By  on February 5, 2013

NEW YORK — Who says Macy’s must be mainstream?

This spring, Macy’s is taking an edgy turn with a collection designed together with Made Fashion Week. “This is an organic collaboration between the creative teams from Made and our merchants to bring relevant, of-the-moment fashion to Macy’s,” explained Tim Baxter, the retailer’s executive vice president, fashion and product office. “It’s a collection of must-have items, inspired by street fashion and what the most fashionable people in the world are wearing.”

He’s really talking about designers, photographers, artists, filmmakers, models and media-types with a downtown vibe, that Made Fashion Week associates with. Made, a creative hub that connects and supports emerging talent in different medium, was formed in 2009 by Mazdack Rassi, cofounder and creative director of Milk Studios; Jenné Lombardo, founder of The Terminal Presents branding and strategic marketing company, and Keith Baptista, founding partner of the Prodject production company. The platform started just after the Great Recession hit, when the founders witnessed many designers struggling. Made currently supports about 40 labels, including Joseph Altuzarra and Suno, in part by staging fashion shows, typically at Milk Studios and the Standard Hotel, and is itself supported by such corporations as American Express, Macy’s, Lexus and Google.

The Made-Macy’s collection, called Made Fashion Week for Impulse, will be sold beginning March 12 only at 150 Macy’s stores [where the Impulse contemporary departments are played up the most] and on The plan is to make Made Fashion Week an ongoing part of Impulse and to steadily feed new products into the space on a monthly basis, if not more frequently.

The debut spring collection features between 20 and 30 styles, priced from $39 knit tops, tanks and T-shirts, to $139 jackets. There are also skater skirts, pants and dresses. The collection is designed at Milk Studios and at Macy’s merchandising offices in Manhattan, with both domestic and overseas production. Macy’s described the collection as featuring classic pieces remixed with of-the-moment prints, textures and patterns; silhouettes referencing “modern school boy and feminine grunge” trends, and layering.

A comprehensive campaign involving print and outdoor advertising, direct mail, in-store visuals, digital and social media has been developed to launch the collection. The launch campaign was shot by Terry Richardson at Milk Studios with a behind-the-scenes, candid approach depicting models just arriving to the set. A digital biannual style guide will feature fashion, music and art, and there will be editorials about artists, writers, musicians and designers who are shown wearing the Macy’s-Made collection. The guide can be viewed on starting April 2.

“We are translating our culture into actual garments,” said Made’s Lombardo. “To be able to bring pieces to life at an accessible price point at a mass level is really something we stand for.” Lombardo said she’s been working closely with Macy’s to design the collection, and that there’s no involvement by the designers supported by Made in the Macy’s collection. “Just like us, the Made collection exists somewhere at the intersection of fashion, music, art and popular culture. Our collections will always be inspired by the kids on the streets. Our currency has always been access.”

“The collection is really about individuality,” added Baptista. “What’s that young photographer who walks into the Milk Studio wearing? How does that blogger style herself? What’s that model wearing when she comes off the street? That’s what it’s about.”

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