Old Navy, in partnership with PopSugar, today launches its first tween collection, called PS x ON.

The limited-edition collection marks an attempt by Old Navy to light up a precarious coronavirus-impacted back-to-school season. The PS x ON collection has a unisex perspective and upbeat messaging reflecting a generation that today tends to be socially and culturally conscious — and apparently, rarely catered to.

“We never really had a singular focus or a collection made just for this age segment,” Octavio Tisnado, Old Navy’s vice president of kids merchandising, told WWD.

At Old Navy, a division of Gap Inc., tween styles are typically interspersed through the different categories sold on the kids floor, rather than being aggregated together.

Tisnado also characterized PS x ON as “our first real foray into a unisex collection. In terms of fleece hoodies, fleece bottoms and T-shirts for tween girls and tween boys, it’s really grounded in a unisex point of view. We developed a fit that can be shared between the two.”

“This is definitely an extension of the PopSugar brand,” added Lisa Sugar, cofounder and president of PopSugar. “Our optimistic, playful vibe comes through with the clothing. It’s very upbeat and inclusive. It’s about not giving up and making the world a better place.”

<span class="x_Apple-converted-space"> </span>A unisex appeal in the PS x ON tween line. 

The 25-piece collection, priced between $9.99 and $39.99, includes ath-leisure staples, denim, fleece hoodies and joggers in vibrant colors and graphic T-shirts featuring optimistic phrases such as, “We’re Gonna Be Alright,” “I Am the Future” and “Make the World a Better Place.” The limited-edition capsule collection is “for all shapes, sizes and genders” and targets ages 10 to 13. All the items have PS x ON labels and hangtags.

PS x ON was designed with the help of three influencers — Kheris Rogers, a designer; Jensen Gering, a musician and athlete, and Alize Lee, a gymnast. While sheltering in, the influencers provided insights, content and style inspiration for the collection including the unisex idea, based on trends their peers regularly seek — comfort, inclusivity, positivity, social impact and a nod to Nineties nostalgia. The three influencers are serving as “ambassadors” for the PS x ON campaign, “Radiate Good Vibes.”

“With the influencers we brought into this program, much of the conversation centered on shopping both girls and boys departments, was whether they were a girl or a boy,” Tisnado said. “These three incredible kids also had input on color, graphics and content.”

Considered a limited-edition collection for back-to-school, if PS x ON is a strong seller, it could extend further into the future. The collection is available online on oldnavy.com, and will be in all 1,200 or so Old Navy stores in the U.S. and Canada in August.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Sugar said. “The collection is very comfortable, great for self expression and great for the end of summer.” It furthers PopSugar’s licensing efforts, which have included collaborations with Ulta, Amazon and Kohl’s.

<span class="x_Apple-converted-space"> </span>Upbeat messaging, from the PS x ON collection. 

Old Navy stores are being rigged with PS x ON spaces with unique fixturing just in front of the kids area in a middle aisle for good exposure. Old Navy’s kids departments generally reside toward the back of stores.

“We reworked the in-store experience to bring the collection together in a dedicated section. It’s a pretty significant part of our floor,” Tisnado said.

Aside from the PS x ON collection, Tisnado said there’s continuity to Old Navy’s overall kids assortment for back-to-school. “We’re just making sure we stand for comfort and fashion, items that bridge school or home.”

In conjunction with the launch, PopSugar and Old Navy have a series of philanthropic tie-ins with the Boys & Girls Club of American + Canada.

Asked what tweens want and need these days, Sugar replied, “I have a couple of in my house. They mostly want to see their friends, they are trying to not be scared and still be kids and find ways to stay active and express themselves. They spend a lot of time on social platforms. They’re on TikTok, doing duet dances.”

<span class="x_Apple-converted-space"> </span>The unisex look of tween collection PS x ON.