WEST HOLLYWOOD — “You’re not going to believe this: I’ve worn this jean — look, you can even clean the crumbs and it’s like they have Scotchgard,” Sofía Vergara said.
It’s nearly the end of the day Friday and the actress is sitting on an upholstered bench at the end of a bed in a suite at The London hotel. She’s brushing off crumbs from a Porto’s pastry she’s just eaten before standing up to show how the skinny ankle jeans from her new collection for Walmart Inc.’s online shop haven’t bagged or lost their shape.
“I’ve worn these jeans since 10 in the morning,” she said. “They don’t stretch. I didn’t have to unbutton when I had lunch.”
The “Modern Family” actress and walmart.com today revealed the launch of a nearly 100-piece collection, priced under $40, named Sofía Jeans by Sofía Vergara. The line includes denim, sized from 0-20, in silhouettes such as an ankle skinny along with high-waisted flares and joggers, some featuring stud work, embroidery and raw edges. That’s bolstered with denim skirts and jackets, graphic T-shirts and dolman sleeve tops with cutouts and side-lace detailing. Sizing on the tops runs from XS to 3XL.
New designs will continue to be released seasonally. For Vergara’s part, building out a line that was accessible from a pricing standpoint to a mass audience was an important guide.
“I wanted to create an affordable line and I wanted to create something that was super good quality and that I would wear and I would be happy to see other girls around me wear and be proud of,” Vergara said.
The actress has exercised savvy prowess when it comes to licensing, having launched the talent management firm Latin World Entertainment in 1998 with Luis Balaguer, making her no stranger to licensing deals. Vergara’s brand extends from cosmetics and accessories to furniture and fragrance, working with companies such as Cover Girl, Head & Shoulders, the Sofía Vergara Furniture Collection for Rooms to Go, So Sofía for Kay Jewelers and Sofía by Sofía Vergara fragrance.
The actress previously had an expansive deal with Kmart that included clothing, accessories, swim, shapewear, jewelry, luggage and home products. She ended that relationship in 2015 after four years working with the retailer, telling WWD at the time the reason for the move was to focus on taking her brand more global.
Creating product for the diverse audience she’s amassed from “Modern Family” has helped shape many of the deals the actress has inked. While most of the product lines have so far reached mass audiences, she said that doesn’t necessarily mean ruling out higher end partners in the future.
“I’ve been very lucky to be in a show like ‘Modern Family,’ which is watched by so many people. Millions of people and some of the people can afford things; others not,” Vergara said. “And so I find it super fun and interesting to create stuff that looks good, has a good quality and is affordable. That’s a super fun process because you have to have taste. You have to have imagination. You have to have initiative and many other things to be able to say, ‘Oh, you know what? I buy these jeans for $300, but I can figure out a way to have it cost $29 and create the same effect in the body, in the wash. So why not?’”
Each denim style is named after a family member or friend of Vergara’s. The collection is also heavy in evil eye imagery, ranging from graphics on T-shirts to the studs and back label on the denim. The fall launch is expected to go heavier with that design element, Vergara said.
“The people that know me, know I always have evil eyes to protect me. I don’t know from what, but my mom always used to put on me little charms, evil eyes,” she said. “It’s supposed to protect from bad energy and people’s bad intentions. I have a big collection of evil eyes so I wanted to incorporate it into the line.”
The addition of Sofía Jeans by Sofía Vergara to walmart.com is part of a broader strategy by the retailer to boost its fashion offerings online and off, in an environment where many companies have leveraged data to build in-house brands, fancying themselves as platforms for a multibrand portfolio. Target in 2017 sought to revamp its product lines across apparel, accessories and home beginning with the rollout of A New Day, Goodfellow & Co., Project 62 and JoyLab. Revolve has been tapping its data for several years now to create lines such as House of Harlow 1960 x Revolve, Majorelle, GRLFRND and Raye. Los Angeles digital denim brand DSTLD is in the budding stages of doing something similar with the creation of the holding company Digital Brands Group, which saw the launch of its men’s wear brand ACE Studios and an acquisition strategy for other direct-to-consumer brands set to begin later this year.
Walmart last year continued to bolster its private label offerings with the rollout in March of the lines Time and Tru, Terra & Sky, Wonder Nation and George. Stylist Elizabeth Stewart was enlisted to help with those launches by offering styling advice.
Resources are also being deployed more specifically online to improve shopping for fashion on Walmart’s site, in recognition of the continued amount of time consumers are spending online shopping.
“Last year, we introduced our new fashion destination on Walmart.com, and I’m very excited to continue to build on that experience,” Walmart U.S. e-commerce head of fashion Denise Incandela said in a blog post Monday unveiling the deal.
Sofía Jeans by Sofía Vergara follows last year’s link with Lord & Taylor to offer more elevated lines through the Walmart online shop in addition to exclusives such as Ellen DeGeneres’ line EV1 and now Vergara’s collection.
“I shop [for] everything now on the Internet,” Vergara said. “I think that’s the future.”