Early Majority might be the world’s first fashion degrowth company, meaning it eschews excessive and rapid production (which the industry is prone to do despite how garments generate an estimated 92 million metric tons of waste per year). Rather, the Paris-based outdoor clothing brand prioritizes the quality and sustainability that comes from making less by leveraging a membership model to maintain a viable business while championing their multifunctional, closed-loop technical line. Launching their latest collection of high-quality performance-wear, the Snow:Cycle Capsule, Early Majority radically rethinks the structure of the fashion industry and how it intersects with active apparel.
When the company was first conceived before its launch in 2021, it wasn’t with the intention of necessarily inverting the industry. For founder and CEO Joy Howard (former CMO of Sonos and Vice President of Global Marketing at Patagonia), the brand came from the dearth of functional gear for women. “It’s born out of a frustration with existing outdoor gear. There were two frustrations that I had. The first frustration was that the men’s stuff was always cool and the women’s stuff was always lame,” she tells us.
“The second was probably even more personal which is that I’ve been a cyclist since the ’90s. I sold my car in the ’90s and I never have been able to get a good kit just for daily cycling. I’m not talking about going out on my road bike to do a 100-mile tour. I’m talking about what we say: from bike to boardroom to bar to back country. I just want a single kit for that.”
From Early Majority’s debut collection to their new capsule, garments are designed to cater to an array of activities, be it athletic or recreational. On one hand, they feature a bevy of technical elements like reflective tabs, ventilation, weather-resistance and light insulation. On the other hand, the pieces are sleek and contemporary, easily transitioning from outdoors to indoors. Thoughtful details enhance the pieces, making them further attuned to the needs of women and allowing them to endure the passage of time: a full side zip to transition a piece into maternity-wear, removable hoods to accommodate different hairstyles, as well as playful features like customizable magnetic badges to add color or a slightly different look to each piece.
The apparel is also all modular. The garments can easily be styled together or layered on top of one another. In the Snow:Cycle Capsule—which is all made from deadstock Japanese soft-shell fabric and Dermizax technology—the Bib Overalls function as an insulating layer while on the slopes, or biking pants when the bib and detachable suspenders are removed.
The entire capsule acts as a way to transition from the slopes to the bike trails. As the founder explains, “The functionality that you actually need for snowboarding, skiing, biking in the rain or wet snow is very much the same across your top garment and your pants. So basically, it’s the first of its kind that we know of which is the Snow:Cycle Capsule. It’s made for you to ski, snowboard or bike in, and we’re gonna launch it made-to-order.”
But creating a multi-functional collection was only half the solution for Howard who also sought to develop a sustainable brand. “The only way that I thought to solve that problem and build a viable business was to build a business that grew by expanding the supportive community or just expanding community period rather than proliferating product,” she says.
It wasn’t until a conversation with Ledger‘s CXO Ian Rodgers that Howard began exploring NFTs as a way to build a membership model. Early Majority offers two modes of membership: annual and lifetime. The annual (which costs $123 per year) provides access to membership discounted pricing, first access to drops, access to their online journal (which covers everything from activism to adventuring and art) and invitations to in-person events.
The lifetime membership features these same perks but comes with a member badge NFT so that the value of a membership may grow as the company does. This membership (0.358 ETH) includes a physical badge and a bum bag. “We’re experimenting with different ways of organizing ourselves and different ways of collaborating and cooperating, and the token is a mechanism for that. It’s a mechanism for experimenting, play even, to find new ways of working together which is how societies organize themselves in very transformative and positive ways,” continues Howard.
At its heart, Early Majority considers the future—of clothing, style and an industry free from its contradictory sustainable practices. The vision is best depicted in the brand’s own name. “The term was coined by Everett Rogers who writes about the diffusion of innovation,” says Howard. “Any time you see that sort of innovation curve—innovators, early adopters and then early majority—he coined that as a way to help people understand the different phases that the adoption of innovation goes through.”
Early Majority prioritizes people and the planet over the production of product. It’s a daring move for a business but a vital step toward change.
Images courtesy of Early Majority