Grayson Debuts as the More Affordable Sibling of Premium Shirting Brand Frank & Eileen
Upon the 10-year anniversary of her premium-shirting brand Frank & Eileen, Audrey McLoghlin wanted to create a new product exclusively for women who work hard for luxurious products but might not be able to spend $250 for a single shirt.
“As I was growing the company and looking around at the everyday women who are conquering the world in different ways, it was frustrating that I couldn’t make a product for them,” she said.
When McLoghlin launched Frank & Eileen, her Los Angeles brand of luxury button-up shirts in 2009, it was always a family affair. McLoghlin, an industrial-engineering graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology, named the line of men’s and women’s dress shirts after her grandparents.
“Everything was centered around building this really exclusive product for a really exclusive customer,” she explained about her luxury brand of button-up shirts. “We’ve been so fortunate to have amazing superfans who are style icons like Meghan Markle, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia.”
Five years after founding her brand, McLoghlin began courting an Italian family in Mexico whose business focused on creating men’s button-up shirts. The result of this collaboration is Grayson, a brand of women’s button-up shirts named for McLoghlin’s 3-year-old daughter.
For its launch on March 14, Grayson introduced a single cut called Hero in an array of colors and patterns retailing for $128 to $138. Throughout the year, every month, the brand will launch a new shirt capsule in designs and fabrics that tell a different story based on seasonal trends.
“We launched with our first fabric called ‘washed cotton.’ It’s an incredibly beautiful soft cotton with a bit of subtle texture. It’s a year-round fabric and comes in a color story of mélange gray, French blue, pink and white,” McLoghlin said. “There will be 15 different SKUs in that first delivery with a selection of stripes, plaids, solids and prints.”
For the month of April, Grayson will offer its tumbled linen as a solution for women who would like to wear the material but don’t want to deal with the trouble of working with its temperamental nature.
“They want to love it, but they don’t know how to wear it and it’s historically so stiff—they’re worried that it will get wrinkled,” McLoghlin explained. “We developed this really gorgeous tumbled linen and it comes already scrumptious and delicious and wrinkled. That will be in a whole color story of solids, stripes, prints and plaids.”
Progressing through the seasons, the brand will offer a summer fabric in tissue cotton followed by more autumn-appropriate fabrics such as a feathered flannel. In addition to providing quality button-up shirting at a more affordable price, the Grayson brand was created to help women overcome their issues with standard sizing.
Working with 30 different fit models, McLoghlin developed millions of prototypes, finally creating the Hero cut. This single silhouette complements many different female body shapes, regardless of a woman’s height or build. Part of the issue when fitting women into the appropriate shirt measurement, according to McLoghlin, is that they don’t know their real size.
“We would put all of their measurements into a chart and ask, ‘What size do you identify with?’” she said. “Up to 70 percent of the time, the size they identified with did not match their measurements. Because of the overuse of the universal-size scale, people don’t know what small means, they don’t know what medium means, and we were setting ourselves up for failure.”
To dispel this confusion, Grayson relies on its own sizing scale of 01 to 05. As the brand grows, additional sizes will be added according to the Grayson formula.
“Inside each garment, the full-size scale is inside, so it says 01, 02, all the way to 05,” McLoghlin said. “If you’re petite, you’re going to be on the low end. If you’re really tall or a bigger woman you’re going to be on the other end. It also gives us flexibility; as the brand grows, we can add either smaller sizes or larger sizes and not break the size scale.”
Through combining a direct-to-consumer business model with a small selection of retail partners, Grayson sets apart its brand from competitors’. By offering exclusive designs through collaborations with Anthropologie and Nordstrom, McLoghlin is offering shirts that follow the Grayson formula of femininity coupled with strength and will appeal to the consumer whose style is represented at those retailers.
“It has to be flattering,” she said. “You want to show enough of your collarbone, where it’s very feminine, and you want it to open up, but there has to be enough room where it’s not pulling.”
Retail partners who carry the line agree, and, at Anthropologie, the company believes that Grayson’s female leadership brings a unique understanding of its customers’ needs and lifestyle.
“As a female-led company, Grayson understands that women lead busy lives,” said Kyle Heady, Anthropologie’s divisional merchandise manager. “The Hero button-up is the ideal wardrobe staple for our customers—they’re moms, they work, they travel—who covet pieces that effortlessly serve a wide range of occasions and events.”
For more information or for direct-to-consumer purchases, visit www.grayson.com.