When you think of shopping at a Goodwill store, you probably don't think of one-of-a-kind designer clothing. That's going to change starting today, thanks to Nick Graham, founder of men's-underwear company Joe Boxer and of the brand-development firm 100 Minute Company. Graham has teamed up with Goodwill to create William Good, a new fashion line made entirely from the stuff in the stores' discard bins.
Here's the deal: after 30 days on the selling floor, clothes that haven't sold get discarded. That's where Graham's team of five designers step in, cutting, sewing, patching, and altering to create trendy "refashioned" clothing. (And yes, the clothes are cleaned first.)
I've seen only a small sampling of the clothes (including an amusing Björk-like swan dress), but my feelings about the name are unequivocal: I love it. It's brilliant in its simplicity--an inversion of "Goodwill" with an upgrade of "Will" to "William"--and the perfect Goodwill brand extension. Graham told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter that he came up with the name "within a block" of driving past the Goodwill store in San Rafael.
William Good fits nicely into the Nick Graham portfolio, too. Like Joe Boxer, which Graham sold in 2005 to Iconix Brand Group, the name sounds human, unpretentious, and classic ... with a wink.
And in a brilliant stroke of timing, William Good makes its debut less than 24 hours after the return to the airwaves of Project Runway, in which fledgling fashion designers turn random items from dumps, supermarkets, and recycling centers into haute couture.
William Good clothes go on sale today in the San Francisco Goodwill shop on Fillmore and Post, at prices between $15 and $300--steep for Goodwill, but "a steal," says Graham, for one-of-a-kind designs. The William Good store-in-a-store features recycled decor: the floor is covered in old vinyl records, the racks are made of books. The goal is to go nationwide, then worldwide--and redeem 75 percent of the items that would otherwise end up in a landfill. (Goodwill receives 23 million pounds of clothing each year.)
If you're not in the Bay Area, you can shop William Good online (with links to an eBay store).