On Wednesday, Kohl’s Corp., in a joint statement with FremantleMedia Enterprises, LF USA and Bravado, said that it will be launching an “American Idol”-themed apparel collection under the Authentic Icon moniker in junior and young men’s departments next month.
The move brings another facet to the growing melding of fashion and entertainment with commerce, which gained momentum last week with NBC’s “Fashion Star,” a new reality television fashion competition in the vein of “Project Runway.” Unlike that long-running show, though, “Fashion Star” sets itself apart with contestants who are being judged on their clothes’ commercial viability, with Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and H&M bidding on designs and offering them within minutes of the ending of each episode. RELATED STORY: The Reality of ‘Fashion Star’ >>
Now Kohl’s is hoping to cash in on the popularity of “American Idol,” which has created such stars as Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson (though she didn’t actually win). On average, “American Idol” gets 16 million to 20 million viewers an episode.
“This launch brings together a national retailer and award-winning television show to create a new collection for customers,” Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer Kevin Mansell said, adding that the “partnership makes Kohl’s an immediate consumer destination this spring.”
Kohl’s inked a multiyear agreement to distribute the line.
FreemantleMedia Enterprises executive vice president of consumer products and Interactive David Luner said it “was a natural extension to partner on a line of ‘American Idol’-inspired apparel that captures the essence of our rich music, style and performance heritage.”
The collection is being designed and produced by LF USA’s MESH (Music, Entertainment and Sports Holdings) division, which was co-founded by Tommy Hilfiger, Andy Hilfiger, Bernt Ullman and Joe Lamastra. MESH appears to like keeping things in the “American Idol” family — it is also behind apparel collections associated with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, both of whom are judges on the show. Lopez’s line is also exclusive to Kohl’s, while the Andrew Charles collection, which is inspired by the Aerosmith front man, is sold at Macy’s.
The “American Idol” pieces have a distinct Americana feel with a denim, rock ’n’ roll edge, including such looks as a striped skinny jeans with a touch of punk teamed with an off-the-shoulder T-shirt fit for a groupie, graphic T-shirts with Op Art-like HotPants, and, for men, casual blazer and jeans combinations.
The line, which launches exclusively at Kohl’s stores nationwide and on kohls.com on April 20, will be available through June, which is shortly after the May 23 finale of the show’s 11th season. Kohl’s didn’t disclose price points for the collection. According to Kohl’s’ senior vice president of public and community relations Vicki Shamion, products from the Authentic Icon collection will be featured in upcoming episodes of “American Idol.”
“With the AI line, we are extending the spirit of the American Idol brand into our fans’ lives in an organic way,” said Chris Garnett, chief marketing officer of CKX and its 19 Entertainment division, which jointly produces “American Idol” with FremantleMedia Enterprises.
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