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Singer Taylor Swift may have found her fashion prince.
The 19-year-old country singer, whose album “Fearless” has topped the charts for the last seven weeks and includes the hit single “Love Story,” has linked up with Jones Apparel Group’s L.E.I. brand to be the face of its spring and fall ad campaign. The line is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.
This story first appeared in the January 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But that’s only part of the deal.
In meetings with the team at L.E.I., Swift expressed interest in launching her own apparel line. L.E.I. executives developed a plan to help Swift come out with a small collection of sundresses — an item that has become her signature. The result is a one-season collection of colorful cotton spring dresses called L.E.I. Sundresses by Taylor Swift, shipping to Wal-Mart stores on Feb. 1.
“We looked at partnering with many different people,” said Jack Gross, group chief executive officer for the jeanswear division at Jones. “Since we are partners with Wal-Mart, it was very important for us to find someone with a good reputation and someone who we didn’t have to be afraid of getting any sort of bad press.”
Swift, he said, seemed like a perfect match.
“She is so famous, but really so grounded,” he said. “We liked her immediately.”
Gross declined to give volume projections and Wal-Mart officials couldn’t be reached Wednesday.
For the February delivery, there will be three styles — a tie-back dress, printed tie-back dress and printed tier dress. Two additional styles are planned for a March 1 delivery. All dresses will retail for $14.
“It was very important for me to create cute, affordable dresses,” Swift said. “Especially in these hard times, making expensive dresses just doesn’t make any sense.”
Swift said she plans to wear the dresses throughout the spring and summer, as well as when she’s on tour.
“These are my favorite things to wear,” she said. “When we were designing them, we had so many ideas to work from, and it came down to creating dresses that I would wear. If I couldn’t see myself wearing them, I wasn’t interested in making them.”
And as for Wal-Mart, Swift said she is truly a dedicated shopper.
“I go to Wal-Mart all the time,” she said. “The one in my hometown of Hendersonville, Tenn., is open 24 hours, so I go there a lot to buy DVDs and stuff like that.”