Affordable Line to Love: Oak73

This line is so new, it’s still brushing fashion eggshell off its shoulders. If you’re into American-made, ethically sourced clothing that doesn’t compete with your mortgage when it comes to price, Oak73 is going to be your next favorite shop for Spring 2014. Started by all-around designer, Matthew Dunne, with the intention of creating a brand that people could really access. By that, I mean a ready-to-wear fashion line that people could not only afford, but feel good about wearing.

Oak73’s Ethical Prowess

American-made, and frequently using surplus or “remnant” designer fabrics, Oak73 creates limited edition batches of clothing in a factory that is actually close to its New York design studio. Dunne cares about the 6 million American manufacturing jobs that have been lost due to cheaper labor overseas. Not sure why we should keep manufacturing jobs in America? Here are 55 reasons you should buy US-made. Some noteworthy reasons include:

  • We aren’t doing great when it comes to trade balance, in fact, we’re doing worse than pretty much everyone on Earth.
  • During 2010 alone, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities permanently shut down in the United States every single day.
  • The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

So that’s that. 

The Oak73 Design Aesthetic

But this is more than just a bunch of ethically sourced fabrics made into US-born clothing… I said above that Matthew Dunne was a designer, and I wasn’t exaggerating. Oak73 Blue Primrose Dress

Oak73 Blue Cotton Primrose Full Skirt Dress

After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago, Dunne went on to study fashion design and provide service at Ralph Lauren, Isaac Mizrahi, J. Mendel, The Row, Michael Kors and Carolina Herrera, to name a few… He even worked with C. Wonder in a design capacity, and if you love that store as much as I do, you know that Matthew Dunne and Oak73 hold serious promise with that kind of resumé.

Oak73 Ikat Floral Suit Blazer

Oak73 Ikat Flower Blazer

There’s a common thread between all of the designers that Matthew Dunne has worked for, and that common thread is used in perfect tailoring. A bit preppy, a bit basic, but completely wearable and usually timeless. These are all qualities of Dunne’s debut Oak73 Spring 2014 line. The collection includes bright colors, florals, and textured pieces in shapes that can be worn year after year. I’m talking about silk and cotton skater dresses, versatile skirts with pockets (!), and fitted pants in denim and exciting prints!

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Oak73 Blue Paisley Midrise Pants

Oak73 Midrise Blue Paisley Skinny Jeans

The Price Point

Yes, about the price

Their clothes are definitely runway-quality, but remember Matthew Dunne and Oak73’s mission: accessibility. Ethically-sourced, independently designed, moment-worthy clothing typically has an ex$pensive reputation, but Oak73 has built affordability into its business place since Day 1.

By selling exclusively online, Oak73 doesn’t have to worry about things like retail markup or middlemen. They sell straight to you, which brings the price down about 25%. On top of that, they don’t have a brick & mortar store anywhere, which brings operation costs way, way down. That’s even more savings for you. Lastly, the freakin’ goal is for you to be able to buy it!

So Oak73’s garments, as new, high-quality and fashionable as they are, range from $25-$290. The top of that spectrum is just out of my personal ballpark, but the bottom is nice & comfy… And I’m not sure I’d pass up an opportunity to get an ethically-produced, beautiful, silk skater dress in my closet for $140, you know what I mean?

Check out Oak73’s debut Spring 2014 offerings on their site, Oak73.com.

Also, check out their blog (which includes an awesome regular feature called the “Made in America Series”), Stars & Stripes!

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.