Unravel Designer Ben Taverniti on His Recipe for Success


Ben Taverniti’s streetwear label has practically become a uniform for a certain celebrity set with last names like West, Kardashian, and Jenner, but he maintains that he’s trying to keep a low-profile. Although, it’s easier said than done when your wife and business partner is Joyce Bonelli, the Insta-famous makeup artist and close friend to the Kardashian clan. The Hadids too have been spotted in Unravel threads, which makes this brand as buzzy as one can get, but the relatively shy Taverniti maintains that it was all completely organic.

While he keeps his eye on the craft, Bonelli sways him into the spotlight, and the recipe has become one of pure success. Now in 100 stores worldwide, the brand is growing rapidly, selling out of whatever it ships almost immediately. They’ve been approached by far more than 100 stores, but the strategy is to keep distribution tight and not to overproduce, which is smart for a brand with so much celebrity attention; Unravel should’t be too attainable, so they live by the philosophy that one appreciates something more if it’s hard to come by.

We caught up with the Taverniti on such topics and more over dinner at Hotel Costes in Paris (yes, Kanye and Kim crashed too), and again via a long distance phone call to talk about how quickly the two year-old label is catching on, or—you might say—doing the exact opposite of “unraveling.”

I know that you’ve said that you aren’t about brands who use celebrity endorsements, but yours happened quite naturally and you had to go with it?“It’s not promotion, it’s completely organic. The celebrity world is Joyce’s world. You know, she worked with Nicki Minaj for forever. I’m usually uncomfortable in the celebrity scene, but what happened was that I became friends with them. Kendall came to the showroom and, literally, jacked half of the collection. She was wearing it and changing three times a day, and my sales team was like, ‘we need those samples back to sell them!’ It’s just Kendall being a friend.”

What is Joyce’s role in the brand?“She’s my partner in life, my partner in the brand, and in everything that we do together. Joyce is the one who is pushing me to post on Instagram. I am always struggling because I know how important it is, but I don’t want to come across as a thirsty brand who promotes celebrities. The celebrities who wear it truly love the pieces.

Joyce is purely creative. She’s completely the muse of Unravel and she has such an amazing eye. She is our marketing strategist, and it’s just constant work without being work, which is amazing.”

How was Unravel born?“Unravel is very selfish! It was purely born out of being sick of what I see. From there, I want to create what I think is the perfect closet for men and women. I am the man and Joyce is the woman. This line is for Joyce and I! It’s for whoever thinks like us, and see what’s happening out there and thinks, ‘I want to be part of that.’”

What sets you apart from other brands?“I see a lot of brands that are pushing marketing and social, but they don’t have any depth. It’s like being a good Dad. If you have kids, you have no choice but to be a good dad. If you start a brand, it has to be good.”

What gives your brand depth?“True research goes into everything we do. What I’m hearing from people today, from people who know the brand is that they love it because it’s tough and it’s real. It’s not just a random T-shirt. When you look at the pieces, each one is a proper piece. It’s a science, and I’m a mad scientist when it comes to each piece. I’m going crazy piece by piece, from fit to fabric. If each piece doesn’t have all of the elements it doesn’t work; you need to understand how to put it all together. I mixed different fabrics washes, together. Then when I cut and sew the garment, it was all calculated to get to that point, to that piece that I wanted. That’s where the depth is.”

What is at core of Unravel’s DNA?“I wanted to create the new basics. What are pieces that everyone wears? Bombers, tees, jeans, and hoodies. They’ll never go away.

If you come to Unravel now, or next year, it will still be unravel. It will always evolve, and I will always surprise, but it will have the same aesthetic. We won’t come out with gowns tomorrow.”

What’s new at Unravel?“We made kids version of the adult collection, for our kids, so that will become a part of the line.”


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