NEW YORK — With its eye on young men, Kmart will launch two new collections for spring ’08: the streetwear-inspired Wckd and the Latino-flavored Limon & Sal.
Wckd will make a mid-February debut at 602 Kmart stores, as well as other value-oriented retailers such as Mervyns and Against All Odds. The line is produced by Wicked Fashions, Inc., parent of the highly successful mid-tier streetwear brand SouthPole
Limon & Sal, aimed at Hispanic young men, will debut exclusively at 157 Kmart locations on April 1, and expand to about 350 locations by the end of the year.
Both Wckd and Limon & Sal, which will be presented as whole sportswear collections, represent a significant shift in Kmart’s merchandising strategy for young men. Like many mass retailers that merchandise by classification, “Kmart is often a destination place for items,” said Mike Sablowski, Kmart’s vice-president and GMM of men’s. “We’re beginning to move in a different direction for young men in creating an entire look. We feel that these collections would be better merchandised if key items come together.”
The brands also expose Kmart to new consumer bases. Wckd, which will also offer juniors’ and children’s collections, speaks to a fashion-forward streetwear consumer who had, until recently, been neglected in the mass market. However, the success of Wal-Mart’s urban-oriented Exsto collection, launched in 2006 and widely praised by Wal-Mart executives, has proven there is a demand for value-priced streetwear products.
David Strumeier, vice-president of licensing, marketing and new product development at Wicked Fashions, described the Wckd line as “opening-price point, demand-right street fashion.” The aesthetic, he said, is much like the brand’s older sibling Southpole, but with retail prices at about 15 to 20 percent lower; T-shirts start at $12.50 and denim will open at $17.99.
Wckd is the first of three new brands to come out of Wicked Fashions this year. The company will launch White Tag, a premium, rock & roll–themed line, as well as SPC Collection, a dressy club-oriented juniors’ label. Both will be aimed at mid-tier retailers, and will launch for back-to-school. Besides SouthPole, Wicked Fashions also owns Lot 29, a premium streetwear line.
Meanwhile, Limon & Sal, produced by Miami-based Orange Clothing Co., will reach out to the rapidly expanding young Latino consumer at Kmart. Orange Clothing already produces a higher-end, Latino-oriented young men’s line, called Revolucion, which retails at Macy’s and other men’s specialty stores.
Orange Clothing president Scott Deutsch said that all Limon & Sal garments are designed by Latino designers, with a Latino young man in mind. In fact, the brand’s hangtags are shaped like tequila bottles and read “Diseñado por latinos para latinos”—in translation: “Designed for Latinos by Latinos.”
As such, the silhouettes are smaller and lengths are shorter than a typical young men’s fit, and the sayings on Limon & Sal’s graphic T-shirts are all in Spanish. “The Hispanic customer is proud of his culture and wants to wear product that shows it off,” Deutsch explained. “They don’t just want a Mexican or Cuban flag on a T-shirt, they want something that is culturally meaningful.”
All Limon & Sal items will retail for $10 to $25.
Kmart has long been focused on the Latino market as part of its multicultural initiative. The retailer, owned by Eddie Lampert’s Sears Holdings Corp., launched the Thalía brand—inspired by Mexian pop star Thalía Sodi—for young women in 2003, and recently reinstated The Blue Light Special, starring a Spanish-speaking “Mr. Bluelight.” The nearly 1,400 store chain also uses Spanish marketing and advertising near designated stores in major Hispanic markets.
The retailer’s efforts have apparently paid off; according to a recent Scarborough Research study, Kmart currently ranks fourth as the most preferred place to shop by Latino consumers.
“This is the first time we’ve tailored our product offering specifically for Hispanic men,” said Kmart’s Sablowski. “Historically, though, the Hispanic community has had a strong affinity for Kmart products. We want our collections to reflect their importance in our stores.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)