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Carmelo “Melo” Anthony — NBA All-Star. Olympic gold medalist. Father. And designer?
Anthony has teamed with Macy’s and Nickelodeon on an active line of boys’ apparel and accessories inspired by what he loves as much as a winning three-point swish — the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The capsule collection of graphic T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, pajama sets, socks, basketballs — and an over-the-door basketball hoop so that kids can show off their inner Melo — will make its debut in early May exclusively at all Macy’s stores and on macys.com, ahead of the release of the sixth “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie in June. As currently planned, the line is temporary, with products available at Macy’s until they sell out.
The New York Knicks forward said he unleashed his hidden design talent for the project. “I was basically involved in the whole creative process — the colors, which are kind of obvious considering they’re turtles, and the slogan, and the textures. I was involved in every step. We really took our time to narrow it down and figure out what we wanted. I feel good about all the pieces.”
His name will be on many of the products, in a few iterations. Some items will say TMNT x Melo; others, Turtles x Melo, however, the full name of the collection is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Melo. Prices will range from $20 to $35.
Anthony isn’t up for a Council of Fashion Designers of America award just yet, but he does see the possibilities in fashion. “I do believe there is an opportunity in the future to design, with collaborations,” he said.
Fashion is not such a long shot, Anthony suggested, noting his designer experience extends to the Jordan brand at Nike, with a sneaker he worked on. He’s had other deals as well, including Foot Locker, Samsung, Haute Watches and Jeep.
“Carmelo is truly a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fanatic,” said Durand Guion, Macy’s vice president and fashion director of men’s and kids. “In our initial conversations we were fascinated to learn how truly fanatical he is.”
For Anthony, the Macy’s deal is a welcome lift in a dismal season for the Knicks.
For Macy’s, which also hasn’t had the best winter season, the deal represents a furthering of its strategy to create exclusive collections tied to celebrities — which already include lines from Heidi Klum, Ryan Seacrest, Martha Stewart and Mexican soap star Thalia Sodi — and to further capitalize on activewear, which is currently among the store’s stronger categories. “It’s been such an explosive category really across the store, especially in boys,” said Guion. Tying an active lifestyle label for boys with Anthony and the upcoming “TMNT” movie “really seemed like a perfect match.”
Nickelodeon and Macy’s have partnered in the past, mostly on marketing initiatives such as including the TMNT in the Thanksgiving Day parade. Macy’s has also partnered with Nickelodeon on SpongeBob SquarePants, but Macy’s said partnering with Anthony is the first collaboration with Nickelodeon of its scale.
“For me, this is a big moment,” said Anthony. “I grew up on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so to be able to partner on a boys’ collection with Nickelodeon and Macy’s goes beyond my wildest dreams. As a kid, they were one of the first cartoons I gravitated to.”
The crime-fighting band of anthropomorphic turtles named after four Renaissance Italian artists is something kids, teenagers and adults can all get into, said Anthony who, when he’s off court, watches the TMNT on television and in the movies with his son. “They resonate with everybody. Part of the appeal is that each one of the turtles has a different personality.”
He’s really looking forward to the sequel since he has a role in it. “I play myself” in a cameo, he says. “Of course, when you are on the set shooting, it feels way much longer,” Melo said. He hasn’t seen the final edited version so he couldn’t say how long he’s on screen. He’s been on the “Nurse Jackie” TV series as a professional baseball player going through drug rehab. Along with Dwight Howard and Scottie Pippen, he appeared in the 2013 film “Amazing,” a venture between the NBA and Shanghai Film Group Corp., and in 2014, Anthony did a cameo as a henchman in the final season of “Sons of Anarchy.”
As far as his Macy’s role, Anthony said it is “to be determined” whether he will be appearing at the store to promote the line.
Pam Kaufman, chief marketing officer and president, consumer products, Nickelodeon, which owns the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, said, “Melo had a lot of input into the collection. Also, Macy’s team of buyers gave us a lot of guidance in terms of the kind of the products and the licensees to work with. It was a group effort.”