Samsung’s C&T Fashion Group is making a move to expand its presence in the American market and will introduce its Kuho women’s contemporary label for spring with a presentation during New York Fashion Week.
Juun.J, the men’s wear brand, is currently the only other Samsung label available in the U.S. It was the featured designer at the Pitti Uomo show in Florence in January and was picked up by Neiman Marcus for fall, according to Jean Colin, Samsung’s vice president for global expansion.
Kuho is sold only in South Korea and has annual sales of $90 million, Colin said. It has 66 of its own stores in that country and is also carried at department stores.
“We believe the style and lifestyle of Kuho will be a good fit for the U.S. market,” Colin said. “We think there’s a potential to really grow here.”
She said the target customer is a woman in her 30s who is looking for comfortable, fashionable pieces that can be worn everyday.
The label offers minimalistic pieces with not a lot of embellishment but with bold prints, pops of color and rich fabrics custom designed for the collection. These include water-repellent wools, high-end cottons and cotton-nylon blends. Although Samsung is now best known for its electronics, the company had its start as a textile producer in 1954.
In addition to apparel, the Kuho collection includes shoes and accessories. Key pieces are coats and pants, Colin said, and retail price points range from $300 for a blouse and $390 for pants to $450 for a short jacket and $1,000-plus for outerwear.
The plan is to target high-end department and specialty stores in the U.S. that can “mix and match” Kuho with designer brands, Colin said.
Because Kuho is not an American label, it is not on the official New York Fashion Week calendar but instead will show its line with a live model presentation at the offices of its public relations firm, Exposure, on Sept. 14, Colin said.
The introduction of Kuho is part of a larger initiative spearheaded by Seohyun Lee, president and chief executive officer of Samsung C&T Fashion Group. Over the past 14 years, she has worked to discover, promote and support talented South Korea-born fashion designers. A graduate of The New School’s Parsons School of Design, Lee is also an advisory board member for the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Incubator program and a supporter of the CFDA Fashion Awards.