In an effort to raise its global profile, Scotch & Soda, the Amsterdam-based contemporary brand, will participate in New York Fashion Week in February for the first time. The 30-year-old company will present its fall 2016 collection for both women and men.
Scotch & Soda has 148 boutiques around the globe with four units in New York (Lafayette Street, Bleecker Street, Broadway and Williamsburg, Brooklyn) and 20 others throughout the U.S. The collections are sold in 8,000 points of sale, including Harrods, Lane Crawford and Bloomingdale’s.
“It’s been a discovery brand for quite some time. We want to let customers and consumers get to know the brand a little better,” said Adam Kakembo, chief marketing officer of Scotch & Soda, who joined last June and is based in Amsterdam.
Kakembo said the timing was right to stage a show during NYFW and decided on a performance-based presentation at an offsite West Chelsea location. “It’s a dynamic presentation idea and needs more than one day to set up,” said Kakembo. Sixty percent of the looks will be women’s apparel and 40 percent will be men’s. This ratio is different than the company’s global breakdown, where 55 percent is men’s wear, 34 percent is women’s wear, 9 percent is kids and 2 percent is home. The reason for the women’s emphasis in the show is because it’s women’s fashion week, and the brand wants to build up its women’s business in the U.S. and globally, said Kakembo.
Scotch & Soda has had no marketing presence whatsoever, and the brand hasn’t been talking to consumers at all, said Kakembo. “We wanted to do it in our own way. New York is the right platform for us and we’ll have models and audio-visual,” he said. The fall…presentation will be aimed at press and buyers.
In the U.S., Scotch & Soda’s stores are primarily in four main markets: Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. (There are also stores in Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.) In addition to Bloomingdale’s, the line is wholesaled to many “cooler independents,” said Kakembo.
Asked to describe the Scotch & Soda customer, he said, “Our customer is the discerning guy and girl who’s looking for something slightly differentiated in the marketplace.” The line is known for its bohemian sensibility and free-spirited aesthetic. The collection, which is contemporary in price point, is designed in Amsterdam, but manufactured globally. “We’re looking to New York as a global platform,” he said. “We want to grow our wholesale business,” which will have a rub-off on the consumer.
Under the Scotch & Soda umbrella, there’s a men’s line under that label; the women’s collection is called Maison Scotch, and there’s a high-profile denim line for men and women under the Amsterdams Blauw label, which will be opening a freestanding store in Amsterdam this week.
The brand’s No. 1 market is the Netherlands, followed by Germany and the U.S., respectively. Stores are slated to open in Tokyo and Osaka in March. The company also has a robust e-commerce business. Kakembo said that business is going well this year. “We’re on track this year. Business is good for Scotch & Soda. It’s the right time in term of the brand mix. We’ve been quiet and we need to get out and talk to people.”
Scotch & Soda’s consolidated 2014/2015 revenues for the 17-month period ended in May 2015 were 423 million euros, or $465 million at current exchange.
Scotch & Soda was acquired by Sun Capital Partners Inc. in 2011 and was originally planned to operate under the company’s Kellwood Co. division. But Sun Capital rethought that decision and today, it is a stand-alone business headquartered in the Dutch city. Ari Hoffman is ceo of Scotch & Soda in the U.S., and Dirk Jan Stoppelenburg is ceo of Scotch & Soda globally.