A huge congratulations are in order for Robin Yates (Co-Founder) and Michael Kerr (Design Director), the men behind NOBIS - the official sponsor of New York Men’s Day this season. According to c0-founder, Robin Yates, this season is an exciting time for the brand due to Michael’s distinct way of incorporating a refreshing sense of design, style, color, and intentionality into the design mix.
The presentation for New York Men’s Day this season featured 13 weather-ready looks incorporating the technical performance features the brand is known for. These pieces include 3-Ply Micro Denier, 4-Way Durable Stretch Weave, Premium Stretch Ripstop, Signature Crosshatch, Poly/Wool blend, Technical Taffeta, and a Lightweight DP Nylon with Poly/Wool Blend Contrast Panel. Created to keep the wearer looking spiffy while performing at the highest level in any element, styles are finished with membrane laminations, seam-sealed construction, and DWR finishes.
It’s paramount to have a lens on the world and be able to look inside the mind of the consumer when creating anything to be sold.
DHL: You’re appealing to the consumer who is willing to buy only three pieces instead of twenty that last.
MK: We want them to covet everything. I want you to buy a piece, wear it, fall in love with it, and then think about how I can add to this experience. Then we want to dress you for the rest of your life and the way you’re protected from the elements. We all travel. We know what it’s like to go from the morning, to raining, and by the evening, you’re freezing. So, you can’t just have one piece. It must be a system that works for you so that you can look good from the office through the night, but also work.
DHL: I’ve looked at the pieces and I love them because there’s a respect for premium performance outerwear. It’s modern and fresh, with colors like the oranges that immediately catches the eye. You can adapt and are able to see and be aligned with what the modern consumer wants.
MK: It’s like socially engineering the product to appeal to this consumer. There are two ways that you can design a product. There’s fast fashion pushing out things and they hope you walk by, and you catch them. The way we do it is to pull. We want to pull you into the brand. We want you to find something you covet, wear, love, and say “Man, I really love that jacket. What else do they have?” Then see it work together. We want these pieces flowing between. When we design every season, we do try on our underpinnings, season after season. We take some of our heritage products and we fit them, so it all works together so that there’s a whole idea of building out your wardrobe. You buy these pieces. Now they become the pieces you travel with, your favorite pieces when it’s raining and you’re going somewhere. The idea is not that we want to get you into NOBIS, but that it’s a sustainable way of being. You have less but you have better. It performs. We build function into the product so that it is performing.
DHL: Especially within the performance outerwear space. There’s a lot of variety that I haven’t seen from anything else. When a modern man or woman is walking around the city in the street, they will be looking great, and somebody will ask the question “Who are you wearing?”
MK: One of the things that I would love to see come out of Men’s Day is that the designers really look at the pieces and innovate and consider the environment that they’re living in. Usually, we are about urban exploration. We’re a brand that lives in the city, but we’re built for everything. We consider how you’re using that product in the city every day. Sometimes you need that extra warmth and sometimes you don’t. That’s one of the things that I’d love to see come out of this is that people really start to look and say “How does this make me feel? How is this product better?
DHL: What’s the working dynamic like between you and Michael?
RY: I like the word meaningful. We’ve always celebrated NOBIS as a performance element and a high-quality product. Those things are foundations. They are who we are! They’re in fact our pillars. With Mike’s onboarding and his creative genius, we celebrate with color, fit, shape and fabric. Honestly, it’s the best ROI for the premium outerwear consumer in the marketplace. We may not be everybody’s favorite brand yet, but when we start to exceed consumer expectations in this category and we start to exponentially grow our consumer base, I think people will be jumping up and down talking about us.
DHL: It sounds like there’s a conversation about streamlining and simplifying the consumer experience.
RY: Why do I have to decide what I wear to go to a restaurant versus what I wear on a snowmobile when I go ice fishing or sleep out on the ice? I do things that are not for everybody. Why do I have to change my look and feel? Why can’t I feel good about the way I look and be comfortable when I do all the things I love to pursue? The spontaneity, the ability to do what you want, when you want to do it, where you want to do it is something that is built into every NOBIS product. Why when I go into a fine restaurant and I wear a technical outdoor piece, is it not a welcoming experience? Until you go in and order a bottle of champagne then you perk up. The point is I like to look good whatever I do. I wear what I love, and I wear it wherever I want to wear it. The point is that you don’t need five different coats. You need what works for you and it’s your lifestyle. With NOBIS, the limits are almost boundless.
DHL: Is there a specific conversation that you'd like to get across to your client base after the purchase?
RY: The purchase is not the end of the emotional journey. It’s the beginning for us when you get a product that rewards you from a comfort point of view. Obviously, it must fit your personal style, so that’s of paramount importance. All our outerwear can be thrown in the washer. There’s no dry-cleaning, which saves the average customer $300 a year or whatever the price may be. These are little things that are important. This is our sleep at night brand. I felt that consumers weren’t satisfied with the journey that they fell into after the point of purchase, which brought us where we want to be.
Our offering really affords people the opportunity to a new world from the premium lifestyle purchase. Whether they buy it because it’s a fun color, textile, or fit, or they fall in love with the piece, the journey continues to get better for them. Consumers need to ask hard questions about their outerwear purchases. Whether they’re going into a multi-brand store, and they have a selection of things to choose from, they should be asking the right questions. What are the most negative weather elements that you battle over the course of the transitional fall/winter seasons? Most of the time outside moisture will come up. What they don’t talk about is 40 below, because it hasn’t hit this city in a million years. Most winter market consumers don’t know what minus 40 is. In Europe, it’s a long-lost thing even negative temperature. The fact is that rain, wind, cold, variation weather, the four seasons, and fluctuating elements speak to the necessity for outerwear to perform better than what we’ve come to.
Editor's note: this transcript has been edited for brevity.