Hong Kong’s Grana extends push into new lines with launch of swimwear

Online clothing label with a mission to ‘do basics well’ tests new concepts, including swimwear, with six mix-and-match styles for women and four for men, in standard and limited-edition colours

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 1:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2016, 2:22pm

Since it launched in 2014, Hong Kong-based online clothing label Grana has made headlines for its direct-to-consumer business model – similar to US companies such as Everlane and Warby Parker.

Following a major investment earlier this year, the brand is making a strong push into new categories including swimwear, which it debuted online on July 28.

“Our mission is to do basics well – the silk blouse, chinos, T-shirts. Now that we have a solid base, we can continue to experiment and test more concept pieces,” says founder Luke Grana. “Our short lead time really allows us to explore more categories. Swimwear is a summer essential and our product team have spent a lot of time developing the line to ensure we give our customers endless possibilities.”

The collection, which includes men’s and women’s styles, speaks to Grana’s philosophy of timeless design, fair prices and high quality. For women there are six mix-and-match styles available – three tops, two bottoms and one swimsuit – while for men there are four basic shapes.

Hong Kong’s Grana secures US$3.5 million to ‘further disrupt the online clothing market’ from LA to Shanghai

“It was important to pair and create synergy between what defines a Grana wardrobe essential and what is a timeless piece of swimwear. We looked at iconic swimwear styles such as the bandeau and racer front, and updated them with a Grana twist. It’s all about quality construction and fabric, and it’s easy to wear and look after,” says designer Sarah Platts.

“We’ve also done a lot of research on fit so it’s constructed in a way that’s very luxury. All the pieces feel comfortable but offer plenty of support. For example, the back of the swimsuit has two seams as opposed to a flat back, so it holds you in and nips you in at the waist. Tops come with inner panels taken from lingerie to ensure shape and support. There’s no padding or wiring, so you can roll them up in a suitcase. It’s all about attention to detail,” she says.

While the women’s styles are made from a trademark fabric sourced in Italy called Eurojersey (according to Platts it doesn’t pill or fade and dries quickly), the men’s line is made from an exclusive Taiwanese Tech fabric that is water repellent and comes with UV protection. Silhouettes range from a tailored short to drawstring board shorts, but it’s the details that count, including side adjusters, four-eyelet fastenings, hang loops and inner meshing custom designed for Grana.

As more online shoppers complain of clothes that don’t fit, Hong Kong's Grana tests hybrid try-before-you-buy approach at first store

Too add some fun into the mix, both collections are available in Grana’s signature colour palette (black and burgundy) as well as a series of seasonal colours (available until they selll out) and limited edition colours, which Platts describes as “concept pieces”.

The collection is priced between HK$194 and HK$458, in keeping with Grana’s philosophy of fair pricing.

“What’s really resonating with our Gen Y customers is this idea of transparent pricing. Instead of having a five- or six-times mark-up, which is industry standard, we range between two and two-and-a- half. Because of this we don’t discount. It seems to be working – our growth rate is 25 per cent month over month. The average order value is US$120 and 50 per cent of our customers keep coming back,” says Grana.

What’s really resonating with our Gen Y customers is this idea of transparent pricing
Luke Grana

Looking ahead, Grana has plenty of plans, including another round of funding which he says will be used to further expand the business. Unlike other competitors, the business has been global from the outset, shipping to more than a dozen markets, although the US, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong are its strongest ones.

And while Grana is primarily an online business, it has also started to experiment with bricks-and- mortar pop-ups to drive business. This has been so successful that they have plans to open pop-up stores in Kowloon and New York later this year.

Yoox Net-a-Porter boss Federico Marchetti looks to China for sales growth

“Our five-year goal is to be a one-stop shop for wardrobe and fashion essentials, including shoes, outerwear, bags and accessories. In the future homewares and lifestyle can also be added. For us it’s about continuing to create under three core pillars – the best fabrics, honest pricing and wardrobe essentials,” says Grana.