ISTO: A Background Story
In many ways, the origin story of ISTO is similar to that of a lot of brands. Particularly within fashion, there is a longstanding frustration with modern trends. That is, it isn’t about the runways or the stuffiness of it all. What so many younger, less cynical designers have an issue with is how high fashion affects the consumer.
As an industry, fashion has exploded from a necessity and commodity into what it is today. High fashion is, in its own way, a commentary on what a section of people can cope with. Whether it’s the pricing or the quality, the industry represents what consumers are willing to live with.
ISTO’s brand story begins with a popular frustration with this model of fashion. Constantly depending on new talent, fashion has plenty of fresh faces that hate how things are being done.
And yet, a small brand that focuses on essentials is attempting to lead the conversation from their corner of the world. How? Simply put, they are among a few brands that are doing something about the problem.
Frustration is funny like that. It is an emotion that feeds on itself, encouraging you to sit and seethe rather than act. It’s an easy decision to make. Why do anything about a frustration you have when you can just sit around and wallow? As it turns out, that’s a pretty big ask of the ISTO founders – Pedro Gaspar, Vasco Mendonça, and Pedro Palha.
ISTO is a brand that is based on the core principles of ethical fashion: quality and transparency. They exist as the antithetical response to all things modern high fashion. No extended streams of distribution, no sacrificing quality for sales, no opaque and crazy pricing. ISTO is, from its founding to its bright years ahead, resistant to everything that turns buying clothes into consumer churn.
At the heart of this overall mission is the brand’s focus on their customers. Their ethical approach is equal parts personal conviction and understanding the changing modern fashion consumer.
Industry reports have largely suggested that there is renewed focus on the ethical standing on fashion brands. Consumers aren’t simply buying on name recognition alone. There is a growing, vocal section of the global fashion buyer base that demands more ethical approaches.
ISTO is, again, a direct response. Their purpose is intuitive as well, seeing as how they are motivated by providing the best to their customers, minus the shady manufacturing and exorbitant pricing.
The result has been an impressive collection of durable essentials. The tees and button-downs all come in cosy cuts of the finest cotton. The work jacket is particularly noteworthy. Each item even has a breakdown of its “true cost,” or how much money it actually took to put it together.
Putting the efforts forward and acting on their frustration with fashion, ISTO is about active change. They are also anchored by a strong sense of honest connection with their consumers. Their entire mission statement, elegantly put: “No bullshit.”