A Jaclyn Smith Fashion Redux, Without Kmart – WWD

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Jaclyn Smith has parted ways with Kmart, but her fashion collection is reborn for a fall/holiday 2022 launch thanks to a licensing deal with RDG Global LLC, WWD has learned.

“I can’t wait for women to see the clothes,” Smith said in an interview. “They are very modern yet timely and timeless. This does not mean outdated in any way. I love classic, but we’re right on trend with what’s out there.

The collection includes women’s activewear, sweaters, loungewear, sleepwear, outerwear, cold weather accessories and denim, in plus and regular sizes. With around 60 pieces, including rolled-up sleeve blouses, faux fur jackets and crocodile-embossed faux leather skirts, the collection will offer “bargain-priced wardrobe builders”, as well as more fashionable pieces at higher prices.

“It’s for women who need to go a million different places, women of all shapes and sizes,” Smith said, emphasizing versatility and inclusiveness. “One of the characteristics of my clothes is the cut. I have a very diverse clientele, from all walks of life. Women aged 35 and over are targeted.

Jaclyn Smith in her upcoming fall/holiday collection.

It’s a new chapter for Jaclyn Smith and her enduring women’s collection, just as Kmart comes to an end, closing stores in what has been a sad and slow act of demise from the retail landscape. The chain is down to about half a dozen locations, down from nearly 2,500 in the mid-1990s. One of the factors that kept Kmart going — despite bankruptcy, poor management, ownership changes and competition the company didn’t see coming – has been the Jaclyn Smith brand and the customer loyalty it has engendered since its inception 36 years ago. During its peak years, the collection included women’s apparel, accessories, intimates, footwear, seasonal gifts, bedding, table tops, décor and furniture, and generated sales. sales of $250 million to $300 million, sources said.

“Back then, there was no social media and no mass-market fashion. I launched with in-store appearances, print and TV ads, which gave me a solid base with my customers. They could meet me and ask me questions. I was visiting a different store and city every other weekend and doing talk shows. It was short trips, because I had young children.

Now it’s all about social media.

“Granted, my career brought customers to Kmart, but what kept them coming back to the store was the product,” Smith said. “My dream was to build something that would stand the test of time, to build a quality brand at an affordable price. That’s still my philosophy.”

RDG, a leading private label supplier to retailers located at 550 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan’s Garment District, is preparing its showroom for retailers to view the new collection in mid-February. RDG is responsible for design, sourcing, manufacturing, sales and distribution, and providing photos and other elements.

Executives involved in the project said the collection could sit at retailers such as Kohl’s, QVC, TJ Maxx, Burlington, Amazon or Costco, and a mid-level department store could sell products from the Jaclyn collection. Smith, although the cast is TBD. . They are planning to offer a major retailer the exclusivity of the collection, although it is possible that it will be picked up by more than one retailer.

“It’s not Kmart anymore,” said Kenneth L. Wyse, the former executive of VF Corp., now president and CEO of Wyse Consulting LLC, Smith’s licensing agent, which entered into the deal. five-year clothing deal with a five-year deal. renewal.

Precise pricing has yet to be set and would depend on retailer, margin target, and material and shipping costs, which have increased significantly due to COVID-19.

Smith became an overnight icon playing Kelly Garrett in the television series “Charlie’s Angels” which ran from 1976 to 1981. The other two angels were played by Farah Fawcett and Kate Jackson, but Smith was the only one of the original Three Angels to remain with the series for its entire duration. Smith has acted in several films and had roles in two of the three “Charlie’s Angels” films.

After the series, which is still seen in reruns, ended, Kmart approached her. “At the time, I thought Kmart was the wrong place for fashion, and I was contracted to Max Factor,” which discouraged her from Kmart’s offer. After some hesitation, Kmart persisted and encouraged her to look at Kmart’s Hunter’s Glen line. “It was reminiscent of Ralph Lauren – collegiate, bespoke, at a price I couldn’t believe,” Smith recalls. “So I thought a bit more about Kmart, that it would be difficult, and I decided to take it up, against a lot of people who were saying not to. But it was one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made. I took. It was an education. It challenged me in a way that taught me a lot… I had a father who encouraged me to think about the future, to invest and to always have backup plans. That was definitely my backup plan.

Kmart’s Jaclyn Smith was introduced to the media and the world in 1985 and is still considered the most enduring celebrity collection, although not the first. Model Cheryl Tiegs launched a collection with Sears in 1981, and the concept dates back to at least the early 1900s, when dancer and silent film star Irene Castle had a fashion line.

Smith’s contract with Kmart expired at the end of July 2021. There is a one-year sale period, so some parts can still be found.

Smith said she was very sad about Kmart’s collapse. “Kmart is part of my story. But you know retail is a moving target, there is competition. At Kmart, “there was just this constant coming and going of CEOs and people. You always have to put a constant flow of goods there. Because however the company was run, it leaned more towards hard lines and didn’t focus so much on clothing. I know business today is tough.

Among her favorite pieces are faux fur jackets, soft quilted jackets with gold zip pockets and joggers with cargo pockets. “My denim is very flattering on all sizes and shapes,” she noted.

“I work with this team that I know from my past and they’re just amazing,” she said, quoting RDG President Patricia Johnson and RDG Senior Vice President of Women’s Design Bruce Goldberg. , who both previously worked at Kmart and the Jaclyn Smith brand. Johnson was Kmart’s divisional vice president, women, and Goldberg was senior director for women and juniors. “We have this constant dynamic exchange of ideas,” Smith said.

“There’s definitely a sophistication to that line,” Smith said. “There is no need to continue what you have done unless you can improve it, but I don’t want to set aside what I have done at Kmart. I am proud of what I have done over the years. But right now it has to go in a new direction.

Her company, Jaclyn Smith International, also creates wigs, skincare and fabrics. “I would love to go home,” Smith said. “I like architecture, mixing eras in furniture. I have studied this over and over again. With the house, I would keep my same philosophy and make it accessible to everyone. I have been approached. I focused on the clothes, but it could happen.

“We did a huge deal at Kmart with Jaclyn Smith,” said Lisa Schultz, partner at Wyse Consulting and former executive vice president of product development and design at Kmart and Sears. “Jaclyn has really resonated with consumers. There must have been customers who came to Kmart just to buy Jaclyn. She is well known, and yes her face is known. Jaclyn Smith managed to maintain a good volume despite Kmart’s setbacks. People didn’t buy it because they saw it in a movie. They buy it because they trust it. She is very authentic. We know [customers] I loved the Jaclyn Smith jeans and the classic white shirt and beautiful silky soft blouses. Now there is a much more generous and luxurious fit. There is this simplicity, beautiful prints, luxurious fabrics at an affordable price. Some things that existed as Staples are updated.

“Jaclyn is very executive involved,” added Wyse. “She does it with a certain warmth and a very respectful demeanor. She will tell you what she likes and what she doesn’t like why she likes it or why she doesn’t like it. There’s a relaxed, elegant California chic to her. She will make suggestions about something. She has the right to veto everything.

Exclusive: a Jaclyn Smith Fashion Redux,

Plus sizes are part of the Jaclyn Smith collection.

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