Marc Ecko is making a play for the men’s fragrance market with the launch of his first scent, Ecko by Marc Ecko. The designer is taking the same bold approach to the beauty business as he has to the apparel and media industries.
“This isn’t the typical fashion designer fragrance brand,” said Ecko from the 23rd Street Manhattan headquarters of Marc Ecko Enterprises, the company he founded 15 years ago with little more than a handful of spray-painted T-shirts. “This is every man. My story is really an American dream, made from scratch, made from nothing but a dollar and a dream,” explained the New Jersey native. “My consumer knows my story, and that’s why I wanted the smell to feel invigorating, bright and alert. I didn’t want it to be moody or avant-garde.”
Due to hit department store counters Oct. 1, the signature scent is meant to position the brand as a genuine lifestyle resource for Ecko, who counts a dozen youth-oriented brands under the umbrella of his company in markets as widespread as media, video games and apparel. While Marc Ecko Enterprises has not emerged from the economic downturn unscathed — it sold its Avirex young men’s brand and watch trademarks in June — Ecko said the new fragrance “helps your focus on the core brands, which, in the face of a bad economy, are the ones that continue to do the best.”
For fragrance licensee Parlux, Ecko by Marc Ecko is intended to help capture a larger share of the men’s fragrance market.
“Come January, this will really be our only men’s fragrance, so a lot of energy will be going into building our men’s business,” said Neil Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Parlux Fragrances Inc., which will launch a scent from Kanye West next year, as well as a fragrance from Jay-Z in the spring. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based firm also will layer on a new men’s sport scent from Ecko in fall 2010. Said Katz: “Within the next two years, we will have four men’s fragrances, all uniquely positioned to address different segments of the men’s audience.”
Industry sources estimated that Parlux would spend roughly $15 million on the advertising and promotion of Ecko by Marc Ecko. Market sources also estimated that the new scent will generate first-year wholesale sales of $25 million.
Perfumers Vincent Kuczinski and Lois Evans of Ungerer & Co. worked with Ecko to create the aromatic fougère, which has top notes of ginger, white grapefruit, lightening accord and hyper citrus accord; a heart of violet leaves, black licorice and wild artemisia, and a drydown of static accord, tonka beans, white incense and energized musk accord.
“It was always my aspiration to get a scent that was highly wearable,” explained Ecko. “I wanted it to be like a stimulant — almost caffeinated. I wanted it to be clean and bright, but something that wasn’t so clean and soapy that it wasn’t sexy. And it was important to me that it have a semi-unisex vibe.”
The collection includes eaux de toilette in two sizes — 1.7 oz. for $55 and 3.4 oz. for $65 — as well as a 2.6-oz. deodorant stick for $19.
The sent will be available in roughly 2,000 department store doors including Macy’s, Dillard’s and Belk, and is expected to find its sweet spot with 14- to 35-year-olds.
The highly technical bottle, which Katz described as “a real challenge” to execute, was inspired by a prism that Ecko spotted in the gift shop at New York’s Museum of Natural History last year. “It was basically a triangle made out of crystal, and when I held it up, I got a reflection of myself,” said Ecko. “It was very cool that it was this interactive thing, and it was a playoff of the notion of an echo with these images bouncing off one another.”
Dale Kan of Brandology worked with Ecko to create the finished product: A sleek glass triangular bottle, which boasts a mirrored back to reflect the Marc Ecko name and signature rhino logo printed backward for a holographic effect. Said Ecko: “I wanted to do something that provided a little sense of discovery for the consumer holding it.”
Creating points of intrigue for his consumer base is nothing new for the 36-year-old, a self-described orator of youth culture, who continues to marry savvy self-promotion with irreverent marketing in his apparel, video game and multimedia divisions. And Ecko’s new scent is no exception. In addition to featuring himself shirtless alongside scantily clad models in a steamy video that will appear in-store for the new scent, Ecko teamed up with HBO and its hit series “True Blood” earlier this summer to create a vampire-themed campaign for a fictitious version of the scent, which appeared on billboards and buses in June. The ad pictured the scent’s bottle alongside a vampire about to sink his teeth into a model with the tag line, “Attract a Human.” Ecko said, “We got a billboard here in New York and out in L.A. during [pop arts convention] Comic-Con, which is exactly the sweet spot for our consumer. It was a great precursor to get a community talking about the fragrance, which has been very effective.” Ecko also operates brand-related Facebook and Twitter sites as well as a daily blog.
A traditional print campaign, shot by Tony Duran and featuring Ecko with model Tori Maisey, will break in October music and lifestyle publications, including Details, GQ, Rolling Stone, Spin and the Ecko-owned Complex magazine.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“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