Victoria’s Secret acquisition deal with Sycamore Partners cancelled; L Brands will still spin off Victoria’s Secret as private company

May 4, 2020

by Daphne Sorenson

Models at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Photo by Jeff Neira/ABC)

In February 2020, Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands (based in Columbus, Ohio) had announced that it sold a 55% stake in Victoria’s Secret to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, for a reported $525 million, but that deal has now been cancelled.  According to fashion trade publication WWD, L Brands still plans to spin off Victoria’s Secret into a private company, while also doing the same for Bath & Body Works. As part of the restructuring, L Brands chairman/CEO Les Wexner stepped down from his position, after founding the company in 1963. In March 2020, it was announced that Sarah E. Nash is his replacement.

Victoria’s Secret and its Pink spinoff brand have been experiencing a sharp decline in sales in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in the temporary closures of numerous clothing retailers worldwide, worsened the fortunes of Victoria’s Secret. The $525 million price tag for Victoria’s Secret was far lower than the $7.6 billion that Victoria’s Secret was valued at in 2015. The brand’s sales peaked during the 2006-2016 CEO leadership of Sharen Jester Turney, who left the company in 2016. After the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria’s Secret value no doubt plummeted even lower than $525 million.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria’s Secret was on a downward spiral. The year 2019 was turbulent for Victoria’s Secret and L Brands. In August 2019, more than 100 models and several of their allies (including Models Alliance and Times Up) signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas to demand an end to the sexual abuse and sexual harassment that has allegedly been running rampant against Victoria’s Secret models.

The letter was published just two days after L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek publicly announced he was leaving the company. Wexner and Razek had close ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested again in July 2019, for sex crimes, specifically, for sex trafficking of women and underage girls. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10, 2019. According to the Associated Press, he died of an apparent suicide by hanging.

Razek came under fire in 2018, when he said in a Vogue interview that Victoria’s Secret was not interested in hiring plus-sized or transgender models. In August 2019, Victoria’s Secret hired its first transgender model: Valentina Sampaio, who posted the news on her Instagram account. But that milestone was apparently too little, too late.

The open letter blasting Victoria’s Secret was among several blows to the company in 2019.  The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was completely canceled only a few months after it was announced that the show would not be televised anymore.

In addition, about 15% of Victoria’s Secret employees (about 50 people) were laid off in October 2019, the same month that Victoria’s Secret head of stores and store operations April Holt stepped down from her position after 16 years working for the company.

Meanwhile, rival lingerie brands such as Aerie, ThirdLove, Adore Me and Lively have experienced an increase in sales in recent years. Many market analysts have noted that Victoria’s Secret alienated many customers by having only tall and thin models in its marketing, while newer brands embrace a more diverse variety of body sizes in their marketing and in their product selections. In addition, websites that track customer feedback for retailers have noted that there have been numerous complaints about the decreasing quality of Victoria’s Secret products and customer service.

J. Crew files for bankruptcy, joins growing list of fashion retailers in financial downward spirals

May 4, 2020

by Daphne Sorenson

J. Crew, the New York City-based fashion brand known for making the “preppy look” popular in the 1980s, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while its stores remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Bloomberg: “Anchorage Capital Group, Blackstone Group Inc.’s GSO Capital Partners and Davidson Kempner Capital Management will be among J. Crew’s new owners and will shape the board of directors once it exits bankruptcy, according to court papers. Those firms are leading a $400 million bankruptcy loan to keep J. Crew operating.”

The company was founded in 1947 under the name Popular Merchandise, Inc., and then changed its named to J. Crew in 1983. J. Crew became known for selling upscale “preppy” clothes for the type of customers who wanted to project an image that they have the money to belong to a country club or to have their own boats.

J. Crew has approximately 500 stores, including the brands Madewell and the lower-priced J. Crew Factory. Even before the coronavirus pandemic (when J. Crew closed all of its factories and retail locations, as of March 17, 2020), the company was already headed toward financial disaster, since it had been closing an increasing number of stores since 2018.

J. Crew is among the growing list of fashion retailers that have declared bankruptcy since 2018. Barney’s filed for bankruptcy in 2019, and Nieman Marcus is reportedly close to bankruptcy as well. Casualties in the high-end fashion retail business that have completely shuttered in the past year have included Lord & Taylor and Henri Bendel.

Non-luxury fashion retailers have also been victims of the “retail apocalypse,” which has been largely blamed on the rise of online shopping. Low-end clothing retailers that shuttered in 2019 included Gymboree and Payless ShoeSource. Fashion retailers that had a massive percentage of store closures in 2018 and 2019 included Ann Taylor, Dressbarn, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Kohl’s, Abercrombie & Fitch,  Foot Locker, Children’s Place and David’s Bridal. A few fashion retailers (such as Charlotte Russe and Bebe) have emerged from bankruptcy and are slowly trying to build back their business under new ownership. Department stores that carry fashion (such as Macy’s, JC Penney, Kmart and Sears) have also been closing stores.

