It ain’t just for cowboys anymore.
Wrangler, a brand created initially for the professional rodeo cowboy, is now cozying up to the high-fashion community.
Last month, the brand opened a six-week-long pop-up at Fred Segal’s Los Angeles flagship to showcase a capsule collection of modern interpretations of archival pieces from four pivotal times in its history: 1919 as well as the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.
Now it is partnering with Opening Ceremony on a reinterpretation of some of its key products from the Eighties and Nineties. Called Value, the collection includes oversize cargo pants, wide-leg jeans and graphic Ts in heavyweight fabrics. There are also checked shirts, hooded popper jackets with retro colorblocking and boxy jeans with zip-off legs.
The collection’s name is a nod to the mass merchants that sold the original versions of the pieces. But the new Value collection, which is made from all organic cotton, has more of a street style vibe and is being produced in limited quantities. The collection is being sold exclusively at Opening Ceremony stores and on its web site beginning Thursday. The collection will range in price from $40 for a T-shirt and $70 for a rugby shirt to $140 for a zippered jacket.
Jenni Broyles, vice president and general manager of Wrangler North America, said that teaming up with influential retailers such as Opening Ceremony and Fred Segal is part of the company’s move to “evolve and become more of a global brand.” She said that in each of these instances, Wrangler ensures that it stays true to its heritage, “but shows up in unexpected ways.”
The move began around two years ago when the brand created a Peter Max collaboration and continued with collections tied to the “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie as well as with rapper Lil Nas X, of the recent hit “Old Town Road.”
Broyles said that the brand’s core customers are not alienated by these projects and actually “celebrate” the collaborations since Wrangler has managed to maintain its heritage while updating its product to make it relevant to today.
Case in point is the Fred Segal pop-up at the company’s store at 8500 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The shop will be open through mid-October and features many products that were handmade at the Wrangler Service Supply Center in Greensboro, N.C., using denim from Cone Mills. The merchandise is centered around the 1919 founding of Wrangler’s predecessor company, the Blue Bell Overall Company, and offers workwear-inspired jackets and overalls. The Sixties theme has a war and peace aesthetic, the Seventies collection has a psychedelic feel, and the Eighties pieces have a motor racing theme.
Broyles said the Fred Segal product has performed well since it hit the sales floor and the companies have helped boost interest by hosting events, such as a customization event last weekend. As a result, she’s expecting good things from the Opening Ceremony capsule as well. She said that line is “completely different” from the one being offered at Fred Segal and combines Wrangler Western themes with street styles looks offered by the brand in the Eighties and Nineties.
Although she wouldn’t tip her hand on which company Wrangler may partner with next, Broyles said: “There will be more to come — we’re not stopping. We’re going to continue to evolve.”
In addition to partnering with influential retailers, Wrangler also launched its first global advertising campaign for fall titled “Wear With Abandon.” It began airing on U.S. broadcast and cable stations after Labor Day and is intended to showcase “the adventurous optimism of the cowboy spirit,” the company said. The print and video images show cowboys on bulls juxtaposed with images of drag racers, skaters and rock singers — all wearing Wrangler jeans. It was created by Mother New York and shot by American filmmaker Michael Lawrence. It started running in the U.S. and will roll out to markets in Europe and Asia in the coming months.
Wrangler is a part of the newly created Kontoor Brands, a spinoff of VF Corp. that includes the Lee and Rock & Republic denim brands as well as the former company’s outlet division. Sales for the division as a whole are over $2.5 billion.