VF Corp. will open three innovation centers — dedicated to new frontiers in technical apparel, footwear and jeans — during the first half of 2014.
The company will establish the technical apparel facility in Alameda, Calif., home of The North Face; the jeanswear center in Greensboro, N.C., home of the parent firm and the Wrangler brand, and the footwear base in Stratham, N.H., the home of Timberland. The centers will be staffed with teams of scientists, engineers, technical designers and other key talent.
Bob Shearer, senior vice president and chief financial officer of VF, told WWD that the centers are likely to be situated in buildings apart from VF’s existing physical plants. “This is in addition to the product-development people we already have working for our brands,” he said. “This is a bit longer term — looking down the road a few years — and, while ultimately this is all about generating revenues and improving our gross margin, we want the centers to be independent.”
Shearer said the centers are seen as providing a good deal of cross-pollination, with developments for one product category often being applicable to others, and that VF’s coalition and brand executives are expected to “commission” ideas to solve specific consumer needs.
“We’ve understood for a long time that consumers are willing to pay more for something that’s new and innovative,” he said. “Whether it’s the way that the product looks or the way it performs, innovation gets people to open up their wallets, especially in tougher economic climates.”
With 2012 sales of $10.9 billion and projected sales of $17.3 billion by 2017, VF is the largest U.S.-based apparel supplier and has been on something of an innovation tear for the past three years.
“In 2010, we first laid out our vision for the role that innovation would play in VF’s growth,” said Eric Wiseman, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The move is critical to advancing our journey as it gives us a competitive advantage in the apparel industry. We will fully leverage what we learn by sharing output from the innovation centers across our 30-plus brands.”
At the same meeting, Stephen Dull, VF’s vice president of strategy and innovation, said that ideas developed since the 2010 innovation commitment have already resulted in $400 million in annual sales and are seen expanding to $1.6 billion in revenues over the next three years.
Among recent innovations already launched or about to be shipped are Flash Dry and Thermoball moisture-management products from The North Face, Lee’s Shapetastic offerings, Wrangler’s modification of its MWZ 13 cowboy jeans, Slim Illusion technology at Seven For All Mankind and fire-resistant apparel with better comfort characteristics in its Bulwark career apparel assortment. Although principally dependent on third parties for production, VF manufactures about 500 million units a year and operates 32 plants of its own.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)