During the deepest depths of the lockdown, three London-based fashion and creative industry types, Jordan Grant, Saam Zonoozi, and Jude Taylor, got together and launched Cure des Garçons, a collection of casual clothing that put pandemic memes on designer motifs. Six months later, their collection of high-fashion, COVID-spoofing t-shirts, hoodies, hats and other items have seen £250K in total sales while they have become something of a COVID mainstay on London streets.
“Saam and I were up late working together one night trying to think of ways to be productive during lockdown,” says Grant. “An idea sparked that we could make and sell funny clothing based around COVID-19, raise some much needed money for charity and have a meme page to support it all.”
Driven by their knowledge of social media marketing combined with an altruistic desire to raise finds for charity, Cure des Garçons was born of an understanding of human behavior during this very specific moment in time.
“We thought people would be home bored and shopping online and this would be the best way to pull those two behaviors together and create something productive while giving people quality product and generating money for charity,” Taylor explains.
Grant and Zonoozi bounced ideas back and forth until they came up with what would be the first of their humorous designs and set up a website and an Instagram page, all within the course of 24 hours. Creating something that would spark interest on social media was a key part of the creative process, both knowing that sharing via digital platforms was the only way this project would have a chance at success.
“We wanted the designs to be relatable and would be easy to share with your friends, so we based them all around pre-existing ideas, but tweaked them to be COVID related,” Zonoozi says.
To start, they used an Instagram page created for the brand to post memes and designs while gifting clothing to friends and influencers to post and drive natural engagement and interest. The trio eventually enrolled the help of their friend, Oliver Hooper, who took control of their paid social which resulted in their sales escalating rapidly.
“We invested a lot into paid social and found it to be very effective. Saam and Jude kept feeding new content to Ollie to push through Facebook’s ad network and we kept up a solid test and learn mentality—constantly testing new content against each other and fine tuning the content for our audience,” Grant says. “We quickly learned what kind of content was driving traffic to the website and ultimately conversions, too.”
The co-founders are obviously not new to utilizing social channels to sell product. Zonoozi, with former roles at LADbible and Burberry, is currently a Consumer Direct Sciences Senior Analyst at sportswear giant, Nike, while Taylor is a Digital Creative at Burberry specializing in social content creation and marketing initiatives. Grant is a creative consultant who is formerly of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and now specializes in digital marketing. All of them have been working nights alongside their full-time job to bring Cure des Garçons to life.
Such fast growth doesn’t come without stumbling blocks. For one, they produced the collection during the peak of lockdown when supply chains were incredibly affected, shipping was delayed, and safety measures were not yet put into place in warehouses and postal offices.
“We’ve struggled a lot with getting orders to some countries and with there being so many extra measures set in place to ensure a safe working environment for the people working in the postal services, the shipping times were naturally extended,” Taylor says.
There was also the issue of the brands from whom they were taking inspiration not taking kindly to the use of their likenesses. As Cure des Garçons started taking off and getting more and more visibility, brands took notice and one even filed a cease and desist order.
“We were ready to pack it all in but out of nowhere a very friendly email came from the CEO of the company who sent the cease and desist. But we were able to make amends and come to an agreement on a way to move forward continuing what we were doing with a few changes,” Taylor says.
The brand operates as non-profit to stay to true to the cause of giving to charity and they have focused their donations on the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The founders are working closely with the Charities Aid Foundation in UK to facilitate the transfers to the Fund and have so far donated over £20K. They plan to continue to donate on a quarterly basis and will announce all donations via Cure des Garçon’s instagram page.
“This new way of living is very different from what we’re all used to, but we’re remaining positive and we’re trying to portray this positive message to our audience through our content and designs,” Grant says. “I think people are engaging and shopping with us, because they can relate to this.”