LONDON — Jaeger is aiming to raise its profile and make inroads into international markets, including the U.S.
Earlier this month, the London-based brand launched a capsule collection for Saks Fifth Avenue. This week, it appointed Brigid Loizou as design director. In February, Jaeger London, the brand's diffusion line, will show at London Fashion Week.
Belinda Earl, Jaeger's chief executive officer, said the focus was on building international franchises and wholesale accounts.
Earl also wants to reinforce Jaeger's luxury design image, with plans to rejuvenate all the flagships and regional U.K. stores, and attract new consumers through diffusion lines such as Jaeger Black and Jaeger London.
Jaeger's capsule collection for Saks Fifth Avenue went on sale earlier this month at 11 Saks stores, and is exclusive to the retailer in the U.S.
"It takes you all the way from day- to eveningwear," said Earl. "The collection builds on Jaeger's strengths, our core DNA."
Prices for the 30-piece collection range from $180 for trousers to $595 for a jacket. Earl said the prices were similar to existing U.K. levels. The collection's fabrics have been adapted to the American market, however, with lighter-weight materials. Earl said these were because of climate differences between the two countries.
"We are a one-climate brand in the U.K. We needed to cater to all the climate differences across the U.S. The Saks collection is ideal for layering," she said.
Earl ruled out opening stand-alone stores in the U.S. in the short term.
"There is nothing suitable at the moment. This is partly why we have developed the relationship with Saks Fifth Avenue. We would like a freestanding store, but it takes a long time to get these things right. This is a great way for us to enter the U.S. market. There is a high awareness of us in the U.S.," she said.
Earl added she was also focusing on other international markets. This month, the brand began wholesaling through two major David Jones outlets in Australia, and recently acquired franchises in Switzerland, Copenhagen, Taiwan, Dubai and Canada, in addition to the brand's existing 50 U.K. stand-alones and concessions.
The decision to show Jaeger London at London Fashion Week is part of Earl's strategy to solidify the company's international reputation and attract overseas buyers. "We have an international profile now, and this will be a great platform for us," Earl said.
Jaeger London is the brand's younger directional collection. It was introduced three years ago as part of a brand relaunch by retail mogul Harold Tillman, who purchased the company in March 2003. The collection is stocked in 30 stores across the U.K. Earl said the line has been a key factor in rejuvenating the brand.
"It's brought us a new consumer, and led to the reappraisal of Jaeger. We have a new consumer now, in their late 30s, whereas before we were perceived as older," she said.
Jaeger has also launched a new upper-tier collection, Jaeger Black, in the last year, a limited range of special occasion and daywear stocked in selected flagships at roughly 200 pounds, or $407, for a top, to 700 pounds, or $1,427, for an evening gown. In August, the brand also launched a Jaeger London fragrance and beauty range.
Beginning this month, design director Loizou, who formerly worked at Alberta Ferretti and MaxMara, will oversee the creative direction of all Jaeger lines.
"Brigid will greatly compliment our team and continue to drive the Jaeger brand forward as we enter a very exciting growth phase, both domestically and internationally," said Earl.
Jaeger has come a long way from its weak position in the market four years ago. In 2003, the ailing brand was purchased by Tillman, who — along with Earl — has worked on the relaunch. In June, the company said profits had risen 45 percent to 5 million pounds, or $9.9 million, in the fiscal year ending Feb. 28. Sales totaled 706 million pounds, or $1.4 billion, a 22 percent increase.
"It's very exciting," said Earl. "We are on an amazing journey."
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