A bright patterned suit with a matching patterned tie. Who in the world would wear that?
Many, as it turns out, including celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Tom Hanks in an SNL Halloween skit, and too many sports teams to list.
Half joke and half wry sartorial comment — but always worn with the tongue placed firmly in the cheek — Opposuits‘s garments have become a kind of revolution for men who don’t take their wardrobe choices too seriously.
“We created something that is somewhere in between fashion and novelty. It’s much cooler than a costume and it isn’t fashion either,” a Opposuits co-founder Jelle van der Zwet told Business Insider.
Let’s be clear here: Opposuits’ offerings are not for nine-to-five weekday warriors. And van der Zwet makes no bones about it.
“People are not working our stuff to work,” he clarifies, adding that it’s for those “who don’t take themselves too seriously” yet “want to maintain a sense of style when they go to a party.”
But the business behind it is no laughing matter. The dutch company behind it says it sells hundreds of thousands of suits a year, with growth doubling year over year. Each ensemble, which includes the jacket, pants, and tie all in the same pattern, retails for $US99.
It all started in 2010 when three friends from the Netherlands backpacking through Vietnam got the idea to create bright orange suits for a Dutch holiday, King’s Day. But it took until 2012 for the idea to fully manifest. They created 2,000 of the orange suits before the 2012 UEFA European Championship football (soccer) competition, which sold out in two weeks.
Looking to the UK and the 2012 Olympics in London, Opposuits went international for the first time. With different styles, like one with a Union Jack flag print, the suits made a similar splash.
A year and a half later, Opposuits expanded to America, which has since become its largest market in terms of revenue and product sold. The company now sells virtually worldwide, with distribution centres in the Netherlands, UK, Canada, US, and Australia.
“We knew that we had a very universal and international type of potential with the product that we were [selling],” van der Zwet said.
“Organically the message and brand spreads itself very quickly because once someone has seen at a certain event or festival it’s such a conversation starter that people would know about it right away,” van der Zwet said.
He said that wears of the suits get so much attention, they stick business cards advertising the company in the pockets of the suits before shipping them to customers, amping up the word-of-mouth effect.
Opposuits’s offerings are both seasonal and evergreen, and it sells “ugly Christmas suits” in department stores during the holiday season, and Halloween-themed costume stores in the Fall.
It expanded its offerings with licenses such as Star Wars, and soon Marvel superhero characters, which is an important distinction between Opposuits and the companies that have sprung up to imitate it.
Off the back of the success of the men’s line, Opposuits also launched a women’s line last year. A line of suits designed to fit children is forthcoming this year, which van der Zwet said he sees as another “wow moment” for the company.
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