Jenny from the Block is back in fashion.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Jennifer Lopez, along with her husband, Marc Anthony, will today unveil a new lifestyle fashion venture with Kohl’s, multiple sources told WWD. The superstar couple is slated to be front and center at a press conference on the rooftop of the London Hotel in Los Angeles this morning, where they will join Kohl’s Corp. executives to publicize the partnership, which includes Hong Kong-based sourcing giant Li & Fung on the production side.
The deal, which likely extends beyond men’s and women’s apparel to other categories, such as home, could eventually generate up to $3 billion in sales, added sources.
The Kohl’s deal marks a return to the fashion business for Lopez since she shuttered her Sweetface contemporary sportswear brand in 2009. This new deal marries Lopez and Anthony with the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based department store retailer that operates 1,089 stores in 49 states. The duo will join Kohl’s stable of exclusive brands that include Simply Vera Vera Wang, Candie’s, Daisy Fuentes, Tony Hawk, LC Lauren Conrad and Avril Lavigne’s Abbey Dawn.
Also in the mix is Li & Fung, which has been aggressively pursuing deals in the branded space. In July, the company revealed the creation of a new company with Star Branding, called MESH, or Music Entertainment Sports Holdings, which focuses on developing lifestyle brands related to those celebrity-driven worlds. Star Branding’s partners include Tommy and Andy Hilfiger, Bernt Ullmann (a former president of Phat Fashions) and Joe Lamastra. Both Andy Hilfiger and Lamastra were partners with Lopez in Sweetface Fashions, the company that developed her previous apparel lines.
While Lopez has been absent from the apparel zone in the last year, she’s been anything but AWOL in the style arena. This October, she launched a new women’s scent, called Love and Glamour, with licensee Coty. Since 2002, Lopez has developed 16 fragrances (including flankers and limited editions) that have rung up more than $1 billion in sales, including her first pioneering scent, Glow by JLo.
“For me, whenever I get involved with something, I get really involved. Every business that I do get involved with is something that is superclose to my heart,” Lopez told WWD about the launch of Love and Glamour.
In October, Gucci launched a print campaign for its new children’s fashion line featuring Lopez and her two-year-old twins, Max and Emme. In connection with the campaign, Gucci donated $1 million to UNICEF and $50,000 to the Maribel Foundation, a charity founded by Lopez and her sister, Lynda, that is focused on health care for children and mothers around the world.
Lopez — whose star turn in 1997’s “Selena” biopic and subsequent chart-topping album “On the 6” in 1999 catapulted her to both Hollywood and music stardom — first got into the fashion arena with the 2001 launch of her JLo by Jennifer Lopez label, under the aegis of Sweetface Fashions.
A roster of licenses quickly followed suit. In 2002, Lopez herself inked an eyewear license with Denver-based Outlook Eyewear Co., and in 2003 Sweetface added an intimate apparel license with the Warnaco Group Inc. and a jewelry license with Miriam Haskell.
The same year, the company launched the younger, sportier Sweetface label during the holiday season, as an offshoot of JLo by Jennifer Lopez. By 2004, Sweetface Fashions and its various licenses were generating a reported $400 million in sales. In 2005, Lopez debuted at New York Fashion Week with a high-wattage runway show for her JLo by Jennifer Lopez collection.
However, in 2007, Sweetface Fashions pulled the plug on JLo by Jennifer Lopez and replaced it with a brand called justsweet, which catered to the junior market. The Sweetface brand was positioned as a higher-end contemporary label.
“Five years ago, I had a lot to learn about this business,” Lopez told WWD at the time about the launch of justsweet. “And as I learned, I became more involved in the day-to-day. Now I am in the office all the time. I was there every single day, going over every tiny detail. As I got through the learning curve, I became more involved and will continue to be.”
However, in 2008, the company did another about-face, closing justsweet and relaunching JLO by Jennifer Lopez exclusively as an e-commerce play at ShopJLo.com.
At that time, there were also 17 freestanding JLO stores in Russia and former Soviet Union countries and eight in Greece. By last year, Lopez and Sweetface had exited all its apparel businesses.