Lands’ End, which does a big business in school uniforms, wants to broaden its youth base. So why not throw support to education?
The company has made a donation to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn initiative, backed by First Lady Michelle Obama, to keep girls around the world in school. “We’re already one of the leading suppliers of school uniforms, so we have to further show our commitment to education to be an even more meaningful brand,” said Federica Marchionni, president and chief executive officer of Lands’ End.
She was at the company’s pop-up store on Fifth Avenue last Friday, along with Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” and Aya Kanai, celebrating Peytie Slater, the 15-year-old winner of the Project Runway Junior Challenge. As the winner, Slater got the opportunity to design a backpack for Lands’ End to raise awareness for Let Girls Learn. She created the “Global ClassMate” backpack with a distinctive map mosaic print depicting the continents, as a symbol of the initiative.
“I’m such a print person,” said Slater, a resident of Carlsbad, Calif., whose favorite color is periwinkle. For her Project Runway challenge to design something for “the girl on the go,” Slater said, “I went with the loudest print I could possibly find” for her winning tunic with shorts outfit.
Also at the Lands’ End store was Tonia Wellons, head of Peace Corps’ office of strategic partnerships, who said more than 62 million girls around the world are not in school and should be. “Let Girls Learn is focused on removing the barriers for adolescent girls to go to school,” Wellons said. Early marriage and having children early in life leads to longer periods of poverty, she said, making it tough for many girls to attend school.
Meanwhile, speculation continues on Lands’ End big Fifth Avenue pop-up store. Insiders said there’s a chance of converting the space to a permanent site but no determination has been made. The store opened last month presenting festive traditional seasonal apparel on the first floor while the second floor houses the brand’s updated, more modern styles with snugger and shorter fits compared to past seasons.