When former Council of Fashion Designers of America executive director Peter Arnold was named president of Cynthia Rowley in 2006, he told WWD that his aim was to take branding out of its box. “We are focused on how to bring fashion into other product categories,” he said. “The traditional licensing route is a little bit dated.” Consider his mission accomplished. In the years since, Rowley has introduced Band-Aids, diapers, wet suits, picnic blankets, strollers, hammers, screwdrivers and bibs, not to mention a lineup of virtual clothing for social network Meez.com and its community of avatars.
But the designer’s most unconventional brand extension yet is Pretty Penny, a program, not unlike the CFDA Fashion Incubator, that offers support and seed money to budding entrepreneurs. The caveat, though, is that it’s restricted to Cynthia Rowley employees.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"