For over 25 years, XCVI has had the same goal: to bring women fresh, comfortable clothing they
can really live in. XCVI’s namesake is quite literally the Roman numeral of “96,” forever
immortalizing the year we were founded. Even as we’ve continued to grow, change, and adapt, XCVI has maintained its roots, functioning as a family company of dedicated experts who rely on and support one another.
My name is Eden (pronounced Eh-dehn), and I work in social media and copy editing for XCVI.
I’m 27 years old–about the same age as XCVI. As new as I am to this position, the company has been incredibly supportive and I feel really at home in my work. It’s no surprise to me that many employees have been with this brand for over twenty years, and that creativity and ideas from everyone is always encouraged. Each person plays a crucial role in our continual development as a company.
This year, XCVI has decided to take the plunge and move locations from our downtown warehouse space. Sprawling and full of our history, these headquarters are testament to our last fifteen years of dedication to this brand. As full of natural light as racks of clothes, this space holds both offices and shipping centers, creatives and technical workers alike.
As we begin the process of saying goodbye to this space, we’ve really uncovered a lot of our history–vintage upcycled leather wallets, displays from old pop-up shops, etc. I recently spent some time going through the warehouse and offices looking for fun and interesting pieces of our material history, really appreciating every era and novelty, and asking around for stories and insight from the people who have been here far longer than I have.
Plants and potted succulents stand in the entrance of XCVI, just before a lobby with floor-length photos of models wearing our clothing next to a towering bamboo plant. A woven basket of kumquats cheerily sits on the wooden bench near the elevators, reading “take me”. I’m struck by the generosity and sweetness of a basket of goods for all. Bringing each other fruit? Now that’s the community spirit!
Up two small flights of stairs, a full-model vintage Singer sewing machine sits next to the office
entrance. Complete with an attached wooden desk and extendable board, this piece of history is a nod to our dedication to meticulously constructing clothing. The antique was a gift from our founder Gita’s uncle Leo David, who is one of the owners of the company.
Entering the office, I notice several cheeky signs amid the plants and coffee station, all of which
exemplify just how a humorous, laid-back atmosphere is key to our functioning as a unit. They
range in seriousness, from “Family is a little world created by love” and “Work hard and be nice to
people,” to “Drink coffee. Do stupid things faster” (above). No matter how small a detail,
this sort of signage is surprisingly integral to keeping a light energy throughout the office, and helps
people remain motivated–not by pressure–but by engaging with one another through humor and
connection. XCVI is, after all, a family company, and that tight-knit, relaxed feeling exists throughout our entire operation.
In the visitor’s waiting area, a row of plants sits atop the windowsill among nature-inspired posters of models in XCVI clothing. Floor plants cover the area for an inviting atmosphere.
Around the first office bend, I come across the conference room. Framed editorial moments grace the walls, including a 3-D collage of the XCVI brand created as part of our re-working and updating the company’s image back in 2005. The change in our branding is certainly visible when looking at these snapshots. The bold product photography uses bright colors against stark white, enhancing the drama without losing the brand’s flair for cool. I think back to a recent e-commerce photoshoot that heeded these same principles and used the clothes in a similar way. Even on models, XCVI remains clothing for women we know and love. When I think of XCVI, I think of my mom, my neighbor, my favorite professor–women who are uniquely beautiful, who live and move fiercely and freely while dressed in their comfiest, chicest ensembles. The branding present throughout this space carefully highlights the approachability of XCVI while also positioning the brand as deeply fashionable and effortlessly on-trend but not trend-following.
Throughout the many office clothing racks, fabric samples hang together to show off a portion of
our creative process. I’m fascinated by the design aspect of XCVI and ask our designer, Lilia, if I can venture into her office for a glance at her creative world. Her doors are clear glass and anyone can walk by and witness her working, drawing, and creating, which lends itself so well to an all-hands-on-deck approach to this business. Neat piles of fabric, thread, and color samples lay among her mood boards, and fuzzy stools sit at a long wooden table. Everything is comfortable yet full of dramatic inspiration. It struck me as an incredible place to design for nearly two decades, with tons of light pouring in and boxes of samples neatly packaged and color-coded in the closet. Upon exiting her studio, I couldn’t help but imagine what her next room will be like, and how it will support all her design ambitions for XCVI, just as this one did.
