Frank & Oak focuses on function

The men's retailer launches a new performance wear line with a brand film showing it in action.

Frank & Oak has launched Frank & Oak SC, a new performance wear line, with a cinematic film showing it in action.

The campaign film – shot by a freelance team of Evan Landry, Mark Andrew Bone and Chris Lew – focuses on Toronto landscape photographer Jayscale, who explains his motivation for taking risks in his work, going out to places and in conditions that others tend to avoid, while he and his team wear items from the new SC line.

Much of Frank & Oak’s previous marketing has been based around branded content, but CEO and co-founder Ethan Song says the nature of the SC line led to the idea for a more dramatic brand film.

“For our content, we really focus on the context of where our clothes are being worn,” he says. “For an urban active life, that idea of a modern-day photographer, [who is] also a bit of an adventurer that goes into these rough urban conditions, was an interesting way to show why we’re designing these clothes and showing them in action.”

Combined with SC being more of an “elevated line” compared to some of its others, Frank & Oak came to the idea of also being a bit more aspirational, he says.

The video is being pushed online to its member base and through social, with Song adding he hopes it will also connect Frank & Oak with Jayscale’s network of followers.

Frank & Oak first ventured into performance wear last fall with a capsule collection dubbed “State Concepts,” which sold out within four weeks. Song says the company has adopted the “SC” branding now that the line is less of a “sub-line” and more of a permanent indication of where the company is going with its product assortment, bringing fashion together with function.

“A big focus we have across the company right now is designing products and services that have a purpose in our customers’ lives,” Song says, adding that “SC” isn’t necessarily a typical “activewear” line. “The products are designed around specific moments in your days, and that isn’t always working out. We have biking-related products in the collection, but our customer is often biking to work. We have a lounge collection because a lot of our fans work in environments similar to ours where they are often in movement.”

Song says the “SC” line is responding to where Frank & Oak sees demand in the fashion industry going. That direction isn’t necessarily just greater demand for stylish activewear, but being able to show some kind of functional benefit through a clear product story.

“For a lot of our customers, especially millennials, knowing what a product does for them and the story behind it is really important,” he says. “It’s not just a price-to-quality equation any more; it’s getting that sense of purpose that’s really important. We’ve always been focused on entrepreneurship, but now we’re creating products that have a different purpose within that.”