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TORONTO — Kendall and Kylie Jenner are embarking on their first design collaboration with a Canadian retailer.

The sisters have signed an exclusive long-term agreement with fast-fashion retailer Ardene of Montreal to jointly create an ongoing series of capsule collections designed to cater to Generation Z.

“Our core Generation Z customer is connected to social media celebrities. With this collaboration we hope to bring our product offering to a new level and exceed customer expectations,” said Ardene’s chief operating officer Mark Dervishian.

Earlier this week, more than 250 Ardene stores, ardene.com and its three U.S. locations — including its newest on Staten Island — unveiled an inaugural summer capsule collection for teens and twentysomethings featuring 77 fashion-forward tops, hoodies, bodysuits, shorts, frayed skirts, denim, swimwear and footwear priced from 14.90 to 59.90 Canadian dollars.

Tying all this together is the duality of the Jenner sisters’ personal fashion style, which spans from classic, feminine silhouettes to a more eclectic edge.

“Our Generation Z customer is always looking to celebrities for inspiration. But the Kendall + Kylie brand brings a different and unique perspective on style and allows our customers to explore that in ways that are affordable,” said Ardene brand manager Elisabeth Couture.

The Jenners’ brand also has “a distinct L.A. style that aligns with us and is inspirational for our customer base,” added Sophie Beauchamp, Ardene’s senior director of marketing and visuals.

Yet “what is really most important here is that this is a design collaboration,” Couture said. “We’re not just buying product and putting it on our shelves.”

This is the second collaboration between Ardene and social influencers. In late 2017, the 36-year-old, family-run outfit joined forces with YouTube personality LaurDIY for a sleepwear collection.

According to Dervishian, these previous experiences with influencers and licensed partnerships have given him every reason to believe that Ardene’s exclusive collaboration with Kendall + Kylie “will be a huge success.”

“We look for partners who are both known and relatable to our customers. But we’re also looking for partnerships that will bring new customers to our stores, with the goal of expanding our reach to a broader demographic and enriching our brand experience,” Dervishian told WWD.

More celebrity partnerships are in the works for Ardene, which started in 1982 as an accessories and jewelry retailer. Since then Ardene has expanded into Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The company opened its first U.S. store in 2015 and will add to its Boston, Albany and Staten Island, N.Y., sites with launches throughout New York and New Jersey this year and beyond.

Yet social media, pop culture, fashion and beauty are clearly impacting the evolution of Ardene’s 400-plus stores, its growing e-commerce business, and ongoing international expansion.

“We do have plans for more expansions across Canada. But the goal in 2018 is to increase Ardene’s store footprint to 10,000 square feet,” Couture said.

These large-format, bricks-and-mortar concepts will include more digital elements to better serve customers with such elements as LED screens, phone charging stations and Instagram-friendly photo booths.

Indeed, coupled with its celebrity alliances Ardene’s social strategy is all part of giving Generation Z what it needs to shop.

“Generation Z consumers are anything but beige,” Couture said. “They’re bold. They’re expressive. But they also expect to be immersed in a brand experience and be offered new ways to be like the celebrities they admire and follow.”

 

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