Closet Encounters

New website offers men fashion advice and where to find cool clothes

New website offers men fashion advice and where to find cool clothes

Backpack on Need
Need's November line-up includes a wool shirt by Jiberish and a backpack by Fjällräven. Photo courtesy of Need
Matt Alexander, founder of Need
Site founder Matt Alexander wants to give men a good read while upgrading their wardrobe.  Photo courtesy of Need
Boots on Need
The round toe boot from Red Wing is November's shoe of choice.  Photo courtesy of Need
Backpack on Need
Matt Alexander, founder of Need
Boots on Need

A new Texas-based website hopes to give men updated closets one month at a time, while also providing engaging long-form content and fashion advice. Need, which launched earlier this month, offers a monthly season-appropriate wardrobe designed to give men a bit of style for their daily lives.

“We’re looking for the type of guy in his late 20s, 30s, and early 40s that’s beginning to become invested in dressing well,” site founder Matt Alexander says. “They’re interested in quality and looking respectful rather than just going into a shop blindly and buying a shirt.”

The site only offers one type of shirt, jacket, shoe, etc. per month, specializing in hard-to-find-online, high-quality clothes that are perfect for Texas seasons. The November line-up includes a heavy wool shirt from Denver-based Jiberish and a weekender coat by Filson.

 “The site is for a guy that cares about looking good but is also willing to open up to advice,” says founder Matt Alexander.

“The site is for a guy that cares about looking good but is also willing to open up to advice,” says Alexander, who operates the site from Dallas.

Although there are several e-commerce sites like Gilt and JackThreads out there, Alexander says that Need is different because it eschews fire sales for up-to-date fashions that come only once a month. The curated collection features higher-end brands.

“JackThreads and Gilt, they sell different stuff every day,” Alexander says. “It’s usually discounted stuff from last season, and that’s not to say it’s bad — I love it — but we’re fundamentally different. We’re providing new products that you can’t really find online.”

Alexander says he first got the idea for Need in December 2012 when he was hired to work for a menswear company. He had been interested in fashion before, but this was his first foray into the business side. He came away thinking he could do a better job.

“I was in London at the time [that I thought of Need],” he says. “I came back to Dallas and was having dinner with a friend, who is now the company’s lawyer, and he convinced me to pitch the idea in Dallas. He said we’d be funded in 30 days.”

Alexander thought about it for most of January before deciding to pitch the idea to some potential investors in February 2013. Need received funding to move forward within the month.

But Need isn’t just about the clothes. The publication component, Imprint, will feature writers and photographers to answer men’s fashion questions. Alexander plans to publish several new articles and photo essays each day. One of the first will be a piece by a couple of National Geographic contributors about riding motorcycles across the country.

“I’ve run several online publications,” he says, “and through that world I’ve had this very solid belief that people, particularly men, respond really well to finding out why things are the way they are — what makes them relevant or interesting.”

He says that online content has become too trite and often exists only to drive sales. He envisions Imprint as a complement to Need’s clothing selection, a way to keep users interested in the site even after the clothes are sold out for the month.

“We’re looking at really interesting articles that you wouldn’t otherwise find unless you were reading more traditional print magazines,” Alexander says. “It won’t be lists and slideshows.”

To add to the ambition, Alexander says that Need will eventually spread to other cities — he's looking at New York, London and San Francisco — for a localized aspect so that the clothes are appropriate for the climate. Imprint will also feature video to complement the original writing and photography.

It’s still early, but Alexander hopes to begin branching out in early to mid-2014.

“There’s no huge science to it,” he says. “In essence, we’re really focused on just making sure that we perform well and we offer something really useful right now. The initial response has been far better than we could’ve hoped for. We’re in a good position right now.”