William Rast will offer a tailored collection this fall, and both its tailored and sportswear lines will be available exclusively in the U.S. at Lord & Taylor.
This story first appeared in the May 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The fashion brand will offer full concept shops-in-shop for men and women, and the offering will also be available at lordandtaylor.com beginning in mid-August.
Rast cofounder and creative director Trace Ayala said, “When developing the fall line, we wanted to add a tailored aspect of what we originally created and focus on bringing a sharp, sophisticated look to the brand.”
The Rast brand, which targets consumers between ages 18 and 34, this past September launched in Canada at Hudson’s Bay.
Liz Rodbell, president of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, said, “We had tremendous success in both ladies’ and men’s in all of our [Hudson’s Bay] stores, and it’s still growing. This is primarily a denim-based brand.”
As for the appeal of the Rast brand, Rodbell said, “It makes sense for the Lord & Taylor brand. William Rast is a young contemporary brand, and it appeals to our Millennial consumer.”
She also said that the retailer will be introducing other brands, including private label, that will target the Millennial consumer, although she declined to disclose which brands.
The Rast price points range between $80 and $120 for denim, with a higher price point for leather jackets and outerwear. The men’s tailored collection will have price points ranging from $100 for pants to $250 for suit jackets and sport coats.
Rodbell noted that about 60 percent of the brand is women’s, with the balance men’s, although the success last fall at Hudson’s was in the men’s line. Denim was particularly well received, due primarily to the fact that it’s concentrated in the dark rinses for men’s, she said. In women’s, purchases were spread across different categories in addition to denim options such as dark rinses, a light denim wash and a dark wash.
Rodbell said that the exclusivity currently is just for this year.
All 50 U.S. Lord & Taylor stores will offer the Rast tailored and sportswear lines. The retailer will likely hold a big coming-out splash for the Rast brand, Rodbell said, much like it did last September when it showcased the Rast brand exclusively at Hudson’s Bay. The Canadian retailer’s marketing included a store event at the flagship, a special appearance by cofounders Justin Timberlake and Ayala, who still have a stake in the label, as well as highlighting the collection in its store windows.
Currently the sportswear line will show late August for fall, and the tailored line to follow on Oct. 15.
Founded in 2005, Rast is positioned as a contemporary brand featuring a denim heritage and biker lifestyle along with a rock ’n’ roll influence. In addition, Marcella Lindeberg is back as design director.
Yehuda Shmidman, chief executive officer of Sequential Brands Group, which has majority ownership of the brand, said the decision to partner with Lord & Taylor was an easy one. “We considered multiple opportunities. We believe in Liz and her team and worked with them with our Hudson’s Bay launch. We saw the way they got excited by the brand and the way in which they supported it.”
According to Shmidman, the brand is also available in select European retailers, such as Appelrath-Cüpper and Görgens-Gruppe in Germany, Manor in Switzerland, USC in London and premium online stores such as Zalando in Germany and Yoox in Italy.
Shmidman has bigger plans for Rast, eyeing next the Asian and Latin American markets in Sequential’s quest to transform it into a global lifestyle brand with annual volume of $1 billion.