LOS ANGELES — Joe Fresh and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. are giving shoppers here a preview of how the brand will look inside the retailer’s stores a week before it launches there with a pop-up open from today to Sunday.
The pop-up is meant to generate buzz for Joe Fresh’s introduction into Penney’s and familiarize West Coast consumers with a brand that they may see down the line in permanent standalone form. The Canadian brand, which is sold in about 350 locations in its home country, including 14 of its own stores, has only six units in the U.S. concentrated in New York and New Jersey, but Joe Fresh founder Joe Mimran has plans to spread retail to California.
“We are on the doorstep of opening 683 [J.C. Penney] locations in America and the West Coast is of particular importance to us. We just felt it was important to expose the brand,” said Mimran. “Pop-ups are certainly not a new thing anymore, but they are still fun. It is a great way to give a pop of excitement to the brand.”
Housed in a glass-rimmed 4,000-square-foot space on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Crescent Heights Boulevard across the street from Fred Segal, the pop-up’s assortment has some 35 Joe Fresh styles, about half the number that will be available in the brand’s in-store shops at Penney’s, according to Siiri Dougherty, Penney’s senior vice president, general merchandise manager, women’s apparel. “It includes dresses and crochet shorts to T-shirts, tank tops and colored denim. It pretty much runs the gamut,” she said. “This is a good representation of what we are going to feature.”
Design and merchandising at the pop-up mirrors Joe Fresh’s design and merchandising elsewhere. Clothes are grouped by color stories. They are mostly on racks lining the walls, which are white with orange accents, but there are also shelves dedicated to colored denim and T-shirts, notably the $10 Slub V-Neck Tee styles that are bestsellers for the brand. Outfits are repeated on mannequins similar to the way Joe Fresh makes statements about key looks in its stores.
“We tend to be very clean in the way we merchandise,” said Mimran. “We don’t dense up for the sake of densing up. That belies the price point. In a lot of the fast-fashion retailers, because of the price point, they are forced to put a lot of product on the floor. We do too, but we still want to maintain a certain integrity to the merchandising. It has to have that feel of being more than just stuff.”
Before it rolls out to Penney’s on March 15, Joe Fresh hit the retailer’s Web site at the end of last month. Mimran said the brand has racked up three times the volume Penney’s expected online so far and “became the number-one brand immediately.” Dougherty reasoned that the brand is attractive to Penney’s customers because of its universal appeal, repertoire of styles and inexpensive price points. The majority of the merchandise at the pop-up is priced from $10 to $69.
“It is a very broad-based assortment and that is the beauty of it,” said Dougherty. “There is something for everybody. It is a great way to bring affordable style to people across the country. It’s modern, stylish product. It’s a good combination of basics like a great T-shirt, and fashion pieces like a great crochet short or a great dress.”
Joe Fresh is not depending on Penney’s alone for expansion in the U.S. The brand has another standalone store in New York in the works and is looking into locating stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco. “We are completely committed to growing our business in the United States,” said Mimran. “Our approach is going to be much more urban because we believe JCP has the suburban covered.”
Although he is intent on growing in the U.S., Mimran acknowledged Joe Fresh isn’t going to be an overnight sensation in its own stores in the U.S. because it lacks the name recognition. Discussing its New York stores, the first of which opened in 2011, he said, “We are realistic about what we can accomplish in a short period of time. This is a really tough, tricky industry. You have to stay at it. You have to be there. There is not a brand that has come to America that has knocked it out of the park in the first two minutes.”
The pop-up launch party Thursday night could help Joe Fresh’s awareness issue. Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald performed at the party and, earlier in the day Thursday, Joe Fresh was expecting 400 people to attend with Hollywood represented by the likes of Stacy Keibler, Jessica Lowndes, Rumer Willis and Louise Roe.
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