Coronavirus cancellations and postponements in the fashion and beauty industries

March 16, 2020

by Daphne Sorenson

Updated March 31, 2020

Kacey Musgraves and Gemma Chan at the 2019 Met Gala in New York City, a star-studded annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. The 2020 edition of the Met Gala is one of several events that have been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photos courtesy of Forevermark)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of numerous fashion events, as well as temporary closings of several fashion/beauty retailers and businesses that provide personal grooming services, such as beauty salons, barbers, spas and nail salons. In the United States and other countries, public gatherings of more than 50 people per gathering are being banned, so any such gathering that was scheduled to take place in March, April, May or June 2020 will most likely be cancelled or postponed. Most companies whose brick-and-mortar retail locations have temporarily closed will still have products and services available online.

Here’s a list of what’s been affected so far. This list will be updated with breaking news. All re-opening dates are subject to change.

Abercrombie & Fitch/Hollister

The New Albany, Ohio-based clothing retailer (which includes the Hollister brand) has closed all of its stores in North America (as of March 15, 2020) and in Europe (as of March 16, 2020). The company’s stores in the Pacific Asia region will remain open.

Alice + Olivia

The New York City-based womenswear retailer has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Allbirds

The San Francisco-based footwear retailer has closed all of its stores in the U.S. and Europe until further notice, as of March 15, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

American Eagle Outfitters

The Pittsburgh-based clothing retailer has closed all its stores (including American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie) in North America  until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

American Events NE Materials Show

The event was scheduled to take place in Boston on February 5 and February 6, 2020, but the show has been rescheduled for July 22 and July 23, 2020.

American Events NW Materials Show

The event was scheduled to take place in Portland, Oregon, on February 12 and February 13, 2020, but the show has been rescheduled for July 29 and July 30, 2020.

Ancient Greek Sandals

The Athens-based footwear company has closed all stores and operations until further notice.

Aritzia

The Vancouver-based womenswear company has closed its stores in North America until further notice, as of March 16, 2020.

Armani

The Armani Cruise 2021 Show was supposed to take place on April 19, 2020, but the show has been postponed until further notice. In related news, the opening of the Armani Dubai boutique that was scheduled for April 20, 2020, has been tentatively rescheduled for November 2020, on a date to be announced.

Ascena Retail Group

The Mahwah, New Jersey-based clothing retailer has closed all of its stores, including Ann Taylor, Factory Ann Taylor, Loft, Loft Outlet, Lane Bryant, Lou & Grey, Catherines and Justice. The stores are closed from March 18 to March 28, 2020. The re-opening dates for these operations are subject to change. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Benefit Cosmetics

The San Francisco-based cosmetics retailer has closed all of its Benefit Boutique and Brow Bar locations in the U.S. and Canada  until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Buck Mason

The Los Angeles-based menswear company has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 14, 2020.

Burlington

The Burlington Township, New Jersey-based discount clothing retailer announced that it is reducing store hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Canada Goose

The York, Canada-based clothing retailer has closed all of its stores in North America and Europe until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

CFDA Fashion Awards

The annual Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards show in New York City has been postponed until further notice. The award ceremony had been scheduled to take place on June 8, 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Chanel

The Paris-based luxury brand has closed all of its stores in the U.S.  until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Chico’s FAS

The Fort Myers, Florida-based clothing retailer is closing all of its stores in North America, including Chico’s, White House Black Market, Soma Intimates and TellTale, until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Columbia Sportswear

The Portland, Oregon-based clothing company has closed its stores in North America until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Desigual

The Barcelona-based clothing retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. The company’s stores in Spain, Italy and Portugal already closed earlier in March 2020. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Dior

The Paris-based luxury retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. In related news, the Dior Cruise 2021 show was scheduled to take place in Lecce, Italy, on May 9, 2020, but the show has been postponed until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

DSW

The Columbus, Ohio-based discount shoes/accessories retailer (also known as Designer Shoe Warehouse) has closed all of its stores, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Everlane

The San Francisco-based ethical fashion brand has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 15, 2020.

Foot Locker

The New York City-based sportswear retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Fossil

The Richardson, Texas-based accessories company has closed all of its stores in North America until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Gap, Inc.

The San Francisco-based company (whose stores include Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Intermix, Hill City and Athleta) has closed most of its stores worldwide until further notice. The stores that remain open will have reduced hours.

Glossier

The New York City-based beauty retailer has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 13, 2020. A new Glossier store had been scheduled to open in Atlanta on March 18, 2020, but that opening has been postponed.

GOAT

The Culver City, Calfornia-based athletic-shoe/streetwear reseller has closed seller drop-off locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami, until further notice.

Goop

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand closed all of its non-pop-up stores until further notice, as of March 14, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Greats

The luxury athletic-shoe brand has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 15, 2020.

H&M

The Stockholm-based discount clothing retailer issued this vague statement on March 18, 2020: “In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak, we have already, or will shortly, close many of our stores. In stores that remain open or are re-opened, we’re prepared to respond quickly to any emerging situation.” In North America, all H&M stores closed until further notice, as of March 15, 2020. H&M also includes the store brands Cos and Arket. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Helmut Lang

The luxury designer has closed its New York City store, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

J. Crew

The New York City-based clothing retailer has closed all of its J. Crew and J. Crew Factory stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

JCPenney

The Plano, Texas-based retailer has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 18, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Journelle

The New York City-based luxury lingerie brand will close its New York City stores, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice.