Across from our CEO Alon’s nearby office hangs a sign that reads “The Great Gita,” giving
testament to our owner, who often still comes into the office with her sweet adopted dog, just to joke around and check in with everyone. In a room next to the visitor lobby, I find hanging canvas mannequins of all shapes and sizes, and a large printing machine with an enormous roll of white paper. Further in, plastic bins hold clothing and fabric samples organized by color category, forming a perfect rainbow atop the highest shelf in an otherwise now-empty office room. As I walk
back and forth around the space, an office supply closet swings open and I take a quick picture to show the organized chaos within. File folders, staples, and binders sit atop one another, all very much visible and findable to the naked eye, but packed in together tightly. The supply cabinet reminds me of the warehouse/office as a whole; keeping many moving elements at bay under one larger umbrella of space.
Soon after, a small dachshund dog in a blue harness wanders up to me with a wagging tail.I crouch
down to pet her between the racks of clothing along the wall, and admire the materials hung on the rails as I scratch her neck. The presence of pets in the office is comforting and exciting, a welcome peak in the work day.
Our warehouse has worn many hats in its time, operating as a tech room, production space, print
shop, cutting and sewing room, and now a shipping hub where we fulfill all your orders with diligence
and love. Making my way deeper into the multifaceted warehouse of boxes, I came across many
eye-catching moments. I immediately spotted a hand-painted couch, created years earlier by our
CEO–Alon’s–wife. The office is peppered with her paintings, but this couch especially stands out,
with abstract images of human figures in rich oil-painted shades of blue, red, white, and orange.
Further in, a wall of vintage XCVI magazine moments from the 90s and early 2000s, that showcase the clothing in all their Y2K glory. Up high on the tallest shelf sits a pile of retro trunk suitcases and large globes that I was told were used in travel-themed XCVI pop-up shops gone by.
I walk by walls of inventory and carefully-gridded sections, and pass a basketball hoop blending into the scenery, along with trunks and boxes filled with all sorts of bric-a-bracs and chachkes. Sloganed paraphernalia can be found in many of these boxes, interestingly showcasing the different directions merchandising has gone over the last few years. Up high on a metal shelf sits a pyramid of fabric rolls encased in plastic wrap. White and yellow pokes through and I wonder what sort of beachy outfits these materials yielded. In one of the nearby break room kitchens, a white cubby shelf holds
miscellaneous tupperwares and personal mugs, along with many curved decorative bowls as
employees wander in and out–a sweet moment of intentional decor meets a lived-in feeling, humorously playing testament to the hard work that goes on alongside the ever-present aesthetic sensibility of XCVI.
I laugh at a tall column of stacked boxes with hangers taped to each, clearly functioning as some sort of code referring to what’s inside. I, for one, was completely at a loss regarding their content but got a good chuckle out of the sight and what might possibly be contained within. Tops? Dresses? More kumquats?
XCVI’s space has changed immensely alongside the brand’s image over the years. Throughout
our time, this warehouse has accommodated countless projects and hundreds of employees, while hosting technical rooms and production in accordance with the brand’s ever-changing needs. This space has been as flexible as we’ve needed it to be, and as we pack up, we’re taking the time to really thank this building for all it’s been and done for us. While we’ll miss this space very much, we know that the people are what really make this atmosphere feel like home, and that with this same team, any space can feel right. We cherish the time spent here, grateful for the memories and turning points we were able to reach when housed here. Our goals as a company remain intact even as we move in new directions, and our desire to dress women comfortably and stylishly remains stronger than ever. We look onward to XCVI’s future in a new atmosphere, knowing fully that we have each other–and everything we need–to help make our new house a home.