• Fan Bi

Mott and Bow –Your Latest Source of Jeans and Tees

A line of elevated basics. We’re clearly in the midst of a minimalist movement here, and we're not complaining. Mott and Bow is a newer brand that focuses on the most basic of the basics--jeans and tees.

Mott and Bow’s take on closet standbys are less minimalist-trendy and geared more toward guys and gals looking for clothes that they can wear multiple times a week and still look stylish.

About the Brand

Founded by NYC-based denim maker, Alejandro Chenin, the line reflects his love of all things "premium." Chenin comes from a fashion pedigree--his family runs Intermoda in Honduras--but has an engineering background. Today, he makes jeans.

Chenin set out to create a reasonably priced selection of good denim that's never stiff or uncomfortable like other brands. Like many competing brands, Mott and Bow pass their savings onto the customer by working directly with suppliers and ditching the middleman.

It’s Mostly a Jeans Scene

A pair of jeans, for the record, rings in at about $120, give or take. Which is more than a pair of Levis or jeans from the Gap, yet we're not quite in premium denim territory.

The company is an online retailer in the current sense of the meaning. They address that element missing from most e-commerce experiences—trying on more than one size. Instead, the company lets you send back the ones that don’t work for free—so you’re not paying for two pairs of pants with the intention of securing a refund down the road.

The reason they do this is, being a direct-to-consumer brand, they’ve opted to focus their efforts on convenience—aiming to bring the dressing room into your bedroom. Jeans are notoriously tricky—with their vanity sizing, varying stretch levels, and so on—especially if you’re ordering from a new brand.

Oxfords and Tees

The website not only sells jeans and tees, but oxfords, too. The button-downs come in seven colors and are made from Italian cotton.

While the denim seems—fine, the oxfords may well be Mott & Bow’s secret weapon. Button-downs come in seven different colors, and you can choose from a spread collar or a traditional depending on your preference.

As far as tees go—we weren’t as impressed. Shirts come in a grey scale ranging from white to black, and cost consumers $32 a pop. Not prohibitively expensive, but reviews suggested there were some issues with the brand's fit. For example, some shirts were longer than average. On some of the t-shirt styles, several men complained that the neck was a little loose. Maybe that means the brand is a boon for the thick-necked muscle-bound dudes among us, but we saw this complaint several times on the site.

But, Not Everyone Is Stoked on the Brand

Across the web—people have mentioned that they love the fact that Mott and Bow makes it easy to try on clothes and send them back—a la Warby Parker, Stitchfix, and others in the direct-to-consumer/subscription business.

Still, we found many people who were not happy with the jeans’ quality—stating that while the pricing wasn’t crazy, the assumption that they were any better than your average Levi’s or Banana Republic jeans wasn’t entirely grounded in reality.

While the washes looked pretty nice—we found the medium wash was a particularly attractive indigo blue, and the black jeans appeared as inky and sleek as ever. But, customers mentioned the stitching was nothing to write home about, and the quality didn't reflect the affordable luxury the founders tout as a selling point.

The brand has received an F rating from the Better Business Bureau—which, of course, is terrible (though the organization isn’t exactly the trustworthy advocate of consumer rights). Comments on the BBB site mention that there were issues with the return policy. One guy mentioned that he returned a pair of jeans that did not fit and the company accused him of damaging the pants. Others said they experienced late orders and slow response times on the part of customer service.

What's the Verdict?

We've seen other online fashion brands fail at the customer service aspect of doing business--and it could be a result of scaling too fast with a small staff. We like the idea that these jeans fall in that sweet spot, price-wise.

Because Mott and Bow "bypass the middleman" like so many other companies, they're claiming disruptor status. Rather should just be what businesses look like in this day and age.

Brands must still provide a predictable shipping schedule and a clear return policy.

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