Kering

The Paris-based parent company of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Brioni and Pomellato is closing all of its store locations in the U.S. and Canada, from March 17, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Kiehl’s

The New York City-based skincare beauty retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

Kith

The New York City-based streetwear company has closed all of its U.S. stores as of March 16, 2020, until further notice.

Kohl’s

The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based retailer has closed from March 19 to April 1, 2020. The re-opening date is subject to change. In related news, Kohl’s announced on March 17, 2020, that it has partnered with Land’s End to offer the entire Land’s End assortment of women’s, men’s, kids, and home merchandise on Kohls.com, directly fulfilled and shipped by Lands’ End, beginning in the fall 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Lafayette 148

The Brooklyn, New York-based womenswear retailer is closed until further notice, as of March 22, 2020. (Updated March 22, 2020)

Lands’ End

The Dodgeville, Wisconsin-based clothing retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Lululemon Athletica Inc.

The Vancouver-based retailer that sells athletic-oriented clothes and other products closed all of its stores in North America and Europe until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Levi Strauss & Co.

The San Francisco-based denim retailer has closed all of its North American stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

L.L. Bean

The Freeport, Maine-based outdoor/athletic gear retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Lush

The Poole, United Kingdom-based beauty-product retailer has closed all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada, from until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Macy’s, Inc.

The New York City-based retailer has closed all of its stores, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s. The stores  until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Met Gala

The star-studded annual fashion event, held in New York City on the first Monday in May to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, has been postponed until further notice. This year’s Met Gala was originally scheduled for May 4, 2020.

ModelLand

The grand opening of Tyra Banks’ fashion/beauty theme park in Santa Monica, California, has been postponed until further notice. Although there hadn’t been a specific opening date set, ModelLand was expected to open in the spring of 2020. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Neiman Marcus Group

The Dallas-based luxury retailer has closed all of its stores (including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Last Call) from March 17, 2020 until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

New Balance

The athletic shoe/clothing company has closed its office, factory, and retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Nike

The Beaverton, Oregon-based athletic shoe/clothing company (which includes the Converse brand) has closed all of its stores in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Nordstrom

The Seattle-based retailer has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Opening Ceremony

The New York City-based clothing company has closed all of its store locations until further notice.

Outdoor Voices

The Austin, Texas-based athletic fashion/gear company has closed  all of its U.S. stores until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Patagonia

The Ventura, California-based outdoor/athletic company has closed all stores and operations until further notice, as of March 13, 2020.

Phillip Lim

The New York City-based designer clothing retailer has closed all of its stores outside of Asia until further notice.

Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH)

The New York City-based parent company of the brands Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, Arrow, Warner’s, Olga, True & Co. and Geoffrey Beene is closing of all its retail stores in North America and Europe until further notice, as of March 17, 2020.  Many of the  PVH-owned stores in the Asia Pacific region have re-opened, but some have reduced hours.

Prada Cruise 2021 Show

This runway show was set to take place on May 21, 2020, but has now been postponed until further notice.

Ralph Lauren

The New York City-based luxury fashion company, which includes the brands Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco, has closed all of its stores in the U.S. and some other countries, until further notice, as of March 18, 2020. The re-opening date is subject to change. In related news, the Ralph Lauren Fall 2020 runway show has been postponed until further notice. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Rebecca Minkoff

The New York City-based fashion company has reduced hours at all of its store locations until further notice.

Reformation

The Los Angeles-based clothing retailer has closed all of its stores, as of March 14, 2020, until further notice.

REI

The Kent, Washington-based company, whose specialty is outdoor/athletic products (including clothes), has closed all of its stores worldwide until futher notice.

Ross Dress for Less

The Dublin, California-based discount clothing retailer has closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 20, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Rothy

The San Francisco-based shoe company has closed all of its U.S. stores until further notice.

RuPaul’s DragCon LA

This annual Los Angeles event celebrating drag queens has been cancelled. RuPaul’s DragCon LA, whose vendors are mostly in the fashion and beauty industries, had been scheduled to take place May 1 to May 3, 2020.

Saks Fifth Avenue

The New York City-based luxury retailer has closed all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada until further notice, as of March 18, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Sephora

The Paris-based beauty-product retailer has closed some stores and reduced hours at other stores that remain open. Sephora customers need to check with an individual store to find out what the situation is at that location.

Shanghai Fashion Week

Shanghai Fashion Week in China was scheduled for March 26 to April 2, 2020, but has now been postponed until further notice.

Supreme 

The New York City-based streetwear company has closed of all its stores until further notice.

Tailored Brands

The Houston-based menswear retailer (which includes Men’s Wearhouse and the Jos. A. Bank) has closed all of its U.S. stores until further notice, as of March 17, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Tapestry, Inc.

The New York City-based luxury fashion company (which owns the brands Kate Spade, Coach and Stuart Weitzman) has closed all of its stores until further notice.

