Fashion’s Freshman Class, IPO Newbies in a Strange New World – WWD

There is a new world to win.

And Class of 2021 fashion – landing in a whirlwind year of IPOs – ready to make a mark.

Despite the pandemic and all the chaos and uncertainty it has created – including now with the omicron variant – a generally vibrant stock market has attracted a wave of next-generation names. following the buzz to Wall Street over the past year.

Opportunity and optimism meet in 2021 as more and more companies weigh the global health crisis against strong consumer spending, government stimulus and the rise of e-commerce and sustainability and decided it was simply time to jump in.

The speed of giving – like some things in times of pandemic – is unprecedented.

So far, the U.S. service count has grown 237 percent to 970, according to That broke the record shown last year, with 480 initial public offerings. (The previous high was 397 offers at the end of the first dot-com boom in 2000.)

But the fresh faces are not uniform. And despite some commonalities, recent entrants are all a little different, from Poshmark’s January IPO to Allbirds‘ and Lulu’s Fashion Lounge offerings this month. (Zegna plans to go public approved a SPAC agreement this month).

Here’s a look at this year’s newcomers, how they stood out, how they marched in the jump, and what they faced.

Class of 2021

Fashion’s Class of 2021
The IPOs to date in an unprecedented year of offering.
IPO date IPO price Price as at 12/1/2021 Change
Holding 9/15/21 $ 24 $ 39.05 62.7%
Figs 5/27/21 $22 $30.89 40.4%
Brilliant Earth Group 23/9/21 $12 $16.66 38.8%
Olaplex Holdings 30/9/21 $21 $25.98 23.7%
Warby Parker * 9/29/21 $40 $48.58 21.5%
ThredUp 3/26/21 $14 $16.90 20.7%
Dr. Martens ** 1/29/21 £3.70 £4.14 11.9%
Allbirds 11/3/21 $15 $16.06 7.1%
Brand name Aka 9/22/21 $11 $11.57 5.2%
Mytheresa 1/21/21 $26 $26.51 2.0%
Lulu’s Fashion Lounge 11/11/21 $16 $12.55 -21.6%
Torrid Holdings 7/1/21 $21 $14.94 -28.9%
Rent a runway 27/10/21 $21 $12.25 -41.7%
Honest company 5/5/21 $16 $8.10 -49.4%
Mark 1/14/21 $42 $16.89 -59.8%
Source:, Yahoo Finance. *Warby Parker technically a direct listing, not an IPO. ** Dr. Martens trades on the London Stock Exchange.

Running New York City

On the Running’s New York City store.

Top of the class

The stocks to beat in the IPO rally are sneakers outstanding holding and Figs, a direct-to-consumer medical scrub company.

On was founded 11 years ago with a strong focus on operations and is now sold in 8,100 stores across 50 countries. First half revenue rose 84.6% to 315.5 million Swiss francs, or about $344 million, on net income of 3.8 million Swiss francs, or $4.1 million.

The company plans to continue ramping up charging into a territory already dominated by giants, including Nike. “We will continue to take calculated and courageous steps when venturing into the unknown, whether it is with new territories, new products, new materials, new business models or new consumers,” On told investors.

Meanwhile, Figs has some built-in advantages as it is playing in a space that, according to its IPO registration statement, is characterized by everything from “commodity products” to “ambiguousness about brand” to “archaic distribution”.

But the brand sees opportunity in the healthcare sector, which has been described as “the fastest-growing employment sector in the US” with 22% growth. The company is winning with a purposeful e-commerce approach with about 1.3 million customers, 60% of which are repeat customers. Figs ran into some trouble in 2020, when medical experts protested against an advertisement showing a young woman in scrubs with a book “Medical Terminology for Dummies”. But The company apologized for “insensitive video” and noted, “Figs is a female-led company whose sole mission is to make you guys feel great. We dropped the ball and we regret it.” The episode doesn’t appear to have hindered the company’s foray into Wall Street.

Hire Jennifer Hyman of Runway.

Rent a runwayby Jennifer Hyman.
Courteous photo

Loud, Buzzy and Under the Radar

The promise of a strong stock market has led to some of the most talked about names in retail and fashion into the future – including Warby Parker, Rent the Runway and Allbirds.

While those are among the flagships of the digital revolution, they are not the only ones making the transition from private to public.

Lower-profile companies like Lulu’s Fashion Lounge (which uses a quick check-in and reorganization approach to drive digital business) and Aka Brands (which is building a digital natives portfolio digital) has also hit the market with slightly less noisy but very retail digital approaches.

Allbirds, carbon footprint, labeling, sustainability, footwear

Allbirds carbon footprint count as part of Tread Lighter target.

Sustainable speech

Next-generation clearly has sustainability in its DNA, but it’s a still-growing part of the business dictionary, and companies as they go public are still figuring out how to talk about their methods and goals. surname.

