Next for Jessica Simpson: the activewear business. Called, appropriately enough, Jessica Simpson The Warm Up, it represents the first major category expansion for her branded collection since partnering with Sequential Brands Group in April.
Sequential took a majority stake in the business, including the master license, and has hopes to build the total portfolio into a staggering $2 billion to $3 billion operation at retail. Jessica Simpson retains ownership of the balance of the equity in her company.
This story first appeared in the August 19, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Camuto Group, which held the master license until Sequential acquired its stake, built the collection’s retail sales into a $1 billion business.
Richard Gossett, president and chief executive officer of RDG Global, the activewear licensee, said the line has elements of active and ath-leisure. The activewear component comprises “authentic workout apparel,” reflected in the choice of zippers, how the fabric absorbs and wicks moisture and the design of pockets and details to accommodate keys and cell phones.
Shipping at the end of October, the line initially will be available exclusively at Macy’s Inc. in 300 doors and at macys.com. Retail prices range from $24 to $49. The core performance technical fabric for leggings, sports bras and track jackets is called Extraordin-Air, a polyester-spandex blend that incorporates both sweat-wicking capabilities and four-way stretch.
Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer, said the line “has some style and it’s got some comfort at the same time,” noting that the category is broad enough for “use at the gym or walking around the city doing errands.”
Tina Simpson, creative director for the brand and Jessica’s mother, said, “Whatever was going on in Jessica’s life at the time, we said we should be there. We had been looking at active for a bit, trying to find the right partner. Jessica works out every day — pretty much an hour-and-a-half every day.”
According to Gossett, the line will expand to other better retailers next spring.
“The misses’ collection has 32 styles at Macy’s,” said Gossett, pointing out that there’s an opportunity in plus sizes — 21 styles — for the Jessica Simpson brand. “She has a really good following across many different types of shoppers and the plus-size customer identifies with her as well.
“The character of the brand is definitely Jessica, from the prints to the colorations. She is intricately involved in the selection process,” Gossett added.