For the first time in the 11 WWD100 surveys dating to 1993, London Fog did not place fi rst on the list of most-recognized outerwear brands. That position goes to L.L. Bean, which knocked London Fog to number two.
Based in Freeport, Maine, Bean has been fastening its ties to consumers beyond its mail order business and freestanding stores. A paddle sports festival, summer concerts, outdoor discovery schools and a cobranded Subaru SUV are among the many marketing initiatives being used to try to connect with shoppers beyond straight-out purchases. Aside from opening its second store in Chicago this year, the company has already signed up to be part of Freeport Village Station, a commercial development under construction in its hometown.
Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company has grown from a one-man operation to a global organization with annual sales of $1.5 billion. At the end of May, Bean announced it was dropping Bank of America as holder of L.L. Bean Visa card accounts and has started processing applications for new cards through an as-yet-unnamed bank. On another front, the Outdoor Channel will add “L.L. Bean’s Guide to the Outdoors” to the network’s third-quarter 2008 programming lineup. Avid outdoorsman Bill Gorman, the great-grandson of L.L. Bean, and Tim Rajeff, world-renowned master fl y fi sherman, will cohost the program and feature hunting and fishing footage from around the world.
London Fog, meanwhile, is still finding its footing, after being acquired in a bankruptcy court-sponsored auction by the Iconix Fashion Group in 2006 for $30.5 million in cash and $7 million in Iconix stock. Through a new joint venture, Silas Chou and Iconix chief executive offi cer Neil Cole have teamed up to court the Chinese middle class with Iconix China. Iconix has contributed $5 million to the venture and the Chinese rights to its brands, which include Op, London Fog, Joe Boxer and Candie’s.
Iconix has also been staffi ng up to build its labels domestically and all around the globe. Late last year Kimberly Lee Minor joined Iconix as vice president of brand management, overseeing the company’s London Fog, Joe Boxer and Rampage brands. She quickly lined up the brand’s first handbag license, which bows this fall.
Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, Columbia and Nautica ranked third through sixth, respectively, for the second consecutive year.
Lands’ End, which is owned by Sears, has managed to be a bright spot for the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based merchant. During the retailer’s annual meeting in May, chairman Edward S. Lampert noted the Lands’ End brand saw record profi ts in 2007 and was expanded to 100 Sears stores. He did not break out sales figures.
After a successful introduction in 2006, Sears Canada plans to expand its offering of Lands’ End apparel by adding it to more of its 197 department stores in Canada and 183 dealer-owned locations. It was initially introduced in four stores.
This year, Eddie Bauer said it had redesigned its Web site “to create an online experience that delivers the ease and interactivity of shopping at one of its stores.” For more than two years, Eddie Bauer has been collecting feedback from hundreds of customers to rebuild the site. The revamped site enables customers to choose items without losing their place, zoom in for details and check product availability in real time.
In this year’s survey, The North Face leaped to the seventh place from 10th in 2007. In the fi rst quarter of this year, the company saw site traffi c increase thanks to a new widget that lets online visitors post their own and The North Face-produced videos to other sites.
“At the start, it makes people a little bit nervous, especially traditional marketers — putting your content somewhere that you don’t totally control,” said Sarah Gallagher, online manager of The North Face. However, the widget proved to be an effective traffic generator, driving conversion rates up to four times higher than average.
Kenneth Cole dropped one slot to eighth. This spring, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. poached Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Jill Granoff as ceo. Granoff, Claiborne’s executive vice president of direct brands, will take over day-today responsibilities for the 25-year-old Cole brand from Kenneth Cole, who has relinquished his career-long ceo title but will continue as chairman and chief creative officer.
Liz Claiborne Coats and Jones New York were ninth and 10th, respectively, in this year’s survey. Claiborne, which is in the midst of a massive corporate restructuring, maintained its ranking from last year, but Jones New York fell from eighth.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye