Hong Kong’s UNCVR fashion subscription targets men, with monthly delivery of stylish clothes

Co-founder Arnold Wong says jackets, trousers, T-shirts and other wardrobe staples designed and made for the online platform offer stylish convenience for the man with little time for in-store shopping

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 February, 2017, 6:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 6:03pm

The subscription box trend – a monthly delivery of anything from skincare to health products – has been slow to take off in Asia but the launch of UNCVR, Hong Kong’s first fashion subscription service for men, could change that.

Launched in January by Arnold Wong, Ken Lui and Andrea Cheng, UNCVR is billed as an online platform offering high-quality wardrobe staples delivered each month.

A former finance executive, Wong was inspired to launch the service after failed shopping attempts.

“I never spent time shopping and when I did I would buy in bulk. It was hard to find clothes I really liked and finding time to shop was even harder. UNCVR makes shopping easy for men who are too busy, or don’t really care enough. More than that, we want to create something that is inspiring. Our name comes from the idea that you uncover a package each month, but it’s also part of our mission to help men uncover their style,” he says.

The company’s website has a form for customers to select sizes, then a series of clickable photos for trousers and T-shirts, as well as colour options. Customers can preview their package before it goes out – an option that Wong says is unique to UNCVR.

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“Through our soft launch we found out that many customers wanted to see what they get. For existing customers we send them a preview of the box and allow them around 10 days to get back to us. During that time they can swap an item, pause the subscription or cancel,” he says.

While most subscription services offer a selection of brands, UNCVR designs and produces its own clothing. Cheng, who studied brand management in Florence, designs the collections, while Lui comes from a family of manufacturers and handles the production side.

“It’s a differentiator. Ken owns his own factory, so we are able to cut margins which is good for the consumer and us. We also don’t have minimums. Today there is so much waste in fashion so we combat this by offering curated pieces that don’t go out of style and by using a subscription service so we can estimate how much we need to produce and minimise overruns,” says Wong.

Convenience is a big draw for customers – and so is the clothing. The debut collection for autumn features 30 pieces that are easy to mix and match, including tops, bottoms and jackets. While the look is more urban and minimalist, the details and quality stand out. Bestsellers include bomber jackets, sweaters, joggers and T-shirts which come in various styles featuring button details, longer silhouettes and curved hems. The upcoming spring/summer collection will include new styles and popular ones from the previous season.

“I wouldn’t say we are fashion forward, but we focus on styles that guys can get a lot of mileage out of and that form the foundation of your wardrobe. At the end of the day we are more focused on service versus product. We want to make it simple but also take the guesswork out of shopping. If you get a bomber jacket once we won’t send it again. If you don’t like an item, we will collect it and send you another style,” says Wong.

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UNCVR’s subscription is month-to-month, with the option to pause or cancel at any time. Prices are extremely competitive at HK$480 per month, which includes two or three items of clothing, free shipping and returns in Hong Kong (conditions and prices vary for the rest of Asia, Europe and America). Customers can return items within 14 days.

For now, Wong wants to focus on men’s casualwear. “We want to be the largest men’s fashion subscription company in Asia. We’re not interested in womenswear because the menswear market has so much more potential and they shop differently. Once they are sold, they always come back so we want to make it that much easier for them,” says Wong.