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Milwaukee Clothing, Fashion Go NEWD

Jun. 30, 2010
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Bert Kessler is celebrating the third anniversary of his clothing company, NEWD, by kicking it into a higher gear. His lines of high-quality cotton basics feel as comfortable as your own skin and have been quickly expanding since Kessler began dedicating 100% of his time to the business.

Where did you come up with the name “NEWD,” and what does it mean?

It was actually an accident. My buddy spotted the word “newd,” which was a typo on his term paper back in college, and it stuck with him. He told me about it and came up with the acronym “Nothing Else Will Do.” I’ve always been really into art, so I began sketching the logo right away. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and thought it could work for a future business endeavor, although at the time I did not know what.

After college, I wanted to start a clothing line, so I began building the brand around the name and idea that this would be a high-end line of goods.

What do your lines consist of?

The lines start out very basic, but they will grow quickly. We use very high-end fabrics with finer cotton that gives the products a superior feel and fit.

NEWD has two lines: NEWD brand and Urban Clothing Club by Johnny Castro, which is all graphic tees and hoodies. NEWD brand is a more contemporary and upbeat collection of cotton essentials such as tees, polos, hats, dresses and tanks. The products have two embroidered logos on every shirt: one on the right shoulder and one on the left hip.

Who do you think your brands appeal to?

They’re for the person who is a go-getter, who is driven and accepts nothing less than the best. Now with the more classic look, NEWD can suit anyone, from the businessman to the golfer to a college kid.

I originally wanted to just make a men’s line; then I quickly realized that women’s fashion was such a big opportunity.

How has your brand evolved?

Originally, the idea for NEWD was to act as the middleman between the clothing and the art. I collaborated with about 10 different artists and put their designs on finished goods and promoted them. One problem with the original concept of having many different artists was that the lines didn’t flow. While speaking with stores, I quickly learned that they want to buy a collection, not just three shirts.

Any other exciting collaborations in the works?

I am thinking about doing a maternity line and a golf line too. I’d love to get into jeans, shoes, socks, accessories—everything! Additionally, I have a custom-printing component to NEWD that allows me to partner with community groups and businesses to create personalized apparel.

NEWD fashions are available online at www.newdclothing.com or at Detour on Brady Street, and White Star and Luci Boutique on Water Street. Kessler is looking to expand his distribution to Madison, Fox Valley, Minneapolis and Chicago later this year.


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