Two corporate defectors and college pals, Geoff Argue and Tom Severini, recently launched Batch Men’s to offer an alternative to men’s dress shirts that did not necessarily need a matching tie. Their direct-to-consumer, online-only label has since found a fan base thanks to its signature collar: one that gives a pop of color without the need of said additional accessory.
The shirts, which span dress, casual, and utility and cost less than $100, are also produced in small batches. Hence the name.
The Florida-residing pair recently gave me the story behind their burgeoning brand, which they want to expand into a full-on menswear collection in the future.
How did Batch Men’s come about?
Geoff: We started the brand officially in February but I had started about a year before starting to develop the shirts with a partner in India that exclusively produces for us. We started with shirts because that seemed to be an untapped area of the menswear market and that was something that was a passion of mine. Tom and I went to Parsons together back in 2002. I did womenswear ever since then and Tom did marketing. Now just seemed like the right time to do it.
Geoff: Experience. We both wanted to sharpen our teeth and get some real-life experience and understand different parts of our industry before we took on the challenge. Now also seems like an absolute phenomenal time for menswear. I think there’s a huge change happening – a happening is in the air and I’m sure you feel it… I mean, guys are ten times as much responsive to newness and excitement and fashion in general.
What is the newness with the brand?
Geoff: We started off a little bit quiet with our collar detail, our iconic collar detail. That was an initial design that we did. I wore it a lot in to my corporate design job got a lot of great feedback. I just created it as an alternative to what I was wearing at the time. The detail is just a very contrast collar at the top of the collar edge and the reason for it is that I haven’t worn a tie in years. I would wear one kind of haphazardly to presentations but not because I ever had to but just because I wanted to as a fashion statement for my job. But Tom and I wore them off and on so we both had to in our creative field did not mean to wear a tie but guys need a little bit of a pop or an interest. That is what the tie had always created for guys. This was that little subtle little pop or subtle little interest. Whenever we wear the shirts or whenever our customers wear the shirts they get endless amount of compliments on this little tiny detail. And it’s the weirdest thing and it seems silly but I don’t think a lot of guys are in it for the compliments but it’s a huge side benefit that we never saw coming. I’ll walk through the supermarket and a random guy will ask where I got it from. It’s a weird thing and we really don’t know how to take it.
Tom: I am a creative as well and I did wear a tie because I like to dress up a bit and I’d usually have it slightly undone and I’d wear it with jeans and I wish I had this type of shirt back then because it was something that I didn’t have to wear. I was in a creative department with developers and I did not have to wear a tie but it added a nice little detail
What are your bestsellers?
Geoff: Our bestseller is definitely our white shirt with the navy contrast at the collar. That seems to be a real everyman piece. Then it trickles through the other colors depending on how conservative or fashion the guy wants to be. And we have run quite a few prints over the course of our company already so the larger polka dots have been great sellers for us. And then just recently we just launched this new Utility line that we call Luxtility that we call “luxury utility” that we think is a huge trend for men going forward for the next ten years. We’ve only had that for just over a month.
Who is your customer?
Geoff: The Batch customer is really a creative professional – aomebody who values creativity and the fine details. There’s the whole trend of going back to the craft and caring about the product more than fast fashion and mass production.
How often do you release new merchandise?
Geoff: That’s a big part of the Batch concept. We don’t build collections a year in advance. We release product probably every two weeks. Sometimes every week. It just depends. I did corporate life for years and years and the whole point is: What’s great? What is phenomenal? What do we want to create? If it takes a month to create then we will do that. If it takes two weeks, then we will do that. It’s just this constant evolution and it’s so refreshing. We get so much more immediate feedback and just to create based on what we think the way things are going.
What’s the fit of your shirts?
Tom: We are a fashion brand so we don’t fit everybody but the people we fit seem to be over the moon because finally they have a better fit. We try to fit the clothes a little more specifically that everyday run of the mill.
Why should a reader of The Manual buy your shirts?
Geoff: We think our shirts give our clients a different experience from the one they have normally had. The slightly more specific fit helps with that and the design. That’s one side of it but the other side that we don’t talk about much is that we do very, very limited production and when we sell out we usually stop unless it’s something that we think is a huge classic so our prints disappear when we are done with them. The fact that you will never see another person wearing the same shirt we like to take to heart. We’re going to create stuff and then we are going to move on.