Fashion Friday: The Rise of The Elephant Pants and its Ties to Upstate NY (and Shark Tank)

Credit: Disney/ABC

This Fashion Friday we’re going Two Buttons Deep on a fashion trend that’s near and dear to the 518. And no, that doesn’t mean we’re talking about the signature free t-shirt from a Saratoga Racetrack giveaway or an Enjoy Troy bumper sticker.

logoWe’re talking about The Elephant Pants, the casual wear creation of 2005 Schenectady High School grad James Brooks and his business partner, Nathan Coleman. In 2014, following a whirlwind trip to Thailand, the two came up with an idea to produce and market comfortable, harem style lounge pants with cultural inspired designs.

Three years later, with $4.5 million in sales under their belts (yes, million), the two will appear tonight on ABC’s Shark Tank and ask some of our nation’s most well-known entrepreneurs to provide financial support for their vision.

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Credit: Disney/ABC

This is a pretty big deal. Shark Tank is a kick a** show and highlights some seriously bright talent. Based on my quick research on the company, The Elephant Pants would be a solid investment for anyone in the tank. They’ve got at least two of the biggest questions answered:

  1. “What are the sales?”

$4.5 million in under three years of business –the Sharks are going to love to hear that. Their biggest, most immediate “I’m out”s come when people just can’t make the money, no matter how unique or innovative the product is.

     2. “So you’re called The Elephant Pants, but have you diversified the product offering?”

They sure have. The Elephant Pants now offer yoga tops and tunics, kimonos, male, female and unisex harem pants, shorts and beanie hats and even more. The Sharks will also eat this up because more products within the same vertical of fashion just means more chances for new and returning customers.

BUT we’re here to talk fashion (my love for Shark Tank cannot take over this post). It’s hard not to be a fan of these guys and this product when it originated in the 518, and the sales alone prove its value in the marketplace. I must ask myself, though, WWJD?

A.k.a. What Would Joan Do? What would my girl Joan Rivers have to say about this new fashion trend? That sharp, witty and unapologetically inappropriate gal would probably have her doubts about the Thai-inspired patterns and overall bagginess of this comfort pant. Though when you break it down by its function, I think these work pretty well. Let’s take a look at some of their signature products and you can see what I think before you decide if you want to get on board.

The Harem Pant ($24)

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If you studied abroad in college, there’s a pretty good chance you picked up a pair of these lightweight, patterned harem pants at a foreign flea market for $5. What I like about The Elephant Pants harem style bottoms are the variety of patterns and colors they offer. The photos pictured above make the look more than just casual, cozy attire and turn the look into something you wouldn’t mind stepping out of the house in.

The other benefit to these bottoms is that we’re not in true MC Hammer territory with the drop crotch. Instead, these have a more normal fit to it and can leave you feeling just a bit more confident.

The Duster Kimono ($40)

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The Elephant Pants are getting their high fashion on with this duster kimono, which I love. Dusters/robes/kimonos are super in for spring 2017 and this style fits right in. Its lightweight texture and fun pattern can be paired with a solid tank and any bottom you want –just caution yourself from wearing too many patterns at one time.

Save the Elephant Bag, ($10)

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Oh yeah, and did I forget to mention this company has another mission? Mission-driven companies are often really cool, and the good ones can be really successful (think of TOMS shoes or RED). It means the people behind the brand believe in something higher than just selling a trendy fashion item where they can rake in the cash.

This $10 bag helps save endangered elephants all over world (1o percent of purchases go toward this cause), and works as a cute accessory that lets people know you’re a little bit more sincere than when they just saw you texting and walking across the street with this over your shoulder.

And the above is only a small sampling of the products offered by The Elephant Pants. But so far, I must admit I’m lovin’ it and am fully in support. These guys are going to crush it on Shark Tank and showed up on my radar just in time for this beautifully warm Fashion Friday in upstate, NY.

The episode airs tonight at 9pm on ABC, so be sure to check it out and see the result.