Rebel Wilson received quite the education on design and product development.
The actress and comedian can now add designer to the list of roles she’s played as her capsule collection with City of Industry, Calif.-based retailer Torrid is set to debut next month.
“I’d never designed clothes before,” Wilson said of the experience. “I learned so much about lead times. You have all these deadlines so that the manufacturing can be done over in Asia and then it comes over and so you’ve got to be really organized and you’ve got to try and predict what’s popular — what colors and what styles are going to be popular nine months from when you originally designed the stuff. I also learned a lot about fabrics, what they’re made of, what makes things feel really soft.”
Wilson came in with vision boards during the initial planning meetings in which hundreds of ideas were generated. That was narrowed down to about 50 pieces that were made into prototypes.
The final limited-edition line, called Rebel for Torrid, totals 25 pieces and spans T-shirts with star and koala prints or the word “Rebel” sprawled across. There is a black sweatshirt with silver sequined stars running down the sleeves along with dressier items such as a red dress with a black lace overlay and peplum detailing, which Wilson wore at Thursday evening’s launch event held at Milk Studios in Hollywood. She did say, after all, she has one of each piece from the collection hanging in her closet.
“I got one free of all my size so I’ve just been wearing it all week,” Wilson said.
She said the line reflects all facets of her style — ranging from red carpet and urban looks to preppy in a nod to her time at an all-girls high school.
The line retails from $22.50 to $98.50 and will be sold in Torrid stores and its online store. Work is now underway for a spring collection.
Buzz around the capsule caps a busy year for the plus-size retailer, which has been focused on rapid growth and now counts more than 330 stores. It will have erected more than 80 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada by the end of the year and will open at a rate of two per week for the balance of the year.
“We thought Rebel was the perfect representative for Torrid and she had a very keen idea of what the product should look like and we love her irreverent attitude,” said Torrid chief executive officer Lisa Harper. “She owns who she is. She’s such a renaissance woman from singing to business to acting.”
She added that Rebel for Torrid will be an offering that’s consistent with the chain’s existing customer base but will certainly add buzz around the chain.
“We think it’ll expand the reach of the brand,” Harper said. “It’s one of the fastest-growing brands in the U.S. right now.…and so we think it’s going to continue to show what Torrid’s all about.”
Torrid is part of Hot Topic Inc., which has a namesake chain focused on selling mostly licensed product themed around pop culture. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners paid $600 million to take the company private in 2013.
Much of the growth now is being generated from the younger Torrid brand where the runway for expansion is larger in comparison to the more mature, 26-year-old Hot Topic chain.
“I think we’re getting more and more recognition with the [Torrid] customer base that’s out there that’s really underserved,” Harper said. “Things like the Rebel collection, they’re really responding to and we’re excited about what’s going on.”