Cherokee Inc. wants to resurrect the spirit of the counterculture.
The Van Nuys, Calif.-based licensor will reintroduce A. Smile, a young men’s and juniors denim-based line that had its heyday in the Seventies. The brand was founded in 1969 by Robert Margolis, Jay Kester and Stanley Buchthal. Margolis is the current chairman and chief executive officer of Cherokee and Kester is executive vice president of marketing. Buchthal is not associated with the company.
Cherokee has tapped Graj + Gustavsen, a branding firm, to help it in its efforts to reintroduce the brand and make it relevant to today’s consumers. The brand spoke to the hippie generation with its styling and marketing, which included an ad of a donkey wearing a pair of jeans that read: “Put a smile on your ass.”
“I’m a big fan of counterculture brands,” said Simon Graj, founding partner of G+G, adding that A. Smile was “very spirited and very rich in lore and imagery. I remember it as a great jeans brand with a sexy fit.”
Graj said “counterculture is now mainstream; it’s not cool to be a big brand anymore. So we felt the timing was right” to revive A. Smile.
The line will launch for fall 2010 and will be targeted to department and specialty stores, Graj said. Final pricing has not yet been determined but jeans are expected to retail at around $40. “It will be accessible and affordable,” he said. Accessories will also be a part of the mix.
“Built on the foundation of innovative style and superior fit, A. Smile spoke to a generation of individuals seeking a genuine experience and way of life — the same sentiments echoed by today’s consumers,” Margolis said. “As one of the founding partners of the brand, it is with great pride that we revitalize this classic, differentiated brand that defines individuality.”
Cherokee is a marketer, licensor and manager of a number of owned brands including Cherokee, Sideout and Carole Little, and has licenses in several categories including apparel, accessories and footwear.
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