The apparel manufacturer is set to launch an e-tail store called Mason & Belle, a country-inspired fashion brand and Web site slated to go live in early August.
Mason & Belle is geared to the country girl’s point of view, combining junior fashion with a down-to-earth attitude. The site was conceived, developed and will be managed by Kellwood’s in-house e-commerce team led by Elton Graham, vice president of e-commerce. The site took six months to develop and provides Kellwood with the opportunity to connect directly with the consumer from brand conception to product delivery. Graham, who joined Kellwood in November 2012, previously headed e-commerce for Nasty Gal and held e-commerce roles at James Perse, Shopzilla and Wet Seal.
According to Lynn Shanahan, chief executive officer of Kellwood, the launch of Mason & Belle is a great opportunity to capitalize on Kellwood’s fast-fashion capabilities, digital expertise and experience in brand marketing, with such brands as Rebecca Taylor, XOXO and Sam Edelman, a young contemporary line that launches at retail in August. The company didn’t renew its licensing agreement with David Meister, the high-end eveningwear and dress company, this spring.
Mason & Belle’s new e-tail store is the first in a series of anticipated moves by Kellwood to reach niche consumer segments.
“Mason & Belle is 100 percent digital, and is an online venue that communicates directly with a customer who identifies herself with country tastes, tones and values,” said Graham. The target customer is a woman aged 18 to 28. The collection includes dresses, tops, denim shorts, bottoms and outerwear retailing from $29 to $89. The site will also sell jewelry and boots. Masonbelle.com will be the only place where the line will be available.
Key looks include embroidered rope-stitch skinny jeans, peasant tops, overlay lace tanks, Aztek tops, Aztek babydoll tanks, cargo capris, belted ruffle top dresses, Navajo open-back tanks, embroidered peasant tops and rope-stitch jean shorts. The collection is produced in Asia and designed by Kellwood’s in-house team in City of Industry, Calif.
Graham noted that with the growth of technology, consumers are searching out and discovering things on their own. “We can test and build this concept without operating stores,” he said. After conducting consumer research, the company found thousands of women on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sharing this country lifestyle, but no one was directly talking to them. “That’s how we formulated our concept of Mason & Belle. It’s a country lifestyle-inspired young women’s apparel brand,” he said.
One element of the site will be strong visuals of apparel and inspirational photography reflecting the country lifestyle. Everything on the site is shareable. “It can’t just about sharing products, but sharing the conversation,” said Graham. Masonbelle.com is designed to look “very blogger-esque” and is taking a non-traditional digital approach. Graham said they went into the communities online so see what these girls are blogging about. “We researched what they thought was valuable, their tastes in music, in fashion, what artists they were following. We want to reflect that back to them online,” he said. Mason & Belle launched its own blog this week. The site won’t play music, but might link to embedded music, said Graham.
The way they came up with the name, Mason & Belle was to capture the aspects of two distinct personalities. One is Mason, who is more tomboyish and enjoys sports and the local bar on the weekends and the other is Belle, who is the softer side of that woman and more romantic and loves a sense of adventure, said Graham.
New products will be delivered monthly, and the site will be refreshed weekly, said Shanahan. The site will launch with 250 styles. Fulfillment will take place in City of Industry. Currently the site is domestic only, but it has the capability to go international. She declined to give a first-year sales projection.
Graham said the company plans to work with the blogger communities for the launch and will have a full digital media buy.
Mason & Belle is operated at Kellwood Western Region, the company’s largest operational unit based in City of Industry. That unit is headed by Marc Babin, who joined in April as president. Previously he was senior vice president of strategic sourcing and product development at Destination Maternity, and earlier was senior vice president, product development, sourcing and production for Aéropostale. Babin, who reports to Shanahan, is responsible for Kellwood’s global supply chain including technical design, strategic sourcing, production, customer service, logistics and distribution management. Kellwood is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners Inc.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)