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This holiday season, Cynthia Rowley fans need not limit themselves to the selection in her 60 freestanding stores — they can buy virtual products from the designer starting Wednesday.
This story first appeared in the December 21, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Rowley shoppers will be able to choose from a jacket, dress, earrings and a branded backdrop that can be purchased in the virtual world Meez. There, consumers suit up their avatars and customize their spaces while interacting online. Each design will launch for less than $10.
“It’s been incredible to see my designs morph into these consumable avatars,” Rowley said. “The prints and embellishments still read in the digital format, so the products feel really true to life.”
With more than 8 million registered users, whose ages range from tweens to young adults, the Meez community can be accessed via iPhone, iPad and Android platforms.
Nike, Sony and Cover Girl are a few of the brands that have a presence through Meez, which has a mostly U.S. base, as well as users in Canada, the U.K., the Philippines and Brazil.
Meez takes Cynthia’s designs and adapts them to digital avatars. Virtual Greats is the go-between for the deals. In recent months, Rowley has made more of a push to appeal to a decidedly younger consumer base. Aside from designing limited edition bandages for Band-Aid, she teamed with Pampers, a division of Procter & Gamble Co., to launch fashion-inspired diapers at Target last summer. The designer’s latest partnership is meant to woo tech-savvy tweens.
“Our move into virtual products presents our commitment to provide Cynthia Rowley products to the broadest consumer base,” said Peter Arnold, president of Cynthia Rowley. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to expand into new demographic markets.”
With consumer avatars gaining popularity, Rowley intends to create a new niche for fashion distribution and consumption. The designer label is already in talks with other sites about launching more products next year.