Christine Day wants to teach others how to be good.
The retail veteran, who served as Lululemon Athletica’s chief executive officer for six years, has partnered with men’s wear designer Russell Wilson and singer Ciara to launch a concept called The House of LR&C — putting the focus on love, respect and care.
The goal is to “democratize fashion,” Day said, or shatter the invisible barriers in a notoriously elitist industry. To do this, the digital platform and brand house — which at present includes the Good Man Brand, founded by Wilson, and gender-fluid streetwear brand Human Nation — offers sustainable products at affordable price points and in an array of sizes.
“We can’t keep doing fashion the way we’ve been doing fashion,” Day told WWD. “And what I really hope — Human Nation in particular, being affordable — that it’s not going to be the cheapest garment out there. Because cheap has bad implications for the environment, for the workers in the factories. What’s more important is to create long-lasting, durable items that are sustainably made and ethically made.
“Right from the beginning, in every business process that [LR&C] does, we’re making sure that we’re giving back, that we’re taking care of the environment and that our messages are all around love, unity and inclusion,” said Day, who serves as president of the firm and is also a cofounder. “So we’re really embodying the things that the Gen Z consumer, in particular, are looking for.”
The platform is also a B Corp, available in English and Spanish and follows sustainability guidelines set by the United Nations, Day said. In addition, the business plans to donate money to youth organizations after each transaction.
“A lot of brands give a percentage of their profits to charities,” Day said. “But we are actually giving 3 percent of net revenues to the Why Not You Foundation as part of our business model.”
That’s even during a pandemic, when unemployment levels remain high Stateside.
“I took over the helm of Lululemon in the middle of the financial crisis in 2008, 2009. So, I’m not a stranger to building brands in tough economic times,” Day said. “The circumstances of today don’t really worry me, as long as you have a brand that is really telling and really resonates with the consumer.”
Day, who is also ceo of healthy food company Performance Kitchen, built her team to include sustainability, product and marketing experts.
“I can’t run [LR&C] full time with my other commitments,” she said. “While it’s a very entrepreneurial team, it’s also a very experienced team that’s been in business for a long time. So the infrastructure and the way we build the business model come from a depth of experience, which you don’t really see in a lot of startups either.”
At present, both the Good Man Brand and Human Nation are available at thehouseoflrc.com. Day said the business is also working on a women’s wear brand that will launch next summer.
In addition, Human Nation will be available in Kohl’s store and at kohls.com the week after Christmas through the big-box retailer’s “Curated by Kohl’s” selection of third-party brands. The Good Man Brand is currently available at Nordstrom.
“We believe Human Nation, a brand rooted in sustainability and inclusivity, will really come to life through Curated by Kohl’s and resonate with customers in a compelling way,” said Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer.
Teri Bariquit, Nordstrom’s chief merchandising officer, said it was the Good Man Brand’s fabrics, fit and give-back mission that made it so appealing.
“We are excited to offer our customers more from Good Man Brand and to expand our relationship with the new brands being introduced by The House of LR&C,” Bariquit said.
The House of LR&C doesn’t have any plans to move into physical retail in the short term, Day said, but will likely do so some time in the future. “Right now we’ll focus on strategic partners and our own dtc site,” she explained.
“What I think is really different about our brand — keep in mind, this isn’t Russell and Ciara doing a collection for another brand. This is them building a branded house and being the owners of that business, along with myself and the others founders,” Day said. “We’re building a company is very different from product endorsements or collections; we’re actually kind of combining the best of both being a co-op world and a direct-to-consumer multitiered marketing [business] and dtc and retail.
“The House of LR&C will evolve the business of fashion by blending new social standards and elements of style with different views on the world around us, setting the narrative for the future of retail,” Day said. “I think people are tired of more consumable [fast fashion] apparel. The consumer is going after the brands that really care [about social issues.] I think it’s going to be more and more important for apparel companies to start embracing these principles.”