Wanna see more photos of the collection? Steve & Barry's doesn't want you to. CLICK HERE to find out why.
Starting June 1, Carrie Bradshaw acolytes will be able to dress like their heroine for less when the 400 piece Bitten Sarah Jessica Parker collection launches at the 200-store Steve & Barry’s low-price chain. Priced at $20 or less, the offerings will include wool blend suit separates; shirts in a fabrics like voile, Swiss dots, dobby stripes & stretch poplin; classic sweaters in wool and cashmere; black cotton dresses, denim, lingerie, swim, bags, jewelry, and accessories. For fall, an additional 100 items will be added.
As a high profile fashionista, it’s not surprising that SJP is launching a line. "The fact that she's going into apparel does make sense because she's a fashion icon," Robin Kramer of Kramer Design Group (a brand identity and store design firm) recently told WWD. Plus she’s a familiar face to many with a high Q score amongst women between the ages of 18 to 34, regardless of income level. "She has a 90 percent familiarity in that age group, which is an important consideration," notes Steven Levitt of Marketing Evaluations. "Are there better choices [of celebrities] to hit this market? Probably. Are there better markets for her to go with this product? That depends on the product." And with such merchandise retailing at such a low price, the risk is that should the product be poor quality, her image could suffer. "I don't think any of this is about price. It's about the image they project and whether they add a lot of value and fashion to the products," agrees licensing expert Mary Gleason – who helped Kathie Lee Gifford with her Wal-Mart collection and the Payless launch of Shaquille O'Neal sneakers. "The only way it will hurt her image is if they don't produce a quality product."
However, as a big fashion fish doing business with the chain dubbed "the fastest-growing retailer you never heard of" (Forbes magazine, 2005) – whose fashion offerings to this point have been limited to sweatshirts bearing college logos, Coors or Marvel Comics for $10 - Parker’s licensing deal is no doubt lucrative, which Gleason estimates to be in the range of 4 percent to 10 percent of sales. Nonetheless, she is of the mind that Parker might have sacrificed the opportunity to do a higher priced line. "I'm really surprised [by the deal]”, adds Gleason, mirroring other insider’s surprise that she ended up partnering with Steve & Barry’s. "She could have done H&M or Target. It doesn't make any sense that this would be the retailer she'd talk to. Her fragrance, Lovely, was so successful in department stores. There would have been a great opportunity to do a regular-priced line."
CLICK HERE to hear the Fashiontribes 5 Min. Podcast about this.
- Lesley Scott