Theory, which is now under the direction of Dinesh Tandon as chief executive officer, has a significant initiative under way this fall called Staples, which encompasses all the modern Theory basics that the company is known for. The essentials have been launched at Theory stores, theory.com and selected retailers, with a campaign starting Sept. 3, photographed by Andrew Zuckerman.
According to Siddhartha Shukla, chief brand officer, the offerings consist of the tried-and-true Theory essentials “because they’re proven.” The idea is to remind the company’s audience that Theory is a purveyor of modern luxurious essentials, especially in a market that’s so saturated with trend, he said. “We invest so much of our resources into the design and manufacturing of our garments, more so than our competitive set. We felt it was a time to celebrate the things that make Theory, Theory.”
This is Tandon’s first major initiative since the resignation last April of Andrew Rosen as ceo. Rosen continues as founder and adviser.
Elaborating on the concept, Shukla said, “We narrowed it down to the things we thought are super essential and won’t be impacted by any sort of whim or trend. The key is if you fall in love with something, you want to know you can go back and get it.”
The Theory stores plan to never be out of stock of these seasonless basics, which include pants, jackets, sweaters, outerwear and tops. The staples also will never be discounted — an issue that has plagued the sportswear market. Overall, Staples consists of about 30 styles for women and 15 styles for men. The garments’ label will say Theory.
For example, the women’s offering includes the classic trouser called the Treeca (which is their number-one pant and is the classic skinny pant), and it comes in a classic crepe in black and rice, and a wool version in black, sea blue and charcoal. The classic sweater, for example, is offered in cashmere in a T-shirt, v-neck long-sleeve sweater, long-sleeve crewneck sweater and cardigan. There’s also a merino wool T-shirt, long-sleeve v-neck, and long sleeve crewneck. The cashmere is offered in black, ivory, charcoal and deep navy, and merino wool comes in black, ivory, heather gray and navy.
Other women’s styles include a wool pencil skirt, crepe column dress, leather skinny leggings, double-faced overlay coat, crepe trenchcoat, crepe blazer and bomber jacket.
In men’s, the lineup includes a wool blazer, polo, straight pants, cotton Ts, paper nylon blazers, wool tuxedo pants, wool tuxedo blazer and a wool crewneck sweater.
The basics will be offered in a limited number of colors. While department stores can buy pieces of it, the main distribution will be its own Theory stores and theory.com for the launch.
Retail prices range from $75 to $995.
The campaign, which will run digitally, out-of-home, in-store, urban panels and on taxi tops, will carry the tagline: “Our Icons, Your Everyday Heroes.” The images will be still-lifes of these staples to highlight the purity of the garment. He said the Theory stores will have a Staples shop and there will be a lot of storytelling and marketing around it.
“We have presented these clothes in a neutral, clarified space in order to draw out the garments’ essential qualities. They really become portraits that have an individual presence. None of them are the same,” said Zuckerman, who photographed 20 distinctive portraits at Theory’s design headquarters.
When looking at where the company sees growth opportunities, Shukla said “one of the angles is we’re going to create scale and greater depth and volume in selling key items where we have established expertise.”
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