Bonobos proved to be a brand on the move this week, kicking off a retail partnership with Belk and making some fresh additions to its shirt business, a category coming into its own at a company built on bottoms.
Belk opened seven shops-in-shop dedicated to the brand, including a 550-square-foot space adjacent to Vineyard Vines and across from Ralph Lauren at its Southpark Mall store in Charlotte, N.C. Bonobos’ other Belk outposts are in Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Huntsville, Ala., and Nashville. Another shop will open in Dallas in April.
“We were thoughtful in terms of distribution — it’s the eight best locations,” brand president Brad Andrews told WWD. “It’s a chance to work with a great partner, but it gives us exposure to a region that we’re a little underpenetrated in, which is the South.” He said the shops-in-shop would help the brand bring in new customers and provide insight into where the company might someday open its own stores.
On a national scale, Nordstrom is still Bonobos’ largest wholesale account. The retailer invested in the company in 2012 and will carry it in all of its 117 full-line stores by this summer.
The two department stores carry different assortments of the brand. Nordstrom is more item-focused and started with a few key pieces such as the chino and Weekday Warrior pants and has since added woven shirts. Belk carries more of a “collection,” and Andrews likens the variety available to consumers as a mini version of bonobos.com or one of its Guideshops.
The company also launched the Dress Code marketing campaign on Thursday, adding “slim tailored” shirts to its offerings, which already included standard and slim fits. Each of the three cuts has three collar options — the point, the semi-spread and the spread — as well as two fabrications, the $98 wrinkle-free Daily Grind and the $138 Americano (all fabric from the latter comes from Italian mills).
“We had a wild year in tops [in 2013],” said chief executive officer Andy Dunn.
He pointed out that the category went from 10 percent of the overall business in 2010 to 25 percent in 2013, and projected that shirts will become a third of the business this year. Pants, the foundation of the company, went from 70 percent of sales in 2010 to 45 percent last year as the shirt business grew. Last year, casual woven shirts, sweaters and dress shirts saw sales growth of 180 percent, 170 percent and 130 percent, respectively.
Dress shirts accounted for a relatively small portion of the business last year — just a quarter of the size of casual shirts — but Dunn and Andrews expect that to change. The company estimates sales for dress shirts will multiply three-and-a-half times in 2014, while the suiting and blazer business doubles, with an emphasis on slim suiting. The brand declined to comment on projected sales overall.
“From a strategy standpoint, you can count the powerful men’s wear brands that are relevant for casual and tailored [clothing],” Andrews said. “This is the year we ‘show up.’ It’s been a good business for us, [but we’re] trying to make it a great business.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews