Fruit of the Loom is bolstering its basics business with premium product at new channels of distribution, including Bloomingdale’s and Old Navy.
The 150-year-old brand of classic underwear and casualwear for men, women and children, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and generates estimated annual wholesale revenues in excess of $2 billion, has traditionally been a key resource of basic, commodity goods for mass merchants such as Wal-Mart.
But last May, the company added some show-business bling to its name by partnering with celebrity stylist Leslie Fremar to create a line of T-shirts and contemporary layering pieces of 100 percent premium cotton called the Leslie Fremar for Fruit of the Loom Collection, a Bloomingdale’s exclusive. Since then, assortments in the line have been expanded as well as the number of Bloomingdale’s doors, which have grown from 11 test stores to 34 units, said John Shivel, senior vice president of FTL’s marketing, advertising and corporate communications.
Shivel said the upscale collection for spring — which retails from $22 for a variety of tops to $40 and $48 for cardigans, $36 and $38 for leggings, and $50 for an A-line tank dress — has been well received by consumers who shop at the YES contemporary sportswear department at Bloomingdale’s.
“We started out with a capsule collection of three key [T-shirt] styles at 11 Bloomingdale’s doors in May. By September, distribution was rolled out to all stores, excluding outlets,” said Shivel.
Charla Bobbitt, communications manager for FTL, said reaction to the collection has been strong because of its quality, contemporary styling and attention to detail.
“There is a delicate French seam down the back of the T-shirts and the arm holes are cut higher for coverage in some of the styles that women like to wear as workout tops....The tops are meant to be layered and the necklines are graded down from the racer-back, the tank and the scoop neck styles....There’s also a pop of color with color blocking for spring,” said Bobbitt.
Shivel said an in-store event hosted by Fremar is being planned at the Bloomingdale’s flagship in early June. He added that FTL also plans to do “celebrity seeding” — gifting of key items or the entire collection to celebrities. Fremar has styled a number of stars including Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Connelly and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
“We are also working with a publicist to create some buzz for the collection and we’ll be doing a viral campaign,” added Shivel.
Meanwhile, Kelly Thompson, vice president of advertising and brand management at FTL, said the launch of the men’s “Softest Collection” at Old Navy earlier this year has been successful.
“The Old Navy customer is a little younger and goes to Old Navy for value and style. We’ll be doing women’s next,” said Thompson. A launch date has not been finalized for the women’s line.
All of the tag-free items in the packaged Softest Collection of boxers, boxer briefs and T-shirts in premium cotton are designed exclusively for Old Navy. Detailing includes a plush waistband, four-piece construction for boxers and a generous length for the T-shirts.
Suggested retail is $13.50 for a pack of three crew-neck T-shirts or three boxers, and $13.50 for a four-pack of briefs or boxer briefs.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)