In the blink of an eye, local clothing brand Wildfang has gone from fledgling idea to fully formed fashion darling. On March 14, the tomboy-inspired brand reaches a milestone, celebrating one year of making non-girly fashion stand out in a sea of look books packed with dresses and heels.
While many small businesses struggle to get into a profit zone during their crucial first year, Wildfang seems to have blown past the baby steps into a sprint. The press loves them (hello New York Times, Refinery 29, Cool Hunting, etc.), and the company can count mega musician Sara Bareilles, Elvis heir Riley Keough, and Olympic athlete-turned-elite-model Casey Legler among their famous fans.
We snagged cofounder Emma Mcllroy away from her party planning to talk about the big anniversary.
Eden Dawn: How do you feel about Wildfang hitting the one-year mark?
Emma Mcllory: What a year! It's been wild. We never planned to have our own private label collections or a physical store—both of those were unplanned but turned out to be big successes. Jules [Julia Parsley] and I are incredibly proud of our first year and of our team. The highlight for me was probably our Show Us Your Wildfang campaign in August last year. It was so much fun to work with all the different girls and see our first ever collection of button-ups come to life.
What are you most proud of having accomplished in the last year?
Probably, honestly, the team of people who work at Wildfang. They are so hungry, so passionate - they're impossible not to love.
How have you seen the evolution of the Tomboy progressing in the last year? Where do you think it's going?
Finally we are seeing people recognize this isn't a trend and it's incredibly exciting. Allowing women to wear items and styles from the menswear department opens up so much more room to play. For some girls that allows them to feel more comfortable and feel more like themselves, for some girls it allows them to provoke a reaction or add edge, and for other girls it allows them to break new ground and really innovative their style, clashing men’s and women’s product. At a product level, we have seen floral prints do well in spring, in the classic men’s silhouettes and we are also seeing sportswear-inspired silhouettes continue to be popular. That's why our new TOMBOY collection has some really fun urban/sportswear inspired pieces.
How do you think Portland and Wildfang are contributing to that movement?
We hope Wildfang is at the center of that movement. We hope that rather than trying to piece together a look from 5 or 6 different stores, someone can find everything she's looking for at Wildfang—and we help show her how to style those items. We said from the start that we'd like to be the home for tomboys and we use that word 'home' intentionally. We really care about our girl and building this brand is a labor of love for us.
After a non-stop-action first year, what can we expect from Wildfang in year 2?
We have some exciting brand campaigns in the works, with more faces you might recognize. We've also got several major private label collections launching and several exclusive collabs. We want to keep giving you the stuff you love—and a few cheeky surprises too.
At this point, it’s clear Wildfang is beyond the label of fad, beyond the label of trend. They’re a (expletive deleted) movement. Get on board.