Don’t dare say that Ellen DeGeneres is a snob.
The talk show host continues to expand her apparel and footwear empire, but this time, she’s taking an egalitarian approach and partnering with retail giant Walmart Inc. for a women’s brand called EV1 that will bow in September.
In 2014, DeGeneres started her journey as a designer with ED by Ellen DeGeneres, a lifestyle collection consisting of home decor, clothing, footwear and gift items. For ED, which initially launched online, DeGeneres worked with J. Christopher Burch, founder and chief executive officer of Burch Creative Capital and founder of the now-defunct C. Wonder. ED found its way to some of the highest echelons of style, including Bergdorf Goodman, where a pop-up shop opened in 2015.
The EV1 brand will be exclusive to Walmart, which has a multiyear agreement with the television personality. The duration of the contract wasn’t revealed.
EV1 will bow with nearly 60 items, including T-shirts, footwear, accessories and iconic American denim, which forms the core of the collection.
“We, along with Ellen, wanted to make a line that worked for everyone [hence, the name, EV1],” said Denise Incandela, head of fashion, Walmart e-commerce U.S. “Designed to be effortlessly stylish, EV1 was inspired by Ellen’s own confidence and optimism. Think T-shirts with inspirational sayings, elevated denim and fantastic sneakers.”
The offerings aren’t far from the on-air uniform of a tailored pantsuit and sneakers that DeGeneres pioneered on her NBC show. While the Hollywood star is known for her sneaker habit, DeGeneres doesn’t wear her own products exclusively. She has, on occasion, stepped up her style quotient, and rocked a pair of, say, Yeezy Boost 350s, as she did on a 2016 episode of “The Ellen Show.”
EV1’s democratic size range encompasses XS to 3XL, 0 to 20 for denim and 5 to 12 for footwear, which will be available online only. Prices start at $9 for totes and go up to $30 for sneakers.
The full EV1 assortment will be available on walmart.com, with new items introduced seasonally. A selection of EV1 products will be sold at more than 2,300 Walmart stores beginning on Sept. 10.
“We’ve been having a ton of fun developing the new line — it is Ellen, after all,” Incandela said, adding, “EV1 is cool, fun and accessible.”
“Adorableness. Is that a word?” DeGeneres said about the brand. “The biggest inspiration was actually inclusiveness. That’s definitely a word. EV1 promotes kindness and love and diversity. We wanted it to appeal and be available to as many people as possible. Plus, it really is adorable.
“The launch of EV1 is one of many steps we’re taking to establish walmart.com as a fashion destination,” Incandela said. “This year, we’ve been hard at work transforming the fashion experience on walmart.com.”
Incandela was no doubt referring to walmart.com’s Premium Brands shop, which in May launched a Lord & Taylor storefront. In May, the retail behemoth also introduced a new specialty shopping experience that involved redesigning the apparel section of the e-commerce site so customers can browse and discover the assortment.
“With the foundation now laid,” Incandela said, “we’re excited to focus on broadening our fashion assortment.”