Since its launch in 2016, workwear label Argent has been riding a few waves that have helped propel the brand's momentum, thanks to a few high-profile co-signs. There was Hilary Rodham Clinton, who stepped on stage wearing Argent at Planned Parenthood's 100th Anniversary Gala in New York City in 2017, as well as Arianna Huffington, who plugged the brand during a conference where she was the keynote speaker. "She was pitching Argent to an audience of about 5,000 women. She literally was spelling out our website to these women," recalls CEO and founder Sali Christeson, whose career background falls mostly within finance and tech in Silicon Valley. Argent's list goes on: Gloria Steinem, Huma Abedin and Kamala Harris have also worn the brand.
The success so far has allowed Christeson to evolve Argent, whether that's through a slight makeover in branding or shifting its inventory's focus. Though the direct-to-consumer brand originally launched with a majority of its collection in neutrals, its customer had a "huge appetite for color," says Christeson. As a result, she and her team have adapted by "really pushing the boundaries on color in a way that you haven't seen in this space." Most recently, Argent received a $4 million investment from venture capital firm Founder Fund, which boasts a portfolio of major tech companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Lyft, Spotify and SpaceX.
Christeson has also been able to pinpoint Argent's brand signatures over the years, including a jumpsuit that's actually two pieces and features a tuckable zipper in the back, so the wearer doesn't have to remove the entire garment to use the bathroom. "That's become pretty iconic," adds Christeson. "Amy Poehler actually just wore it on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers.'" Microfiber is placed within the exterior pockets of Argent's jackets, so there's a proper wipe handy to clean a pair of glasses or an iPhone screen. Plus, the sleeves of blouses and blazers include a band that helps with easy styling. "You don't have to mess with the fussiness rolling of your sleeve and having it fall down," explains Christeson.
It's this acute attention to functionality that makes Argent so appealing to its core customer: an ambitious woman at the peak of her professional career. "I've had a really tight view on what our ultimate goal is from day one and that hasn't changed," says Christeson. "We were really clear about why we're doing this, which is much larger than simply offering a product. It's about giving women the confidence and tools to help optimally navigate their career. Now we know how to roll that out in a more programmatic way, and make it more scalable to impact more careers."
While Argent has dabbled in experiential marketing for it customers through pop-ups and special events, the company will officially expand into brick-and-mortar with the opening of its New York City flagship in Soho. The new space will feature a private co-working and networking area (for private meetings, phone calls or simply a Wi-Fi connection to send some emails), as well as host career-focused workshops, from speed negotiating training to financial literacy planning. In the future, Christeson plans to expand Argent's retail locations with more pop-ups that follow the format of its first permanent store.
The decision to expand Argent's physical retail footprint makes sense. Across the industry, designers are tapping into the rising work wardrobe trend, providing capsule collections and special suiting ranges specifically for the nine-to-five lifestyle. And while this timing is perfect for Christeson, she knows that once the trend pendulum swings towards another aesthetic, the workwear customer — and Argent, too — will still remain. "The difference is that we have a brand on top of that, and consumption happens when someone views a brand as their friend, and their values are aligned," says Christeson. "It generates a lot of loyalty, and so that's where I feel we're really capturing who we want, and really resonating across a very broad demographic."
Homepage image: Argent store in New York City. Photo: Andrew Frasz/Argent