If there’s one lesson to be derived from the pandemic, it’s the beauty of slowing down. Such is the premise of Unsubscribed, a new conscious fashion concept from American Eagle that unites a sustainable in-house label with vintage and must-haves from third-party brands. Unsubscribed’s premier retail space in East Hampton is a newfound treasure for shoppers looking for pieces they can believe in. Andrew Jagaric, senior vice president of design for Aerie, Off line, and Unsubscribed, gives us the lowdown.
Tell us about the background of Unsubscribed, which launched in 2020.
We’d been working on the brand for about a year before it opened last June. East Hampton was our first retail store, followed by Westport, Connecticut. The concept was to create stores that each felt unique. We were excited about channeling the beachy yet luxe feeling and vibe of the Hamptons with this store.
What’s it like inside?
It’s relaxed and natural. There’s an environmentally conscious environment in the store, from the fixtures to the reclaimed wood and antique rugs. We’re also doing VIP delivery service Out East. I adore the store! I spent so much time there last year, and it just makes me feel so good. It’s so wholesome and has a barefoot but luxurious environment—it’s very welcoming.
What about the store in Westport?
We opened that store in April, and it has a different feel, which was our idea from the beginning. It’s more like an open art gallery. We’re excited to be supporting a local artist, Tom O’Neill, with a curated display that will act as a point of interest and commerce. Both stores have a Workspace station in the back with an embroidery machine. Someone is always there to personalize pieces with messages, initials, or symbols. It’s great for gifts and was very busy for the holidays!
As a brand, what is Unsubscribed all about?
It’s kind, conscious, and free-spirited. When we were conceptualizing this brand, we thought a lot about slow fashion and sustainability, and creating an environment that’s the opposite of what has become the norm. I mean, the name says it all! Slow down, take a break! The name captures everything we do, the way we operate, and the store design. And even our product design, marketing, and packaging. We design two seasons a year, which is different from our other brands. When we design, we think about the product. We only want to create product that means something. We believe less is more, so we design less and we’re smarter about what we design.
What’s your favorite part about working in this more measured way?
I think it’s more modern. It’s the future way of working. It’s leading the way, and it’s incredibly positive to be a part of that effort. Everything in the store, we think hard about it and how we can do things better, what’s sustainable, what’s recyclable. We also have vintage in the stores. I love that aspect of it.
What can you tell us about the Summer ’21 collection?
Spring/Summer ’21 was designed about a year ago. It was designed during the pandemic, when we were dreaming about travel and thinking about where we are going, so it’s very much inspired by that! There’s also some Western elements and Safari-inspired pieces, like rompers and jumpsuits. It’s grounded in earthy neutrals, whites, and all the warm tones, as well as a couple of yellows and lilacs. The collection itself is conscious, luxe, and casual. We’re so excited about dressing up again. We love our dresses, and they are slowly becoming a key part of this brand, so we’re paying a lot of attention to that and thinking how we update them. In the store, I think it’s a nice balance of knits, wovens, our own product, vintage, and products from third-party retailers. It always makes for an incredibly cool and unique outfit in the end, with the mix of product we design and some vintage.
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What other brands are stocked at Unsubscribed stores?
We carry brands that share our vision and ones that blend together into the store seamlessly. For example, [Liya Kebede’s line] lemlem fits into the store so beautifully with its sustainable swim and cover-ups. We also have Veja, the environmentally conscious footwear, and amazing jewelry from both Melissa Joy Manning and Bleecker & Prince. Vintage denim is also huge for us and an important aspect of the store.
Is there anything the team is seeing particular interest in right now?
Earthy tones will continue into next year. I think all of these environmentally friendly recycled yarns will continue to be an important part of our brand. The overarching trend is about comfort, but approached in a way where it looks chic and is easy to wear and maintain. You want to be able to move in your pieces. We design with that comfort in mind, but making sure the quality is always there, too.
After a year in business, who do you think the Unsubscribed customer is?
I think she’s getting the vibe of who we are. She’s kind to the environment and conscious. I’m hoping that these aspects of what we do are what she agrees with and is aligned with. As for fashion elements, we’re always about fun and we know she loves trends, but also mixing vintage with the new. Because we’re designing pieces that are more timeless, we approach trends but they’re not necessarily fast trends. We only have two stores, so we’re still very much learning, but so far we’ve had great success with both.
What lessons do you think shoppers are taking away after the pandemic?
People are craving being outside, touching the product, and getting dressed up. I think it’s amazing that we’re ready for them. I’m sure that they’re prioritizing what’s important and thinking more about the environment—and our philosophy lines up with that. The community aspect is very important to us.
Are you able to spend much time Out East yourself?
I’m obsessed with product in general, so I spent a lot of time in East Hampton this year. I live in Greenwich, so I’ve been going to the Westport store often. I love, love, love learning about our customer, who she is, and what we can do better. It’s a great way for me to understand who she is and what we need to think about.