Ralph Lauren to launch “Friends”-inspired apparel line

Designer Ralph Lauren has joined forces with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to launch an apparel collection inspired by ‘90s sitcom “Friends.”

The wear-to-work collection is based on the series’ character Rachel Green, who was played by actor Jennifer Aniston. In the show, Rachel worked at a fictionalized version of the fashion label from seasons five through 10. Ralph Lauren, the designer behind the brand, even cameoed in an episode of the show in 1999.

Ralph Lauren’s ‘90s-styled capsule includes professional pieces such as blazers, wool pants, turtleneck sweaters and pleated miniskirts. The collection will be sold online and at “Friends”-themed Bloomingdale’s in-store pop-ups starting this month. In a unique bit of brand synergy, the Rachel character also worked at Bloomingdale’s in earlier seasons of the show.

Both the pop-ups and apparel come out during the 25th anniversary of “Friends.” The NBC show was previously licensed to companies such as Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and LEGO as part of the celebration.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/ralph-lauren-launch-friends-inspired-apparel-line

Smiley, DB Berdan team for gender-inclusive fashion

Smiley has partnered with streetwear brand DB Berdan for a new apparel collection.

Debuting at this year’s London Fashion Week, the Self-Love Club line takes references from the male-dominated world of sports clubs and turns them into a gender-inclusive activity. The collection aims to honor LGBTQ+ people in the sports industry such as Greg Louganis and Stella Walsh.

“Smiley continues to be the standout brand for upscale collaborations in licensing,” says Michaela Fass, vice president, fashion, Smiley. “All embracing and diverse, the Smiley has become the de facto icon of global counter-culture and a symbol of the ongoing symbiosis between fashion and music worlds. We are proud to partner with DB Berdan, who are creating highly innovative streetwear collections that spread an important message of diversity and inclusivity.”

Self-Love Club apparel showcases silhouettes inspired by the late ‘80s and early ‘90s hip hop and rave culture, scenes where Smiley frequently appeared. Collection highlights include cotton ‘80s bat sleeved button-up shirts and basketball shorts that turn into skirts. All items in the line incorporate authentic environmentally friendly prints created by DB Berdan.

Smiley has continued to play a key role in fashion over the years. Most recently, the brand partnered with Italian sports fashion brand Ellesse for a new collection.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/smiley-db-berdan-team-gender-inclusive-fashion

Mark Ronson, Lego spark kids creativity

The LEGO Group and musician Mark Ronson have launched a campaign–Rebuild The World–to help nurture the creative skills of children.

LEGO’s program will see more than 100 children meet Ronson and other artists to discuss ways they can explore their creative spark. The program will also include a series of workshops aimed at jumpstarting creative thinking in kids.

“My whole career has been about working with brilliant, creative people and seeing where our imaginations take us,” says Ronson. “Rebuild The World, is a wonderful opportunity to help inspire the next generation of creators who will come up with their own ideas to shape the future of everything from the way we live to the music we listen to.”

Ronson will also be joined by representatives from other creative fields. Partners in the discussion include British designer and inventor Dominic Wilcox, who will lead a series of Rebuilder Workshops this month. He, along with two other creatives, will challenge kids to solve everyday problems using LEGO bricks.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/toys/mark-ronson-lego-spark-kids-creativity

Kidz Bop World Tour expands run in the US, Canada & UK

Kidz Bop has partnered with Live Nation to extend the “Kidz Bop World Tour” to more than 35 cities across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

The announcement brings 20 new U.S. dates to the docket for this fall and in 2020. The Kidz Bop Kids will also perform their first-ever headlining tours in Canada and the U.K. as part of deal.

To coincide with the new shows, Kidz Bop, will release new albums on Nov. 5. Concerts see the Kids Bop Kids perform some of today’s top pop hits live on stage. Shows even give Dads the chance to show off their dance moves on stage during the “Daddy Dance Off” segments.

For tour dates and ticket information in the U.S. and Canada, visit KIDZBOP.com and LiveNation.com.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/live-events/kidz-bop-world-tour-expands-run-us-canada-and-uk

Eight finalists announced for 2019 BLE License This! competition

Eight exciting entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for this year’s Brand Licensing Europe License This! final following a record number of entries and an intense judging day last week in London, U.K.

Five brands are shortlisted in the Character & Animation category, and three are battling it out for the Brand & Design award. The final will take place in the License Global Theatre at BLE at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Character & Animation finalists are:

  • Adorabubbles;
  • Carrot and Toast;
  • Slime Fury (Argentina);
  • My Little Opera and
  • Noodoll.

Brand & Design finalists are:

  • Orange and Lilly (Hungary);
  • Owlasanas and
  • MINU’ Tiny Little Wonders (Italy).

“Having been part of the judging panel for the past three years, it was really pleasing to see some new and varied proposals in the character and animation category,” says Dan Grant, licensing director, Danilo. “We had a great selection of properties to judge this year from all around the world, which shows how much exposure this event is now receiving. From the long list of entries, we have been able to nominate five character and animation properties for the final that all have something different and exciting to offer. It’s now down to the finalists to convince the panel why their property should win the prize, and I’m really looking forward to judging the final.”

This year’s License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2020, one year’s Licensing International membership and PR support and advice from a panel of industry experts. Finalists will also receive legal consultation from competition sponsor Wynne-Jones. Previous entrants–both winners and finalists–have also signed lucrative agent and licensing deals off the back of the competition. Last year’s winners–Zara Picken and Sara Burman Designs–are both exhibitors at BLE 2019 and can be found in the Art, Design & Image zone.

