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Saturday 18 November 2017

The Weekly Read: Students see gap in the market, launch clothing company

Gary Grimes sat down with the brain child behind the brand Feature Clothing

Gary Grimes

When I sat down with Kev Kremers, designer for Dublin based clothing company Feature Clothing, he mentioned that their hoodies are made from 320gsm fabric, which he later translated for me as meaning they are “really f***ing warm hoodies”.

Feature Clothing was established in 2013 after Kremers and the company’s two other co-founders, Ciaran Martin and Bren O’Friel, became involved with DCU Snowsports.

When they looked into ordering customized clothing for their members, they found it difficult to find a service in Ireland that allowed them to customise good quality clothing with their logo.

“It was mostly just hoodies with cheap print on them and there was very little customisation offered.”

This gave the boys the idea to fill this gap in the market and so Feature Clothing was born.

The company has evolved impressively since this original incarnation largely due to the funding the boys received from the uStart programme, which aims to help launch student run companies by providing them with money and office space.

In the last two years they have branched into producing their own original designs which they sell online from their website, as well as being stocked in a number of local retail outlets, including Temple Bar’s uber trendy menswear store Indigo & Cloth. And it’s not just hoodies anymore either, they also have a line of t-shirts, beanies and bamboo sunglasses, all emblazoned with their signature Feature logo.

The logo, which Kremers explains to me is essentially just his own handwriting put through Photoshop, has played a huge part in helping to build Feature’s brand identity.

The Feature aesthetic is typically very minimal, usually plain with their graffiti style logo emblazoned across the front, drawing comparisons to larger scale clothing brands popular in the skating community such as OBEY and Supreme.

The similarity to these brands was not the result of a conscious decision says Kremers.

“In terms of the minimal design, with Feature the focus has always been on the quality of the stuff. We’re proud to say that our stuff, the hoodies in particular, is some of the best quality stuff you can buy, never mind get customised.”

He goes on to explain how this lead to the company’s simple, minimalist designs. ”I think that when you have really loud prints and make the product very busy it can sometimes what take away from the garment, which is why we’ve always agreed that less is more in terms of our design.”

When asked who he believes to be the stereotypical Feature customer, Kremers would admit that, similarly to brands like OBEY, that it’s largely skaters.

“Skaters around Dublin love the stuff, number one for its functionality but also for the style.

"I know from skating for years myself that you might sometimes see those kind of guys to huge Hawaiian print shirts or loud prints which is funny for a gag but for the most part they’re most comfortable in just a plain white t-shirt and a hoodie with a nice print.”

Not to limit Feature’s appeal, he also goes on to mention that he doesn’t believe it would look so out of place to see a big rugby player wearing a Feature hoodie.

What does the future hold for Feature?

For the moment, Kremers believes they have probably achieved all that they can for as long as all three of the boys are still in college because the company requires so much of their time in order for them to do things how they want.

After college, he tells me they have no specific end goal in sight, preferring instead to just take things in their stride, jumping at any opportunities that come their way.

They recently received orders from outside of Ireland, an exciting new step for the company.

Furthermore, he mentions that Feature may well act as a stepping-stone for him as a designer, independent of the company.

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