Target 

The Minneapolis-based retailer has reduced hours at all of its stores, as of March 18, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 18, 2020)

Tiffany and Co.

The New York City-based luxury jewelry retailer has closed all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 17, 2020)

TJ Maxx

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based discount clothing retailer has closed all of its stores, as of March 19, 2020, until further notice. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Ulta Beauty

The Bolingbrook, Illinois-based beauty-product retailer has temporarily closed some locations and reduced hours of other locations that remain open. In-store hair services are discontinued until further notice, as of March 16, 2020.

Under Armour

The Baltimore-based streetwear fashion company has closed all of its store locations in North America until further notice, as of March 16, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Uniqlo

The Yamaguchi, Japan-based clothing retailer has closed all of its U.S. stores, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice.

Urban Outfitters, Inc.

The Philadelphia-based clothing retailer has closed until further notice all of its stores worldwide, including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People and Terrain.

Versace Cruise 2021 Show

This co-ed runway show was set to take place on May 16, 2020, but has now been postponed until further notice.

VF Corp.

Denver-based VF Corp. has several retail brands that include Jansport, North Face, Timberland, Vans, Altra, Bulwark Protection, Dickies, Eagle Creek, Eastpak, Horace Small, Icebraker, Kipling, Kodiak, Napapijri, Red Kap, Smartwool, Terra, VF Solutions and Walls Outdoor Goods. The company has closed its stores in North America and in continental Europe until further notice. Any re-opening date is subject to change. The company’s stories in the United Kingdom and Asia are operating at reduced hours. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Victoria’s Secret

The Columbus, Ohio-based lingerie/swimwear company (which includes Victoria’s Secret and Pink) has closed all of its brick-and-mortar stores until further notice. The Victoria’s Secret online store is closed until March 29, 2020. (Updated March 19, 2020)

Walmart

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant is reducing store hours at its U.S. locations, as of March 15, 2020.

Warby Parker

The New York City-based eyeglass retailer closed all of its stores until further notice, as of March 15, 2020. (Updated March 31, 2020)

Victoria’s Secret majority stake sold by L Brands to Sycamore Partners

February 20, 2020

by Daphne Sorenson

Models at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC)

Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands (based in Columbus, Ohio) has sold a 55% stake in Victoria’s Secret to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, for a reported $525 million. L Brands will keep the remaining 45% stake in Victoria’s Secret, which will revert back to being a private company. As part of the restructuring, L Brands chairman/CEO Les Wexner will step down from his position, after founding the company in 1963.

L Brands will continue to have full ownership of Bath & Body Works.  According to the Associated Press: “Sycamore manages a $10 billion portfolio including such struggling retailers as Belk, Hot Topic and Talbots.”

Victoria’s Secret and its Pink spinoff brand have been experiencing a sharp decline in sales in recent years. The $525 million price tag is far lower than the $7.6 billion that Victoria’s Secret was valued at in 2015. The brand’s sales peaked during the 2006-2016 CEO leadership of Sharen Jester Turney, who left the company in 2016.

The sale comes after a turbulent 2019 for Victoria’s Secret and L Brands. In August 2019, more than 100 models and several of their allies (including Models Alliance and Times Up) signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas to demand an end to the sexual abuse and sexual harassment that has allegedly been running rampant against Victoria’s Secret models.

The letter was published just two days after L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek publicly announced he was leaving the company. Wexner and Razek had close ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested again in July 2019, for sex crimes, specifically, for sex trafficking of women and underage girls. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10, 2019. According to the Associated Press, he died of an apparent suicide by hanging.

Razek came under fire in 2018, when he said in a Vogue interview that Victoria’s Secret was not interested in hiring plus-sized or transgender models. In August 2019, Victoria’s Secret hired its first transgender model: Valentina Sampaio, who posted the news on her Instagram account. But that milestone was apparently too little, too late.

The open letter blasting Victoria’s Secret was among several blows to the company in 2019.  The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was completely canceled only a few months after it was announced that the show would not be televised anymore.

In addition, about 15% of Victoria’s Secret employees (about 50 people) were laid off in October 2019, the same month that Victoria’s Secret head of stores and store operations April Holt stepped down from her position after 16 years working for the company.

Meanwhile, rival lingerie brands such as Aerie, ThirdLove, Adore Me and Lively have experienced an increase in sales in recent years. Many market analysts have noted that Victoria’s Secret alienated many customers by having only tall and thin models in its marketing, while newer brands embrace a more diverse variety of body sizes in their marketing and in their product selections. In addition, websites that track customer feedback for retailers have noted that there have been numerous complaints about the decreasing quality of Victoria’s Secret products and customer service.

Coach launches ‘Originals Go Their Own Way’ Spring 2020 campaign, starring Jennifer Lopez and Michael B. Jordan

January 21, 2020

Jennifer Lopez in Coach’s “Originals Go Their Own Way” Spring 2020 campaign (Photos courtesy of Coach)
Michael B. Jordan in Coach’s “Originals Go Their Own Way” Spring 2020 campaign (Photos courtesy of Coach)

The following is a press release from Coach:

Coach launches “Originals Go Their Own Way,” its campaign for Spring 2020. Starring award-winning actor, singer, producer and new face of Coach Jennifer Lopez in her first campaign for the house and global face of Coach menswear, actor and producer Michael B. Jordan, the campaign tells the story of authentic self-expression through the lens of its powerful cast.

Set in New York City, Coach’s home since 1941, “Originals Go Their Own Way” communicates Creative Director Stuart Vevers‘ evolved vision for the house. Spontaneous, real and playful to reflect the inclusive and optimistic spirit of the house and New York City, it celebrates authenticity, individuality and those who forge their own unique way in life. Emphasized by the inspiring stories of Lopez and Jordan, both known as courageously independent individuals who have paved new paths while staying true to themselves, the campaign advocates for doing things your own way and expressing yourself through purpose and style.

To bring the campaign to life, Vevers worked with photographer Juergen Teller, whose partnership with Coach began in the fall of 2019 and has continued through its holiday and spring campaigns. Shot in iconic locations around the city, including the Edge at Hudson Yards and the High Line, where Coach held its show for the Spring collection, the images also feature the sculpture “Brick House” by the artist Simone Leigh. The public artwork, a 16-foot tall bronze bust of a Black woman which references numerous architectural styles, is a symbol of inclusion, optimism and strength that sits beneath the house’s headquarters, and was featured in its recent show.

“At the start of a new decade, I felt instinctively that it was right to celebrate the color, energy and optimism of New York, our hometown and inspiration as a house,” said Coach Creative Director Stuart Vevers. “I loved working with Juergen to bring my vision for Spring to life, and to tell the stories of Jennifer and Michael in a unique and authentic way.”

“I have a unique history with Coach that dates back to ‘All I Have,'” said Lopez. “It is a brand that embodies the essence of being born and bred in New York and I, of course, deeply relate to that. In all it creates, Coach promotes individuality and optimism in its style as well as a sense of authenticity and inclusion. Like me, we’re both New York originals, who create a unique mix of high-fashion with street edge. With Stuart’s designs and Juergen’s photography, we captured special and unique visual moments for this campaign with the iconic New York City skyline as the perfectly tailored backdrop.”

“I’m proud to be part of the new spring campaign,” said Jordan. “The story of what makes an original is very meaningful to me for many reasons, and it was a great experience working with Stuart and Juergen to tell that story in a way that feels fresh and powerful.”

“Originals Go Their Own Way” spotlights the house’s new Spring bags, including the Hutton, the Rambler, and the men’s Pacer Backpack and Belt Bag—and a ready-to-wear collection featuring a bold new statement in leather, a reference to the house’s roots.

ABOUT COACH
Coach is a global design house of modern luxury leather goods, apparel, footwear, fragrance, eyewear and a full range of lifestyle accessories.  Founded in 1941, Coach has a longstanding reputation built on quality craftsmanship and is defined by its confident New York style.  The brand approaches design with a modern vision, reimagining luxury for today with an authenticity and innovation that is uniquely Coach. Coach products are available in approximately 55 countries through its network of directly operated stores, travel retail shops and sales to wholesale customers and independent third party distributors, as well as through coach.com.

 

Fashion to Figure launches Gabrielle Union x FTF collection

December 5, 2019

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

The following is a press release from Fashion to Figure:

Fashion To Figure, (FTF) one of the first fashion retailers catering to the plus-size market and specializing in on-trend clothing and accessories, announces a partnership to offer Gabrielle Union in plus-sizes 12-24. The first Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection features holiday styles curated to reflect Gabrielle Union’s glamour and edge paired with FTF’s unapologetic celebration of curves.

“My line’s availability at Fashion To Figure is a critical and personal moment for me. This is for my family and all the plus-size women who have messaged me asking for Gabrielle Union. This partnership goes beyond offering a more inclusive and extended size range, it was a deliberate effort to focus on a technical fit that celebrates curves.”

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

“It was a natural first step to offer the size range that FTF currently offers, but we are also working on getting the fit right for sizes beyond a 24 for future collections. I am so excited to be on this fashion journey, every collection levels up and I am closer to my personal goal of having a brand with bomb clothes that fit all bodies.”

Gabrielle Union has an amazing fashion sensibility and we are so excited to welcome her to the FTF family,” said Nick Kaplan, president and co-founder of Fashion To Figure. We are thrilled that Gabrielle choose our fit and brand to continue to evolve her collections with.”

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

The Holiday 2019 Gabrielle Union Plus-Size Collection available at FTF.com includes:

  • 13-pieces featuring sequins and bold holiday separates in plus-sizes 12-24
  • Price points range from $69.95$199.95

Follow the conversation @FashionToFigure, @Gabunion and #GabunionxFTF

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

About Gabrielle Union
The Gabrielle Union Collection was launched exclusively by New York & Company in Fall 2017. In partnership with the Company’s senior designers, Gabrielle’s vision was to create apparel for the modern woman that included a range of sizes and affordable price points while still offering styles that are COOL, FLY, and DOPE. The collection includes a range of dresses, tops, bottoms, denim, outerwear and accessories. Known for supporting and advocating for women, Gabrielle has invited her friends and cast mates to participate in several campaigns since the collection’s inception. Previous campaigns have included: Ajiona Alexus, Essence Atkins, Margaret Avery, Raven Goodwin, Valarie Pettiford, and more. In Spring 2019, Gabrielle launched the Kaavi James capsule collection, inspired by her daughter, Kaavia James. The capsule featured a variety of unisex baby clothes from 0-24 months. In Fall 2019, Gabrielle launched the Red Carpet Collection—a capsule of limited-edition, high-fashion pieces made with elevated fabrics at a higher price point. Gabrielle is also the face of New York & Company’s 7th Avenue Design Studio Collection.

Gabrielle Union x FTF Collection (Photo courtesy of Fashion to Figure)

About FASHION TO FIGURE
Fashion To Figure, founded in 2004 is a leading retailer of on-trend, plus-size apparel and accessories, operating 11 stores nationwide as well as a substantial eCommerce business. Following the brand’s relaunch in 2018 as part of the RTW multi-brand portfolio, Fashion To Figure has accelerated its growth by capitalizing on its fashion heritage while also executing against the brand’s strategic vision, resulting in a double-digit comp rate year-to-date driven by growth in the eCommerce channel. RTW Retailwinds, Inc (NYSE:RTW) includes New York & Company, Fashion To Figure, Eva Mendes Collection, Gabrielle Union Collection and Happy x Nature by Kate Hudson alongside its subscription services, NY&Company Closet and FTF Closet. Its branded merchandise is sold exclusively at its retail and outlet locations and online at www.nyandcompany.com, www.fashiontofigure.com, https://www.happyxnature.com/, www.nyandcompanycloset.com, www.fashiontofigurecloset.com

Ashley Stewart partners with Loni Love for holiday 2019 collection

November 7, 2019

Loni Love
Loni Love at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

The following is a press release from Ashley Stewart:

Ashley Stewart®, the leading lifestyle, fashion and social commerce brand, is excited to announce an exclusive holiday collection in partnership with Loni Love, long-time friend, two-time Finding Ashley Stewart finale host, Emmy Award winning comedian, actress, author and Celebrity Host of The Real.

Launching just in time for the upcoming holiday season, the 2019 Fall/Winter collection consists of trend-focused pieces curated by the comedic icon herself, offering the perfect holiday wardrobe for the modern day woman.

“As someone that has been wearing Ashley Stewart for as long as I can remember, collaborating with the Ashley family on my first-ever fashion partnership has been a dream come true,” said Loni Love. “Ashley Stewart is so much more than a clothing brand; it’s a movement and a lifestyle empowering and changing the lives of every day women. After serving as the host of the Finding Ashley Stewart finale for two consecutive years, I’ve experienced that sense of community firsthand. I’m honored and so excited to grow my partnership with Ashley Stewart by curating this year’s Fall/Winter holiday collection, and can’t wait to see how my curvy community rocks these looks all season long!”

Incorporating festive holiday colors, textiles, and textures, the exclusive Ashley Stewart X Loni Love Holiday collection includes 10 special occasion styles hand-selected by Loni. Offering consumers a peek into Loni’s Ashley Stewart closet, each of these pieces aims to seamlessly fit into Loni’s lifestyle and yours with festive loungewear for hanging out with family at home to statement styles ready for the spotlight, so everyone has the chance to rock their favorite style just like Loni Love this holiday season. The Loni Love x Ashley Stewart Holiday Collection is available for purchase beginning today in-stores and online at AshleyStewart.com in sizes 10 – 3X, and ranging in price from $40$80.

“Ashley Stewart has always strived to be more than a retailer, standing for individuality, community, and fun,” said James Rhee, Ashley Stewart Chairman and CEO. “Loni Love has been a great friend and ally in our mission for years.  Partnering with her on this holiday collection and her first fashion partnership was a natural progression of our friendship and we couldn’t be happier to share her collection with the Ashley family.”

For more information and to shop the new Ashley Stewart X Loni Love holiday collection, visit AshleyStewart.com and follow @ByAshleyStewart and @ByAshleyTV on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

About Ashley Stewart
Ashley Stewart is a global fashion and lifestyle brand that has propelled itself to be on the vanguard of social commerce and purpose-driven business. Since its founding in 1991 in Brooklyn, New York, Ashley Stewart has always stood for uncompromising style, fashion, confidence & empowerment for the woman who flaunts her curves. Today, Ashley Stewart offers the hottest looks with 88 stores across the United States, a leading and global  e-commerce presence at www.ashleystewart.com, a powerful social media presence @byashleystewart and a growing multimedia and events arm at AshleyTV. Every year, through the Finding Ashley Stewart Tour, Ashley Stewart traverses the country looking to recognize women who embody the ideals of the Ashley Stewart women: kindness, resilience, confidence, and community leadership. Through #ASGives, Ashley Stewart engages in programs such as the #AshleyCollegeTour to make long-term investments into the communities that have supported the brand for close to 30 years.

About Loni Love
Loni Love is a comedienne, actress, 2-time NAACP Image Award and Emmy winning co-host of TV’s “The Real” and the nationally syndicated radio show “Café Mocha”.

Victoria’s Secret launches exclusive lingerie collection with For Love & Lemons

September 20, 2019

Grace Elizabeth in lace underwire bra and thong (Photo courtesy of Victoria’s Secret)

The following is a press release from Victoria’s Secret:

Victoria’s Secret, the world’s most famous lingerie brand, introduces their new collaboration with Los Angeles-based fashion label For Love & Lemons. Launching today, Victoria’s Secret will serve as the exclusive third-party retailer of For Love & Lemons lingerie collection available at select Victoria’s Secret stores in the US and at VictoriasSecret.com, as well as select stores in the UK beginning September 27.

To celebrate the launch, For Love & Lemons founders Laura Hall and Gillian Rose Kern and collection muses entrepreneur Devon Lee Carlson and model Solange Van Doorn hosted a dreamy garden luncheon yesterday in New York City. Carlson and Van Doorn are joined by models Grace Elizabeth, Winnie Harlow, Hailey Clausen, and Jasmine Saunders in the romantic and captivating For Love & Lemons for Victoria’s Secret campaign.

A woman-owned and women-led business based out of Los Angeles, For Love & Lemons started as a lemonade stand in a small country town in Wyoming in 1996. Their business concept of loyalty, female camaraderie and ambitious drive has remained with them throughout their adulthood career. Confidence, femininity and individuality are the defining principles of their DNA.

Meant for individuals who take risks, forge their own way and embrace a bit of adventure; For Love & Lemons at Victoria’s Secret includes an array of bras, panties, lingerie, sleepwear and lifestyle pieces. From custom trims and prints to meticulously sourced fabrics, every piece in the collection is carefully thought out and intentionally constructed. Romantic lace meets feminine florals for the ultimate luxury. Colorful floral-embroidery, and rich jewel tones for every moment and every curve. Stunning corsets and edgy black lace sets are timeless additions to your wardrobe.  It’s not just a collection, it’s a love letter from Los Angeles to you.

The Victoria’s Secret Fifth Avenue (New York City) and New Bond Street (London) Flagship stores will provide a unique store design experience via For Love & Lemons branded shop-in-shops, transporting customers into the playful and feminine world of the coveted fashion label.

#FLLforVS     @VictoriasSecret

Shop the collection: https://www.victoriassecret.com/vs/newarrivals/for-love-and-lemons

Ashley Stewart has Salt-N-Pepa, Faith Evans, Loni Love at 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart event

September 16, 2019

Salt-N-Pepa
Salt-N-Pepa at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

The following is a press release from Ashley Stewart:

On September 14, Ashley Stewart, the leading lifestyle, fashion and social commerce brand, hosted its third annual, star-studded Finding Ashley Stewart finale event in search of their 2019 brand ambassador, naming Addlia Edwards as this year’s winner.

Edwards is a hairstylist and makeup artist, hailing from Atlanta, GA. She has a love for dancing, reading, singing, and bling things, and has always encouraged young girls to rise up and embrace their strength. Edwards uses her voice to empower others to “do what you want to do, and be who you want to be.”

2019 Finding Ashley Stewart finalists with host Loni Love (third from left) winner, Addlia Edwards (holding flowers) at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

“‘I Am Ashley’ – always have been, always will be – but now, to say I am officially Ashley Stewart 2019, is truly an honor,” said Addlia Edwards Ashley Stewart 2019. “Ashley Stewart has always meant so much more to me than just another fashion brand. Visiting an Ashley Stewart store is like going to your best friend’s house. It’s a home away from home and a place to go to reignite your confidence and feel empowered, and now by telling my story, hopefully I can inspire other girls, teens and women across the country to embark on their own journey to becoming the best versions of themselves – and who knows, maybe even Ashley Stewart 2020.”

The sold-out event celebrated all women who stand for leadership, confidence, resilience, kindness and public service, with special feature performances that brought down the house by legendary American hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa, Faith Evans, Kid Capri, DJ Olivia Dope, BK United Drumline & Dancers, and more, along with Power 105.1’s Honey German, who hosted the pink carpet pre-show.

“We heard all about the Finding Ashley Stewart finale from year’s passed, but had no idea what we really signed up for until we stepped foot on that stage Saturday night,” said Salt-N-Pepa. “It was the most amazing night, with the most lively audience, celebrating a shared love of community. We were so honored to be part of this year’s event and are proud to say that ‘We are Ashley Stewart’.”

Loni Love at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

The Finding Ashley Stewart finale was hosted by comedian, actress and Emmy Award-winning host of “The Real,” Loni Love, whose jokes kept the audience on their toes and entertained through the night.

Celebrity judges and special guests attended and had the crowd going wild, including producer and media mogul Yandy Smith, drag queen, performer and Season 11 contestant of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Silky Ganache, American journalist and essayist Charisse Jones, Partner & Chief Relationship Officer at Egami Group Mike Warner, and former 2018 and 2017 Ashley Stewart winners Tiffany Flamer and Theresa Larsen.

2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Scholarship winners with Sekou Kaalund, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Advancing Black Pathways (second from right) and James Rhee, chairman and CEO of Ashley Stewart (far right) at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

As part of Ashley Stewart’s #ASGives initiative – a philanthropic platform for long-term investments in the communities that have supported the brand for close to 30 years – the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart finale event awarded over $300,000 in scholarships and charitable donations, partnering with organizations such as Susan G. Komen, Black Retail Action Group, and others. Ashley Stewart surprised Loni Love at the end of the night by awarding scholarships to two students, Alexis Hunter and Jamelarmeshia Reddick, from her alma mater, Prairie View University. Sekou Kaalund, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Advancing Black Pathways, appeared on stage to help present additional $5,000 individual scholarships to Spelman College students Diop Russell and Chablise Davis, Montclair State University students Kristen Walsh and Jordanne Nelson, Rutgers University students Erica Lassiter and Heba Hallak, Hampton University student Jayla Brown, Medgar Evers College students Ginette Dimanche and Brooke Lugo Smith, Texas Southern University students Meghan Narcisse and Asia Bryant, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University student Zoë Mitchell, New Jersey City University students Evana Lyka Jornales and Georgina Moore, Georgia State University student Taylor McNeil, and North Carolina A&T State University student Lauren Atkinson.

For more information on this year’s Finding Ashley Stewart finale event, 2019 winner Addlia Edwards as well as past year’s winners Theresa Royals and Tiffany Flamer, watch the 2019 recap at YouTube.com/FindingAshleyStewart, and visit AshleyStewart.com/FindingAshleyStewart. Follow @ByAshleyStewart and @ByAshleyTV on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to learn more #FindingAshleyStewart and #AshleyCollegeTour news.

Judges Yandy Smith, Silky Ganache, Theresa Royals and Mike Warner at the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Event at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Ashley Stewart)

About Ashley Stewart
Ashley Stewart is a global fashion and lifestyle brand that has propelled itself to be on the vanguard of social commerce and purpose-driven business. Since its founding in 1991 in Brooklyn, New York, Ashley Stewart has always stood for uncompromising style, fashion, confidence & empowerment for the woman who flaunts her curves. Today, Ashley Stewart offers the hottest looks with 88 stores across the United States, a leading and global  e-commerce presence at www.ashleystewart.com, a powerful social media presence @byashleystewart and a growing multimedia and events arm at AshleyTV. Every year, through the Finding Ashley Stewart Tour, Ashley Stewart traverses the country looking to recognize women who embody the ideals of the Ashley Stewart women:  leadership, confidence, resilience, kindness and public service. Through #ASGives, Ashley Stewart engages in programs such as the #AshleyCollegeTour to make long-term investments into the communities that have supported the brand for close to 30 years.

Victoria’s Secret blasted by models, who sign open letter demanding protection from sexual misconduct in workplace

August 7, 2019

by Daphne Sorenson

Victoria’s Secret models backstage at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC)

More than 100 models and several of their allies (including Models Alliance and Times Up) have signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas to demand an end to the sexual abuse and sexual harassment that has allegedly been running rampant against Victoria’s Secret models.

The letter reads, in part: “In the past few weeks, we have heard numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models. While these allegations may not have been aimed at Victoria’s Secret directly, it is clear that your company has a crucial role to play in remedying the situation.  From the headlines about L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner’s close friend and associate, Jeffrey Epstein, to the allegations of sexual misconduct by photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere, and Greg Kadel, it is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls.”

Most of the models who signed the open letter are not very well-known in the industry or are well-known models who are over the age of 30, such as Milla Jovovich, Emme, Doutzen Kroes, and Carolyn Murphy. Noticeably absent from the letter are supermodels who’ve been steadily employed by Victoria’s Secret in recent years, such as Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Behati Prinsloo, Jasmine Tookes, Barbara Palvin and Taylor Hill. Adriana Lima, who retired from Victoria’s Secret runway shows in 2018, was also not on the list of people who signed the letter.

L Brands (based in Columbus, Ohio) is the parent company of Victoria’s Secret.  The letter was published just two days after L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek publicly announced he was leaving the company. Wexner and Razek had close ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested again in July 2019, for sex crimes, specifically, for sex trafficking of women and underage girls.

Razek came under fire in 2018, when he said in a Vogue interview that Victoria’s Secret was not interested in hiring plus-sized or transgender models. In August 2019, Victoria’s Secret hired its first transgender model: Valentina Sampaio, who posted the news on her Instagram account.

The open letter blasting Victoria’s Secret is the latest blow to the company, which officially canceled the 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show only a few months after it was announced that the show would not be televised anymore. Victoria’s Secret and its Pink spinoff brand have also been experiencing a sharp decline in sales in recent years.

August 10, 2019 UPDATE: Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10, 2019. According to the Associated Press, he died in the morning of an apparent suicide by hanging. The Associated Press also reports that although Epstein, who was 66, had been on suicide watch in the weeks leading up to his death, he was not on suicide watch at the time he was found dead. He had been denied bail while waiting to be put on trial on charges of sex-trafficking of underage girls. Of course, Epstein’s sudden death has fueled conspiracy theories that he might have been murdered to prevent him from exposing who his rich and powerful clients were in the sex crimes that Epstein was accused of committing.