All-gender brand ClHu attempts to make fashion for a new generation

Since its debut, 15% of the company revenue comes from returning customers.
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· 3 min read

Apparel industry veteran Maria Borromeo describes her teenage daughter as someone who “has always pushed back on societally-imposed gender norms.” Borromeo—who’s held leadership positions at Alexander McQueen, Thakoon, and most recently as the president and CEO of Hudson Jeans—wanted to create a brand that could cater to those like her daughter, who identifies as gender non-conforming.

“Everything was extremely binary—for children, especially—and then when she got to the preteen and teenage years, it became very difficult when her body started to change,” Borromeo told Retail Brew. “This was very much in response to that need.”

In March, Borromeo started Clothing for Humans—or ClHu (pronounced “Clue”), which is an online, all-gender clothing brand with the mission of serving those who don’t fall into the gender binary or subscribe to traditional size schemes.

Hot start: In the five months since the company’s debut, Borromeo said ClHu has seen virtually no clothing returns. In fact, the first return came at the tail end of June. Also, 15% of company revenue, which Borromeo declined to disclose, has come from repeat customers.

ClHu has a color-coded sizing system based on how customers want the item to fit rather than the size they think they’re supposed to be. There are seven sizes that range from yellow as the smallest, to orange as the largest, and shoppers “dial up the sizing according to how [they] want it to fit [their] body,” Borromeo said.

  • There are no fixed waist bands on the pants (which start at $95), as they’re all adjusted with either a bungee cord or tab closures.
  • On its site, ClHu provides a corresponding sizing chart that follows traditional size schemes.
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“We’re catering to a demographic, Gen Z, that spans between the ages of 10 and 25,” she said. “Your body is changing greatly during that time, so we needed something that was going to span older youth, all the way up through an adult size scheme.”

Slow burn: Like many apparel brands these days, ClHu’s also using a resale strategy. The company has built-in QR-code technology that embeds a digital ID in each piece of clothing for customers to add personalized content for eventual buyers to see before purchasing.

  • The brand has 28 SKUs and only plans on releasing another 10. Borromeo isn’t keen on expanding the selection too much unless “the market is ready for it.”

“It is part of our brand ethos to encourage more conscious consumption,” she said. “I’m not just going to start to pump out new stuff.”

The big picture: ClHu is far from the first brand to tap into this market. Pacsun introduced a dedicated gender-neutral collection for adults and kids, and last year, Abercrombie & Fitch brand Gilly Hicks revamped its offerings with a gender-inclusive line.

But Borromeo believes many companies are addressing gender-neutral clothing with products that “feel really oversized or feel very masculine,” which ClHu, she said, looks to avoid.

“In my personal situation with my daughter, finding sweats was never an issue. It was really finding clothes that you could be doing other things, like going to dinner, pants that she could wear to school—things that were not just athletic or leaning masculine in nature.”—KM

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