NEW YORK — The House of Deréon keeps expanding.
With its core collection already in Macy’s and Dillard’s — and with its own e-commerce site — the fashion company founded by Beyoncé and Tina Knowles now plans to add a junior line, called simply Deréon, for holiday. The collection is expected to have wholesale sales of $30 million in its first year, sources said.
Check Group LLC, an apparel manufacturing company here that also produces the House of Deréon contemporary collection, will manufacture and distribute the junior line to select specialty stores nationwide, among them Dr. Jay’s, Monies and Man Alive, beginning in September.
“We’re playing off the success of House of Deréon,” said Victor Azrak, owner of Check Group. “This girl loves the look of Beyoncé, but doesn’t want to spend the money for the look.”
Charles “Chip” Rosen, president and general manager of House of Deréon, thinks the junior category today is best gauged by attitude, not age.
“The Check Group really nails the vision that speaks to this segment of the market,” Rosen said. “Kids are so fashion-savvy, and [the Check Group] really keeps an eye out for what’s going on.
“Because of Tina and Beyoncé, there’s a broad-based appeal. We wouldn’t be true to the brand vision if we didn’t involve this market,” said Rosen, at the photo shoot for Deréon’s first advertising campaign featuring Beyoncé, who turns 25 in September, and her younger sister, Solangé Knowles Smith, 19.
The ads for Deréon, set in a recording studio, are slated to hit billboards, radio, the Internet and Vibe, Teen Vogue and CosmoGirl in September. Rosen said the idea to use Knowles Smith in the campaign for the junior line was in sync with the vision of the brand.
“Solangé really represents that young consumer who is all about her own tastes. She really speaks to that empowered young lady,” Rosen said.
On set, Beyoncé and Knowles Smith toyed with a sound engineer’s table and Knowles Smith rocked out on a drum set while fashion photographer Gian Andrea di Stefano snapped photographs. To set the mood, the sisters listened to Kanye West’s album, “Late Registration.”
“The key to juniors is to make it affordable, chic and sophisticated,” Knowles Smith said, then added, “and to not market it to teens.” She leaves the design work to her mother and sister, but chimes in to let them know what works and what doesn’t.
“They definitely run the show,” Knowles Smith said.
The junior collection is the latest addition to the growing House of Deréon brand. A licensing agreement was signed with G-III Apparel Group here in March 2005 to produce an outerwear collection. Another deal was signed with Tendler Furs here in July to design, manufacture and distribute fur outerwear and accessories. Last August, Accessory Exchange here was licensed to create handbags and small leather goods, and a footwear line, licensed to San Diego footwear design company House of Brands, hit stores this spring.
Tops in the Deréon collection will wholesale between $13.50 and $38; bottoms, between $28.50 and $53.50; outerwear, between $63 and $179, and dresses, between $38 and $53.50. The holiday collection consists of 100 pieces — denim, knits and fur jackets and vests.
Most pieces are adorned with the “Deréon” logo, but Tina was adamant about using logos tastefully. “I find, in juniors, that some people overdo it with the logo,” Tina said. “We wanted to do it in a classy way.”
Tina said she felt House of Deréon didn’t reach all of Beyoncé’s fans, and though the business plan always involved a junior collection, Tina said she felt the company should launch it sooner rather than later.
She recalled being approached in the airport by young fans who asked when a junior line, or a lower-priced collection, would be launched. Design-wise, she said, juniors was a bit of a challenge. The sector was unfamiliar to her, so she set off to do research.
Tina scoured the junior department at Macy’s Herald Square here to see which brands and styles teens gravitated to and which ones they passed by. “With juniors, I was so surprised to see that there were logos on everything,” she said. She was astonished to learn the junior customer liked logo-driven pieces. She also saw that styles spanned the gamut from preppy to glitzy club gear.
Tina and the design team opted to feature logos in a discreet way. Sometimes “Deréon” appears on a pendant, other times, it’s embroidered on the neckline of snug overall jeans. In some instances, the word “Deréon” is replaced with a fleur-de-lis.
Azrak, of the Check Group, agreed with Tina’s creative approach to the logo. “Just writing the word [as a logo] is played out,” he said.