Kirrin Finch on Success and Making Gender-Defying Fashion

Image: Evan Robinson

Kirrin Finch is a conscientious clothing company, founded by Brooklyn-based couple Laura Moffat and Kelly Sanders Moffat, that meets the growing demand for gender-defying fashion by creating menswear-inspired apparel designed to fit a range of female and non-binary bodies. Both Kelly and Laura believe that sustainability isn’t just the materials, but that the workers making their clothing are also being paid fairly and working in safe conditions. Keeping their brand 100% made in New York of sustainable fabrics is another huge piece of the puzzle.

As Kirrin Finch leaves the Brooklyn fashion + Design Accelerator (ok, just a few floors below us in the same building but still we are going to miss them!) to spread their roots and get ready for more growth, we caught up with them to talk success and sustainability.

How you’ve been able to navigate successful waters with Kirrin Finch? 

One of the ways we’ve found success is by being as trim as possible. We’ve made a concerted effort to teach ourselves to do as much as possible. For example, we learned how to take our own flat lays. By doing so it allowed us to cut down on expenses and make sure we are getting exactly what we want.  Another way was by surrounding ourselves with great mentors like the folks at the BF+DA. Prior to our mentors at the BF+DA, we took advantage of the great free resources that exist for small businesses like BOC, SCORE and obviously reaching out to all of the amazing people in our life for their advice!

What does it takes to have an apparel brand in 2018? 

Customers are shopping in very different ways today than they were 10 years ago. From the very practical sense, the store experience is different. There is a real desire to be able to shop from your home and as a result, free shipping and returns has turned into the rule, not the exception. People are also engaging with brands using all different types of communication methods and as a brand it is imperative for you to be extremely responsive. Whether it be on social media, email or chat!  Customers also want to see new product more often and desire is pushing the fashion cycle shorter and shorter.

What have been the keys to your success and what do you feel you need to work harder at?

One way we’ve been successful is by exploring different avenues and then evaluating to see if they are actually working for us without blindly soldiering on. For example, pop ups are really popular right now and we spent a lot of effort trying to make them work for our brand, but we realized that for a variety of reasons it just isn’t right for Kirrin Finch. So we’ve really shifted to be a 90% online only sales model. The ability to shift gears and refocus quickly is so important!

Image: Evan Robinson

How has the BF+DA helped you for this next chapter?

When we walked in the door three years ago we literally didn’t know the first thing about how to make a shirt. Today, we offer an entire outfit and so much of that knowledge is from our time at the BF+DA. Everything from developing the patterns, building relationships with our manufacturing partners and navigating all the various stumbling blocks that are bound to arise for a small company getting off the ground. We’ve met so many amazing people through our experience at the BF+DA. Having different people to bounce your ideas off of is incredibly helpful and although we are ready to take the next step for our business, those connections and friendships will remain.

Keep up with Kirrin Finch here.

Laura Moffat and Kelly Sanders Moffat, Image: Evan Robinson