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FASHIONTRIBES 5 MIN. PODCAST: Ralph Lauren Empire to Increase with a Stealthy New Division. FASHIONTRIBES FASHION BLOG & PODCAST

Pcn_ralph (The god of lifestyle branding: Ralph Lauren; photo:

So many stores, so little difference. As a result, the original lifestyle brand himself, Ralph Lauren, is launching Global Brand Concepts, a group that will partner up with deparment stores and specialty boutiques to develop exclusive lifestyle brands. "The large stores...sometimes don't see what they need or they want a new brand that says something about their company and gives them an identity, the way you need a face that says, 'Who am I, what do I stand for and what separates me from this other guy across the street?'" Lauren recently told WWD. "In this day and age, there are a handful of designers and brands that are very strong. They can grow, but at a certain level, they start to overlap. Consumers are looking for something new, retailers are looking for something new and the brands are looking to grow their business."

While the stores will own the inventory (and be responsible for markdowns & the like), Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.will be responsible for developing the brand, the advertising & marketing, and will own any trademarks that are developed in the new lines of women’s & children’s wear, accessories, and home furnishings will not be Polo- or Ralph Lauren-branded or marketed. "There is a world out there that I don't want to put Ralph Lauren in because Ralph Lauren is exclusive ...But there is more business, more growth. And there's a lot of potential in the stores that really need help, and they want what Ralph Lauren is about and see what we can do."

Just as Oscar de la Renta is relaunching his O Oscar sportswear line at Macy's, and Vera Wang is at Kohl’s, Lauren is rumored to be using Global Brand Concepts as a way to launch an exclusive lifestyle brand for mass-market retailer J.C. Penney. As for what these lines will specifically entail is anyone’s guess as long as it’s within "the world of what I am seeing and what I think is missing. It doesn't matter if that's hip-hop. Maybe I am thinking I want to do a new jeans brand or a new career look, a young look or home. It can have that diverse sensibility, but it has to be something I really want to do within this company". The theory behind what is essentially a private label development business is that it gives Polo Ralph Lauren more selling floor space other than just luxury outlets, without any worries about taking the brand downmarket. Although financial projections are being kept secret, Lauren did acknowledge that Global Brand will be expected to contribute a healthy amount to Polo’s bottom line, a 40 year old behemoth now raking in $3.75 billion in annual revenues. "This is a public company and a company that has to perform, so we sharpen up. We try and look at the future and see what we haven't done, what no one else has done and where we can be original. That's the premise." (via WWD)

To hear the Fashiontribes 5 Min. Podcast about this, visit

- Lesley Scott


January 17, 2007 in Fashion, Fashiontribes Daily Podcast, PODCAST, Podcaster News Shows, Pop Culture, Trend Alert, Weblogs | Permalink


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