It’s exclusive to QVC, and with Wednesday’s launch on QVC.com and the QVC apps, J Jason Wu will offer 12 styles including mix-and-match staples such as jackets, sweaters and blouses, as well as “everyday” jumpsuits, hoodies and dresses.
True to the Wu DNA, custom prints and unique fabric development are signatures in the collection. So is versatility, so outfits can be dressed up or dressed down.
All of the items will be offered in sizes 5X to XXS (32 to 0), in line with the long-standing philosophy of QVC and its parent Qurate Retail Inc. to be inclusive with its fashion offerings. Prices for J Jason Wu will range from $44 to $120, and an item is priced the same regardless of its size.
QVC has offered sizing from XXS to 3X for more than 30 years and has committed to providing all apparel to include 5X, as well as regular, tall, or petite inseams. The special-size marketplace has become increasingly competitive and vocal about inclusivity and body positivity. The days of plus sizes and petites being relegated to the far corners of department stores and a handful of mediocre specialty chains and catalogues have passed, with the rise of brands and retailers with modern, relevant images, such as Aerie, Universal Standard and Eloquii, while Target, J. Crew, Nike and Athleta, among other brands, continue to expand their size offerings.
Wu himself is known for democratic sizing and creating clothes that help women feel powerful and feminine. “People know me for dressier, glamorous styles for sure, but with QVC, I wanted people to see the more casual side of me,” Wu said in an interview Monday from Tulum, Mexico, a place he loves and from where he draws creative inspiration.
“J Jason Wu is definitely a lot more casual than anything I’ve done before,” said Wu. “It’s not only a different price point from my other two collections, which are both positioned at a luxury price point, but there’s a very different feel. It’s not only inspired by the DNA of my brand, but also myself. There is a black hoodie with a satin back in the collection. People often see me in a hoodie. It’s my uniform. Translating my personal uniform to women’s wear, that’s kind of fun. I don’t have the opportunity to do that as much in my other collections.”
The debut J Jason Wu line is almost entirely separates, said Wu. “That’s very important now because people are doing a lot of Zoom calls. Separates are really versatile. There are over a dozen styles, and everything is in at least three to four colors.
“I’m not trying to offer everything under the sun. I’m offering items that are meaningful. It’s wear-now merchandise,” Wu added, citing one of his favorites pieces from the collection, the faux leather trench. He also called out the “cozy” knitwear, and a double-faced knit coat. “People should be able to shop in season. That’s becoming more important.”
Wu, whose sophisticated designs have sold across the spectrum of stores from Target to Bergdorf Goodman, two years ago collaborated with Eloquii on plus sizes. “That set me up to know how to execute garments proportioned for plus. That’s what I’ve brought to this collaboration with QVC.”
He said designing plus sizes isn’t any more challenging than other sizes. “It’s just different proportions.”
He also said creating plus-sized clothes isn’t any more expensive than other sizes, despite requiring more fabric. Prices can be kept down even with detailing and workmanship. “With international sourcing, we are able to do a lot. In the end, it is a very different kind of product,” with subtler details, from Wu’s other collection. “We’re not making ballgowns.”
On Friday at 9 p.m., Wu will make his debut on QVC. “This is very interesting. I am actually speaking directly to my customer. That has become a big topic this year — how to reach consumers directly.
“In today’s market, it’s important to be available to different customers around the world. I think to play at the luxury level and work with QVC to reach a much broader audience is considerably modern. I love it.”
He’ll be Skyping in from his New York studio for Friday’s show. “I’ll give the customer a context of how and why I create. It will be me speaking from home interacting with a host. I’m definitely not the most technically savvy, and QVC has a lot of tech guidelines, but they’re a leader in reaching people.
“This is all a little bit new for me,” Wu acknowledged. “I am presenting live and going to see a reaction from customers right away. People will call in. Many will watch on their app. We will see pretty quickly how customers are reacting to what I am offering. I’m really excited about the prospect of reaching that next level of interaction with customers.”
“Jason has always been on our wish list of collaborating with people capable of surprising and delighting our customers and rounding out assortments,” Rachel Ungaro, vice president and general merchandise manager of QVC and HSN, told WWD last week. “Jason’s collaboration with Eloquii caught our eye, and we were fortunate enough to have someone in common who put us together.”
Ungaro said it took almost a year to bring J Jason Wu to fruition, but when they first sat down together, “It felt right.…There had to be a bond and a common desire. Jason understands how to dress women of all sizes — that was one of the things I found most endearing. He is super involved in this project. He’s an artist. His prints are spectacular. He’s meticulous about wanting the garments to fit a certain way,” Ungaro said.
Every item in the collection had to meet his approval, she said, noting that Wu has been working with QVC’s internal design and sourcing teams and that a spring 2021 J Jason Wu collection is already in the works.
“An understanding of his brand and his understanding of the QVC customer has been very important,” Ungaro said. “He wants it to be very special, to really embody luxury with a beautiful sense of sophistication. Jason is really meticulous about detail, and made sure we could capture that.”
For the spring 2021 J Jason Wu collection in development, “There will be a floral theme, a beautiful rose print, and a lot of print mixing going forward,” Wu said.
J Jason Wu, said the designer, “has all of the DNA of Jason Wu, though the line stands on its own. I’m not interested in repeating what I do. I don’t like to duplicate my designs. Every project for me is special. It’s not about a price point or positioning. Every collection deserves my time and effort in the same way. I never just water down something I have done.”
With each collection Wu creates, “Every season, we take her [the customer] to somewhere different, whether it’s a mood, a place, or an inspiration.”