David Beckham is about to make his mark in men’s wear through a new deal with Kent & Curwen that aims to expand the British brand’s appeal to a younger customer.
The deal is the first tangible byproduct of Global Brands Group’s joint venture with the former soccer star and his business partner Simon Fuller, which was formed late last year. That entity, Seven Global, has signed a five-year global licensing agreement with Trinity International’s Kent & Curwen. Both Global Brands and Trinity are controlled by Hong Kong’s Fung family. Global Brands is a Li & Fung spin-off while Trinity is part of the privately held Fung Group.
“It’s a worldwide exclusive deal. Nobody else can have David Beckham in men’s wear,” Richard Cohen, Trinity chief executive officer told WWD in an interview. “Our product wasn’t cool. It was cool for 50 year olds. That’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that…but now I need to bring another part of it, which is much more relaxed.”
The companies said Beckham will be involved in multiple aspects of the Kent & Curwen business, from product development, market expansion and advertising to store design and location.
“Trinity’s plans include the creation of new Kent & Curwen collections and marketing campaigns inspired and influenced by David Beckham as well as the opening of new flagship stores in China and other markets around the world, and the launch of an e-commerce site,” the companies said.
The products will be more affordable than Kent & Curwen’s main collection, or around “$150 for a polo. It will not be that expensive. I’m going after the premium price point,” Cohen said.
A Kent & Curwen capsule collection, still unnamed and also incorporating David Beckham’s influence, will include accessories, eyewear and boy’s clothing. The capsule collection is scheduled to land in stores in a year’s time. The British former football player will be making personal appearances to promote it. The deal also includes a non-exclusive right to distribute other David Beckham products in Kent & Curwen stores.
Seven Global is guaranteed a minimum royalty ranging from $3.5 million in the first year to $7.25 million in the fifth year. If net sales exceed $100 million, Trinity will pay 5 percent of net retail sales of the licensed products and 10 percent of net wholesale sales sold through wholesale channels, capped at an annual fee of 60 million Hong Kong dollars or about $7.7 million at current exchange.
The announcement said Beckham’s soccer stardom would help the brand appeal to Chinese shoppers and mentioned that Kent & Curwen is looking at other potential licensees and franchisees globally.
The agreement “will enable the group to capitalize on the rising popularity of soccer in China, where Mr. David Beckham is already a legend. Further, Mr. David Beckham’s status as a fashion icon with global reach spanning all age groups and demographics will increase the attractiveness of the group’s brands to potential licensees and franchisees for global expansion,” the company said.
Cohen said the company is exploring similar licensing deals fronted by celebrity personalities for its other brands, though he did not go into specifics or give a timeline.
Trinity is in the midst of a repositioning of its four men’s wear labels. In August, management said it would be tweaking the images of the brands in its portfolio, which also includes Cerruti 1881 and Gieves & Hawkes. Trinity reported a first-half loss of 47.4 million Hong Kong dollars or $6.1 million dollars.
“Gieves & Hawkes will change the least, but we are attracting a younger customer in Savile Row that we never thought we’d get [in their] 30s. Our competition is somebody like [Ermenegildo] Zegna as a British counterpart that’s at a lower price point,” Cohen said.
Beckham has been busy of late. Earlier this year, he teamed up with Hennes & Mauritz on a curated men’s collection and celebrated the 10th anniversary of his fragrance business with Coty.