For example, Allbirds started on its first application submission with a “Sustainable Equity Supply Framework” and stated very strongly: “Our motto -“everything is better in a better way” ” – applies not only to our products, but to everything we do. We hope to apply those characteristics to the way we approach our initial public offering and become a sustainable public company. ”

But wording evolved in subsequent filings and a disclaimer was added to the note: “The Sustainability Goals and Principles Framework, or SPO Framework, is a new and untried framework. experience, not only developed by disinterested third parties, but developed with input from Allbirds and other partners. There is no basis for investors or a track of record by which investors can assess the impact of the SPO Framework on the operations, financial condition, and market price of their Class A common shares I. ”

thredup founder

James Reinhart, founder of ThredUp.
Courteous image

C-suite style

The next generation has its own approach to executive power.

Many of the newcomers didn’t give up much control when they attracted public investors, using a dual-class share system to ensure tight voting rights. Warby Parker co-CEOs Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa hold a combined 48% voting rights on the stock while Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman holds 40.1% of the voting rights in the company.

And while there’s usually only one head in the decentralized world of Wall Street, many of the companies that come into the spotlight this year have duos who share the CEO title (including Figs, On Holding, Warby Parker and Allbirds).

Names at the top
Brand name Aka Jill Ramsey, 49 years old, CEO and director
Allbirds Joseph Zwillinger, 40 years old, co-CEO and director
Timothy Brown, 40 years old, co-CEO and director
Brilliant Earth Group Beth Gerstein, 45 years old, CEO and director
Dr. Martens Kenneth Wilson, 54 years old, CEO
Figs Heather Hasson, 39 years old, co-founder, co-CEO and director
Trina Spear, 38 years old, co-founder, co-CEO and director
Honest company Nikolaos Vlahos, 53 years old, CEO and director
Lulu’s Fashion Lounge David McCreight, 58 years old, CEO and director
Mytheresa Michael Kliger, 53 years old, CEO
Olaplex Holdings JuE Wong, 58 years old, president, chief executive officer and director
Holding Martin Hoffmann, 42 years old, chief financial officer and co-CEO
Marc Maurer, 39 years old, Co-CEO
Mark Manish Chandra, 53 years old, co-founder, president, chief executive officer and president
Rent a runway Jennifer Hyman, 41 years old, co-founder, CEO and president
ThredUp James Reinhart, 41 years old, CEO, director and co-founder
Torrid Holdings Elizabeth Muñoz, 53 years old, CEO and director
Warby Parker Neil Blumenthal, 41 years old, co-founder, co-CEO and co-chair
Dave Gilboa, 40, Co-Founder, Co-CEO and Co-Chair
Source: SEC, age since IPO filing.


Wall Street Fashion newbies are generally using the same pitch as investors.

They are sustainable, purposeful businesses targeting Millennials and Gen Zers. They value digital intelligence, are committed to diversity, and are obsessed with their direct-to-consumer mission.

At least, that’s marketing parlance, more or less what it means to be a modern retailer – and that’s really the message. New players in the market are stepping back to announce that they are not like the old players in the market.

Warby Parker comfortably throws some shade in the paperwork for a direct listing (like an IPO that puts a company’s stock on the public market), noting, “The eye care industry has largely been slow to change. new, despite having strong and defendable fundamentals. The eyewear buying process has lacked a compelling customer experience.”

Hyman, co-founder, CEO and president of Rent the Runway Inc., drew a clear line between past and present in his letter to shareholders. “Before renting a runway, wearing designer fashion was not a realistic option for most people,” she said. “We’ve democratized couture for women everywhere, giving them access to that power – the ‘Cinderella Moment’.”

Poshmark Founder and CEO Manish Chandra

Poshmark Founder and CEO Manish Chandra.
Courteous photo

… But different

However, for each revolving around what it means to be a modern retailer, there is a different approach.

Some of the big names – including Warby Parker and Allbirds – are building from the ground up, yes, but are aggressively driving a key aspect of growth. Others, such as Lulu’s Fashion Lounge, are focusing more on digital, while ThredUp and Poshmark are reselling and Rent the Runway remains a rental pioneer.

Purpose-driven business models are everywhere, but they can all mean a little differently, and which approach will ultimately work best for companies, customers, and investors remains to be seen. is determined.

In the past, the majority of the venture capital crowd bet on who would win in the future. But the wave of IPOs now has the broader stock market influencing and setting the conditions under which – at least in theory – it is the strongest will thrive.

More from WWD:

David Simon looking at the big picture

The place of fashion in an inflationary nation

In Fashion: Strategy vs. Execution at Macy’s, Farfetch, and Beyond Fashion’s Freshman Class, IPO Newbies in a Strange New World – WWD


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