When executives at Lee Co. turned to teens to get some insight into how to market to them, they learned a simple lesson: Just be yourself.
“What we found in our research was that the junior shopper of today is very different from the Gen-X consumer,” said Kathy Collins, vice president of marketing at the Merriam, Kan.-based division of VF Corp. “She is very passionate about things being very real, very authentic.”
She said the company’s research showed that today’s teens, born between 1983 and 1993 and known as the “millennial generation” are far less cynical than the Gen-Xers, who are now moping their way through their 30s, and the consumption-crazed Gen-Yers.
That led Lee to its latest venture for the junior market: Lee 1889, a brand that references the year of the H.D. Lee Co.’s founding.
In recent years, the company tried twice to win over junior shoppers with new brands — Wish in 2003 and Diva Doll in 2000. Both brands failed to catch on. Lee 1889, which is launching for fall retailing, represents a return to the company’s core brand.
“This makes so much more sense,” said Collins. “Let’s go out and shout the Lee name.”
The collection includes four core styles of jeans, eight fashion silhouettes, and an assortment of 12 stretch fabrics and 10 rigid cotton fabrics, as well as denim jackets and tops. All styles feature traditional Lee design elements, such as the heavy leather patch, Lazy S pocket stitching and branded buttons. The jeans have an 8-inch rise and will retail for about $38.
Lee president Gordon Harton said in a Tuesday interview at the company’s New York showroom that Lee decided to take a basic approach with Lee 1889 because “when the Lee brand has focused on fit and fabric in basic product, that’s when we’ve had our huge successes.”
The full collection will be unveiled to retailers in March, with deliveries scheduled for June 30. Harton said the company will ship some test batches of product to retailers prior to that date.
In addition to the new junior line — which also will be launched in the young men’s area — the company unveiled a new misses’ product. It’s a basic five-pocket look called Ultimate Five.The name, however, isn’t intended to refer to the number of pockets, but five attributes that Lee expects will make it a bestseller. They are a 10-inch rise that falls one to two inches below the navel, a contoured waistband to avoid gapping in the rear, front pockets that are fully sewn down to the leg seams to prevent bunching, side seams set toward the front of the jeans for a slimming effect and a back yoke in which the leg fabric is sewn over the waistband fabric —?rather than under — a choice that’s also intended to be slimming.
It’s essentially a similar move to the One True Fit contemporary style the brand rolled out last year, but is aimed at a slightly older customer.
Looking toward the spring retail season, Harton said retailers had taken conservative inventory positions after last year’s weak performance, but said he believed actual sales would be up compared with last year.
“We’ll get people coming back looking for goods,” he predicted.
@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)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)