle, they have begun to do just that. “I think we have come a long way in the body positivity movement — you see more retailers stocking larger sizes on the floor, and more diversity on the runway and in magazines — but we still have work to do,” she says. “We shouldn’t be identifying someone through physical attributes such as ‘plus-size,’ and Emma and I believe that mantra should carry through in fashion too. Let’s get rid of ‘plus-size’ and just have standard sizing.”
The goal of emphasizing the objective of the company is one of the reasons that Kardashian, a branding powerhouse, didn’t attach her name to her company, as her sister Kim does with her KKW Beauty line or her half-sisters, Kendall and Kylie, do with their own business ventures.
Kloé Kardashian says, “Today, people want brands that have a purpose and stand for something — which is what we aim to do with Good American. Emma and I both feel strongly in a brand that embodies inclusivity and embracing who you are, our shared values made it clear that we should be working together!”
As it turns out, Grede is more integral to the Good American name than she’s given credit for. The 35-year-old British ex-pat, who cut her teeth in fashion public relations and event production, helped shape and foster the influencer economy, first working to attract big names and financing to produce runway shows before partnering fashion brands with social media stars.
And it’s Grede’s husband, Jens Grede, who had experience in the denim industry — he’s co-founder of celebrity favorite Frame Denim. Frame launched in 2012, and it wasn’t based on any market research, according to the brand’s other co-founder, Erik Torstensson. Still, the company managed to make a name for itself with celebrity endorsements and partnerships, like one with Karlie Kloss that was focused on creating jeans for women with long legs.
Emma Grede takes that principle — special sizing for a neglected subset of the population — a step further, and focuses instead on a neglected majority of the population. Sixty-seven percent of women in the U.S. are reportedly plus-size, representing a lucrative $20 billion market opportunity for the retailers smart enough to stop alienating so many shoppers.
Indeed, Emma says the Good American sizes to sell out quickest include those at either end of the size spectrum — from double zero to size 18 (their sizes run up to size 24).
“You can see how underserviced our customer really is,” Grede says. “For those people who say, ‘OK, we get the message already,’ it’s clear they don’t. There’s still a lot more people out there who will discover us. Besides, it’s quite boring to do double zero and that’s it.”
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