After 10 years in Japan, Cynthia Rowley has set her eyes on South Korea.
The designer opened a 1,400-square-foot boutique in the popular and trendy Gangnam District of Seoul this month, an area filled with fashion brands such as Tory Burch, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade and Burberry.
“It’s become a real shopping destination,” said Peter Arnold, president of Cynthia Rowley. He said the store will carry a full assortment of Rowley’s apparel, bags, shoes, outerwear and jewelry. The boutique was opened with Rowley’s South Korean business partner Seokyung, the distributor for brands such as True Religion. The company plans to open two additional shops-in-shop in major Seoul department stores this spring. It is currently negotiating with them.
Arnold said that when he met Keoung-Aei Ha, the chief executive officer of Seokyung, he discovered “she was a huge Cynthia Rowley fan.”
“They went for all the fashion-forward things. They’re really into the leggings and the whole notion of activewear,” said Arnold, noting that they buy the line from Rowley’s New York-based company. Most of the merchandise is made in China, with the balance in India and the U.S.
Rowley’s Korean store mirrors the white pristine decor of her Stateside boutiques with splashes of the brand’s distorted floral patterns decorating the walls.
The plan is that by the end of 2013, they will open six stores in South Korea, and in 2014, they’ll open another four stores. The 10 stores will be a mix of freestanding boutiques and shops-in-shop within department stores, said Arnold. The first three stores will be in Seoul and the next few will be in Daegu, followed by Busan, he said.
To acquaint itself with the South Korean market, Rowley sold some of its handbags on a Web site, CJO Shopping, which helped build buzz. They sold a lot of merchandise very quickly, according to Arnold.
“What I’ve learned is it’s a very developed market and you have a very sophisticated customer in South Korea,” said Arnold. “What Cynthia is known for is her unexpected use of color, and very unique prints she designs herself. It’s something women find appealing and is different from what is there now. They love the playfulness of what she does.”
Rowley’s business has flourished in Japan. It has 43 stores in Japan and Taiwan, which are a combination of freestanding boutiques and shops-in-shop. The company has a flagship in Tokyo. “We just celebrated our 10-year anniversary in Japan, and I’m confident our Korean business will be just as successful,” added Rowley.
Arnold said the company will eventually enter China again — it tried it once before — and is talking to a potential partner in Hong Kong and Mainland China. “We’ve learned it’s a very complex market and you have to make sure you have an on-the-ground knowledge and expertise. It’s hard to enter without a good partner,” said Arnold.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
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