High-performance eyewear brand Oakley is revving up its women's sunglass business.
The company, based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., primarily known for its men's products, is beginning an aggressive push for female shoppers this month with three new pairs hitting stores and a full-scale marketing campaign to promote them. Oakley quietly entered the women's sunglass category last year with three styles, two of which are continuing.
"We soft-launched last year with a collection, but it was really in preparation for us to go big this year," said Jennifer Bradley, Oakley's women's program manager. "The big difference [with the women's sunglass collection] is that we designed specifically for women." Oakley women's sunglasses retail from $120 to over $200, in metal, acetate and plastic models.
Prior to last year, Oakley did not make sunglasses fitted for women. Instead, the company produced unisex frames or feminine colorways of men's sunglasses. Still, certain styles, including the unisex shield Riddle released in 2005 at $120, gained a female following, suggesting to Oakley that a wider audience could be reached.
To develop the women's collection, Oakley questioned its sponsored team of women's professional athletes about their sunglass preferences. The team wore the male styles in the past and found that they slipped off during activity. To accommodate smaller female faces, Oakley narrowed the frames' bridges and shortened the temples.
"We bridge the gap between fashion and function," said Bradley. "A lot of those girls love to wear Gucci outside of what they do."
For its advertising campaign, summed up by the tag line, "Uniquely Oakley," Oakley selected members of its team with life stories that appeal to the company's customers, sporty women typically between 18 and 35 years of age. The spring campaign, which largely consists of in-store, Internet and magazine ads, features four surfers and two mountain bikers. For fall, Gretchen Bleiler, a silver medalist in the 2006 Winter Olympics, will join two other professional snowboarders in the campaign.
"We are not just looking at how great their bodies are," said Bradley. "Our approach to the campaign is to inspire people and not try to be another fashion brand, which is what a lot of other companies do. They [the athletes] would truly be Oakley girls."The company's introduction of women's sunglasses last year was one reason its optics revenues climbed nearly 19 percent, from $465.1 million in 2005 to $552.9 million in 2006. Oakley would not estimate women's sunglass sales for this year, but Bradley said the company expected "an ongoing, positive contribution from the collection."
Oakley, traditionally strong in surf and action sports stores, has made strides with its women's eyewear into retailers such as Neiman Marcus' offshoot Cusp and activewear chain Lucy that did not carry the brand in the past. Bradley believes there remains considerable room to grow in department stores and optical shops.
Adam Hoffberg, a regional manager for Optical Shop of Aspen, a high-end chain of 20 stores acquired by Oakley last year, has not seen the latest women's collection yet, but said the chain would probably pick it up to freshen its assortment. However, he doesn't expect the Oakley items to attract the following of the fashion brands the chain stocks, such as Kieselstein-Cord, Chrome Hearts, Blinde, Chanel, Gucci and Christian Dior frames, among others.
"For the most part, our customer comes into our store looking more [for] fashion. We have Oakley to offer a sports-friendly option," said Hoffberg.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty