Sherman Oaks, Calif. — Cherokee is linking with Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio to bring to market a midrange lifestyle brand, Alé by Alessandra, set to make its debut in spring 2014.
Starting with apparel pieces ranging from casual to day-into-evening, Alé is aimed at the 18- to 35-year-old looking for clothes that emulate Ambrosio’s Brazil-meets-Malibu-by-way-of-Europe style.
For the $924 million brand marketing company based here, a pioneer of the direct-to-retail licensing model, Alé, created by Ambrosio’s company Silver Sunrise, represents new territory in that it is not owned by Cherokee and was created from the outset as a global-personality-driven brand that will roll out first in Latin America.
In addition to its namesake brand, Cherokee owns Sideout, Carole Little, Liz Lange and Completely Me, the last two of which were acquired from Bluestar Alliance last September. Its retail network extends to 45 countries, and while none of its current retail partners will be carrying Alé, the company has plans to partner with well-known department stores and specialty chains worldwide.
“It’s not typical for Cherokee to get involved in representation; we usually market our owned brands, but we felt the work [Silver Sunrise] had done was very compelling, extremely well thought out and not designed as a short-term concept. Based on what they presented to us we really believed in it,” said Henry Stupp, the firm’s chief executive officer, of his first meeting with Ambrosio four months ago.
For her part, Ambrosio said, “This is not a hobby for me. I’ve been a fashion model for 15 years and designing is just an extension of my career. I still plan on modeling lingerie, but at the same time this is a business transition that I plan to have around for a long time.”
The model and mother of two was recently named number six on Forbes’ list of top model earners from May 2011 to May 2012 with an income of $6.6 million.
Taking cues from Cindy Crawford and Kathy Ireland, she plans to use her modeling fan base and earnings as the foundation for a lifestyle empire. “I know what I like and what I want to see. I want to be satisfied just as much as the customer. I’m creating a brand that’s everything that I am passionate about and have experience in, from growing up in Brazil, traveling around the world and moving here five years ago,” said Ambrosio.
She named Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana and John Galliano as designers she has learned from while modeling. The Alé sketches reflect her love of boho chic, body-conscious and colorful clothes with a beachy vibe. From tunic, mini and maxidresses to shorts, stretchy slim pants and cropped jackets, the pieces are similar to styles she is often spotted in on red carpets and off-duty at the Malibu Country Mart.
“It’s about having a well-designed product with unique DNA that speaks of who Alessandra is. We are very fortunate she has an opinion. Sometimes in these situations, [the personality or celebrity] is not sure what they want, and knowing what you want is half the battle. Building a team to take her vision and turn it into commercially sellable product is what we’ve done,” said Stupp.
Stupp, who has engineered something of a turnaround at Cherokee during his two-year tenure, plans to amp up business even more with Alé.
“We are looking at the middle market for this brand because, all over the world, it’s the fastest-growing area and it’s not being properly addressed. So we’re putting a lot of thought into every item so it’s not a one-off piece of poor quality. The customer wants something fashionable and affordable that will last from season to season,” he said.
Cherokee has built a dedicated team of designers, print and textile specialists to create the looks, and plans to leverage its global network of suppliers and retailers to get quality product at a quicker rate. “Rather than have each country have their own supply and interpretation, this brand is being designed from the beginning as a global opportunity and we are building all of the product in collaboration with our selected retail partners or licensees to ensure that we can get scale, which is really important when you are building a brand,” he said.
As for how much he hopes Alé will sell in its first year, Stupp said, “It’s too early to tell and we’re not in a rush. I think it will be a little slower than the Camuto-Jessica Simpson growth because the U.S. is really saturated right now, so we will be extremely selective of how we roll out our strategy here. Obviously Latin America is a key market and our first point of entrance so we want to make sure we are strongest there and then we will slowly expand.”
Future brand extensions include jewelry, accessories, sunglasses, swim and fragrance.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye