May 13, 2021

Brands: Label to Watch: Oak & Acorn

3 min read

Oak & Acorn – Only for the Rebelles is a young denim brand born in January 2019 in Harlem, New York, USA. It started by offering one coverall and a selection of accessories made of repurposed denim scraps. The collection also participated the September 2020 NYFW on the CFDA’s Runway 360 platform and most recently issued a collaboration with Pakistani denim mill Soorty.
Miko Underwood, founder and designer, explained why she created the label and started this collaboration.

What is the inspiration behind your brand?
This genderless and seasonless luxury denim collection pays homage to the story of the Indigenous American and the enslaved African who contributed to shape American manufacturing and denim.

Miko Underwood, founder, Oak & Acorn

Miko Underwood, founder, Oak & Acorn

This collection offers 30 pieces subdivided into five sub-collections, each one telling its own story in connection to the history of denim with innovative silhouettes. The fabric selection connects the brand to the history of denim but also to its future as they are also forward-minded, functional and sustainable.

Why is Oak & Acorn a seasonless label?
Having a seasonless collection is a standard I’ve held for myself to present a focused product line and eliminate potential waste in development. Seasonless pieces are staples that carry the brand throughout the year.
Moreover, being the first sustainable denim brand in Harlem, NY, we thread fabric sourcing and traceability, social impact and historic storytelling with innovative design. Our commitment to sustainability equates to products made up of fibers like hemp, Refibra, Tencel, recycled and repurposed denim, natural indigo artisan textiles and deadstock fabrics.

Looks from Oak & Acorn's collab with Soorty

Looks from Oak & Acorn’s collab with Soorty

To whom is it aimed and what are its retail prices?
As a genderless sustainable denim brand my demographic is both men and women who are fearless in their fashion choices, value sustainability and social impact. The brand has a strong average of consumers aged between 25 and 46, young professionals and entrepreneurs. They love the wearability of the brand, that it can be worn day and night, and that it offers functional, comfortable, protective, empowering, eco-friendly and genderless items. The pricing ranges from $175 to $700.

Can you tell us more about the collaboration with Soorty?
After I presented my collection within Council of Fashion Designer’s of America’s NYFW platform, I suggested to Soorty’s denim manager, Melissa Urbina, to start a brand collaboration with them. I presented O&A and its brand messaging highlighting the history of labor exploitation in the United States going back to enslavement, global colonization and the origins of indigo. The product emphasized the human impact of clothing, a concept that felt synergistic to the projects that Soorty had been developing around the human value.

Oak & Acorn x Soorty denim outfit

Oak & Acorn x Soorty denim outfit

This capsule, which is launching at Nordstrom in February and will be available on Shopbop in March, initially only in the US, was dreamed, designed and engineered with the goal of highlighting such precious human values. Though it is related to the hard experience we’ve all had to endure during the pandemic. When our access was limited, we realized how many things we give for granted are the hard and precious work of others. From healthcare workers to logistics, to food chain workers to those in grocery stores, and the garment workers. Hence, it was essentially natural for us to match with the values of O&A’s collection and of denim as a social, cultural and political icon through history.

The capsule is mostly made with Soorty’s Smart Care Brand Tech, a selection of fabrics that are made with smart materials such as cellulose based, regenerative and responsible fibers, and ZDHC compliant chemicals. They are treated with processes like smart dyeing and finishing processes like Zero Wastewater, Aniline free, laser ready dyeing and ozone finishing. They are washed by using laundry systems that reduce the use of water, chemicals and energy while ensuring workers’ health and safety.

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