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.
“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