Jack Gross knows how to pick ’em.
When the chief executive officer of One Jeanswear Group was looking for a face for its L.E.I. brand in 2008, he first sought a “high-powered spokeswoman, but they were too expensive.” So on the recommendation of a friend, he met an up-and-coming country music singer who won him over with her high moral standards, work ethic and ambitions, and “we just clicked.”
That up-and-comer was Taylor Swift, who served as the face of the jeans label from 2008 to 2009.
Although Gross said he has no crystal ball and just “got lucky” with Swift, he sees the same characteristics in Maddie & Tae, a country music duo whose first single, “Girl in a Country Song,” became a platinum-seller and positioned the duo as an alternative to bro-country. And so he has signed the pair to be the face of a new juniors denim brand, Black Daisy, that will make its debut for back-to-school. “I had the same feeling when I met Maddie and Tae. They have similar ideals, they’re hard-working, ambitious and passionate.”
And they’re relatable to the Black Daisy target customer. The line is intended to fill what Gross sees as “a void in the market for exciting denim brands. The junior market is really tired and customers are moving to contemporary.”
So One Jeanswear is offering an alternative by offering a new option that “looks like $100 jeans, but sells for $39 to $49. The fit is outstanding and the washes are elevated.”
Although the official launch is on Aug. 19, Macy’s got an early shipment, Gross said, and initial sales are strong enough that the department store is doubling its door count and will add the line to 350 stores. The line will also be carried at Belk, Bon-Ton Stores Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Amazon. “We want to get the junior customer back in midtier and out of the specialty stores,” Gross said.
He described the collection as “sweet but with an edge.” It offers a skinny fit in multiple silhouettes, including a high-rise ankle tube, a relaxed “best friend” fit and a classic skinny. There are also straight legs, a pull-on knit jegging and a collarless denim jacket. Many of the styles offer patches, studding, embroidery and destruction.
In an interview from their home base in Nashville, Maddie Marlow and Taylor (Tae) Dye said they got their feet wet in fashion by working on the Aqua x Maddie & Tae line for Bloomingdale’s. “That was our first-ever fashion collaboration and allowed us to dip our toes in fashion and learn about the industry,” Dye said. And it led to Black Daisy.
In addition to being the face of the brand and appearing in Black Daisy’s marketing materials, the duo will also design a capsule for the line for the fourth quarter and then One Jeanswear will create an entire collection around them at the end of 2018 called Roots and Wings.
“Being able to collaborate is so exciting to us,” Marlow said. “We know very little about fashion so we really trust their opinion. But it’ll be fun designing our own thing.”
And although they’re now firmly entrenched in the fashion arena, Marlow said they still enjoy shopping at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Target. “And there’s this cool resale shop in Nashville where you can find really great things,” she said. “We still aren’t big spenders when it comes to clothing. But that could change.”
Indeed it could if their second album proves to be as successful as the first. The duo’s first record label shut down in February but they moved over to UMG Nashville and hope to have their sophomore effort out this fall. But in the meantime, they’re recording and performing around the country and will be in New York to officially launch Black Daisy with a live mini-concert and meet-and-greet at Macy’s Herald Square on Aug. 19.