With Joe Fresh, what’s good for North America is good for the rest of the world.
That’s the message from the new 4,000-square-foot, two-level Joe Fresh store in the heavily trafficked Myeongdong shopping district in the heart of Seoul — the brand’s first unit in Asia. “There’s exactly the same assortment as you would see in SoHo [in Manhattan],” said Joe Mimran, president of Joseph Mimran & Associates and founder and creative director of Joe Fresh, on Wednesday. Mimran just returned from South Korea, where last weekend the company staged a fashion show at Seoul’s Beyond Museum and opened the store.
There was some tweaking involved, considering the size of the store, which is about 3,000 square feet smaller than typical Joe Fresh units, and considering the target population. “There is less space to do visual presentation, so it’s more about product, and there’s less visual concentration,” said Mario Grauso, chief operating officer of Joe Fresh. “We also broadened the size assortment so there is more extra-extra smalls than you would see in our other stores. Otherwise, it is really similar to SoHo.”
The Seoul opening marked an initial step in expanding Joe Fresh beyond its North American boundaries. Earlier this year, Joe Fresh announced three separate partnership agreements to swiftly enter the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South Korea, representing a total of 24 countries.
Where Joe Fresh has situated in Seoul, said Grauso, has “a Fifth Avenue sensibility” and is a good fit for the Joe Fresh moderate price point. Fifty percent of the footfall is tourism from the Asian market, Grauso said, adding, “It’s very dense traffic and really important for us that we got into the neighborhood.”
Joe Fresh silks, shorts, maxis, midis and soft pants were getting “really good traction,” though Mimran added, “The good sellers here are the good sellers there, but it’s way too early to make any kinds of determinations and adjustments.”
Regarding the international expansion strategy, “We are being very aggressive about the rollout,” Grauso said. “We will open nine more stores in Korea this year and have a total of 35 stores in Korea in the next four years, which is what we contractually agreed to. Korea is very much a shopping hub for Asia. Korea became a priority for us.”
As reported, Joe Fresh’s South Korea partner is Origin & Co. Ltd., based in Seoul. It’s also partnered with Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co., based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Dubai-based Retail Arabia International. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. is the parent company of Joe Fresh, which operates freestanding stores in Canada and the U.S., as well as shops inside Loblaws and J.C. Penney.
Aside from the three agreements announced, “We are working on a few more deals that you could hear about in the coming weeks,” Grauso said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast