Lauren “The Hills” Conrad for Kohls
Kohl’s is expected to announce Wednesday that in October, Ms. Conrad, 23, will introduce a casual California-inspired clothing line for young women in 300 Kohl’s stores and on Kohls.com. Later, Kohl’s plans to sell the exclusive brand, LC Lauren Conrad, in all of its more than 1,000 stores.
The retailer has become a favorite of analysts in part for a strategy of acquiring well-known brands (or brands by well-known people) and selling them at low prices. It is particularly effective in this economy where shopping is no longer a national pastime.
“To be important to the consumer today, you need to differentiate yourself,” Don Brennan, senior executive vice president of Kohl’s, said Monday in a telephone interview. “You need to give the customer a reason to come in and shop with you. And we feel like these exclusive brands do just that.”
It is a model that its higher scale competitor Target has used to its advantage and that Wal-Mart has struggled to master. Last year, exclusive and private brands at Kohl’s — like Simply Vera by Vera Wang; Elle, which is named for the women’s fashion magazine; and Food Network — accounted for more than 40 percent of the company’s sales. In March, when sales at most of the nation’s department stores open at least a year fell by double digits, sales at comparable Kohl’s stores fell a modest 4.3 percent.
Kohl’s executives are banking on Ms. Conrad’s celebrity — and on young women’s desire to emulate her feminine yet relaxed way of dressing, which has been chronicled for years on two MTV reality shows. Ms. Conrad has grown up on television — first as the good girl in the hit series “Laguna Beach,” about the rivalries and heartaches of privileged California teenagers, and then on “The Hills,” a spinoff that is MTV’s top-rated show.
“The Hills” picks up where “Laguna Beach” left off, following Ms. Conrad’s life as a student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, an intern at Teen Vogue, a single woman and a voice of reason among petty friends. Ms. Conrad’s rift with her former best friend, Heidi Montag, is one of the most talked-about pop culture rivalries since Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
The collaboration between Kohl’s and Ms. Conrad has been in the works for more than a year, before the economy took a nose dive. Kohl’s, however, is in a category of stores — discount and low-price chains — uniquely positioned to weather a recession. Prices in Ms. Conrad’s clothing line are $20 to $60. That may work in her favor.
“Now that the economy’s not doing so well, I think it’s everybody that’s looking for bargains,” Ms. Conrad said. “I think that it’s actually great timing.”
This is not Ms. Conrad’s first attempt at designing a clothing line — but the low prices are new. In 2007, MTV and Tangerine promotions helped finance a line by Ms. Conrad called Lauren Conrad Collection. Casual dresses sold for more than $100 — and fans and some fashion writers complained. Ms. Conrad acknowledged in a telephone interview that the clothing line “wasn’t as accessible and affordable as I wanted it to be.”
Her new line will be exclusive to Kohl’s and will have wardrobe basics like jeans and knits. Kohl’s will manufacture, produce, distribute and market the collection. And Ms. Conrad and Kohl’s will collaborate on the designs.
Her original clothing line, Lauren Conrad Collection, is being overhauled, she said. She plans to take it overseas in 2010. “I wanted to give it a whole new feel,” she said, “but that requires us to take a few seasons off.”
Ms. Conrad’s label for Kohl’s represents a new chapter for her: she has said this will be her last season on “The Hills.” Little did fans know that while she was darting in and out of nightclubs with a camera crew, she was spending her days with Kohl’s.
“I’m very excited that I’m allowed to talk about it now,” she said.
Oh.. It make me like really wante to be a reality star show after knowing that Lauren Conrad, The Hills front is doing really well in fashion industry. Anyone interested with my life that include:-
i. work ( you can change my work)
iii. attend function(dress me with designers latest wear)
iv. Occasionally drama queen ( Leave it to me!)
v. shopping (to the max credit limit!)
vi. Eat (for commercial value, you can make me as an aneroxic or bullimic guy!)
Anyone interested please send formal letter!
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