“Early September now brings a great new regular feature of licensing life for me: my first look at the submissions to the annual License This! Competition,” says Kelvyn Gardner, chair and managing director, Licensing International U.K. “The contest has evolved as a filter for genuine new licensing talent, not just from the U.K. but with a great international dimension. We have responded by now offering two categories–character & animation and brand & design–which in turn, has boosted entry numbers and quality. With past winners and finalists now having launched successful licensing programmes, License This! really is the place to go if you’re looking for your start.”

This year’s judges are:

  • Kelvyn Gardner, chair and managing director, Licensing International;
  • Sarah Ward, chief executive officer, Giftware Association and
  • Victor Caddy, partner, Wynne-Jones.

Character & Entertainment Award Judges are:

  • Dan Grant, director, licensing, Danilo Promotions;
  • Nikki Samuels, licensing director, Sambro;
  • Clare Piggott, director, Larkshead Media and
  • Julia Redman, head of buying, M&Co.

Brand & Design Award Judges are: 

  • Stuart Cox, founder, I Like Birds;
  • Vicki Thomas, owner, Vicki Thomas Associates;
  • Sarah Lawrence, owner, This is Iris;
  • Jehane Boden Spiers, founder, Jehane and
  • Will Stewart, managing director, The Point.1888.

BLE 2019 takes place at ExCeL London from Oct.1-3. Register for free at the BLE website.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/licensing-events/eight-finalists-announced-2019-ble-license-competition

Cynthia Rowley shares Dr. Seuss-inspired apparel at NYFW

Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley debuted a new line of apparel inspired by the work of Dr. Seuss as part of a runway event at this year’s New York Fashion Week.

The spring 2020 “Oh! The Places You’ll Go” show included raffia hats, scalloped leather bags and two-tone shoes based on the art and characters of classic Seussian children’s book. Rowley’s collection joined the various festivities from NYFW, which included a runway show inspired by the Cheetos brand.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/cynthia-rowley-shares-dr-seuss-inspired-apparel-nyfw

Walmart Drew Barrymore

Walmart launches kids decor line from Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore has added to her Walmart home décor line with the launch of a new kids’ furniture and accessories collection.

The Drew Barrymore Flower Kids collection combines bespoke design and quality materials to bring Barrymore’s vision for kids’ furniture and décor to life. Barrymore worked in close collaboration with the Walmart.com’s design team. Her first-ever kids’ home collection, the line features more than 100 matched items.

“It’s so fun to be colorful, so nice to be cozy, and a real treat if you can be stylish and functional at the same time,” says Barrymore. “I’ve always loved creating joyful spaces for my children, and now I’m so excited to share my line of kids’ décor with you. So, let’s play house!”

The line is exclusively available now on Walmart’s family of sites, including Walmart.com, Jet.com, and Hayneedle.com. An assortment of kids’ items will also be available in select U.S. Walmart stores.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/home/walmart-launches-kids-decor-line-drew-barrymore

The death of the department store?

This week, luxury retailer Barneys New York announced that it had filed Chapter 11 and planned to close most of its stores (Reuters), leaving retail analysts and consumers wondering: Are we witnessing the death of department stores as we know it?

On Tuesday, Sears Holdings announced it would close 21 Sears stores by late October (CNN)–adding to the long list of Sears and Kmart store closures that have taken place since Sears Holdings Corporation’s October 2018 Chapter 11 filing.

But, wait, there’s more. On Wednesday, women’s fashion retailer A’Gaci filed Chapter 11 with plans to close all brick-and-mortar locations.

Though the economic implications behind what’s happening at retail are too nuanced and complicated to package into a neat sound bite, it’s clear that department stores are in trouble. Whether it’s because of convenience, competitive pricing or an increase in free-and-fast shipping— think Amazon Prime— more consumers have turned away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores and towards e-commerce to make their purchases.

In today’s retail landscape, options abound, which means high-end luxury retailers must compete with a seemingly limitless pool of competitors, who opt to offer the best possible deal to lock in the price-conscious, coupon-code-wielding consumer of today.

Even consumers who are attracted to luxury items want a good deal–and are willing to shop around for it. If you’re a Millennial mom strapped for time, why leave the comfort of your home to scour the aisles of a department store only to see whatever happens to be in-stock at the particular time when you can set advance search functions of a site like Gilt.com.

In 2019, it’s almost an antiquated idea go to a department store. Furniture? There are several furniture e-commerce sites and retailers to choose from. Clothing? Just scroll down your Instagram feed and you’ll happen upon a barrage of ads from clothing retailers–high-end and fast fashion­–cleverly promoting their products to you via incredibly targeted ads that happen to know exactly what you’re poised to purchase. Cosmetics? Why not head to Sephora’s snazzy website, where you rack-up points toward your next Givenchy lipstick purchase and get free samples of product or search Amazon’s endless supply of products. Appliances­–again, Amazon.

So, what place do department stores have in today’s retail landscape? Who will choose Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom or JCPenney over an online shop? Or, maybe the better question is, how can department stores compete (and beat) the e-commerce giants and today’s easily-accessible myriad of retailers? What is the strategy? Who is the ideal target demographic? And what is the point of differentiation?

The natural solution might appear to be to target the older consumer who doesn’t shop online but prefers a more tactile approach to shopping; someone who grew up going to Macy’s sales event. But catering to this group is only putting a temporary Band-Aid on the problem.

You’ve got to play the long game like establish brands such as Nordstrom have done. In recent years, the luxury retailer has been lauded by organizations like the National Retail Federationfor leveraging the latest technology and training to provide quality customer service. Nordstrom’s use of mobile apps combined with their focus on personal service has seen the store survive the changing tides of retail and see modest growth over the last few years(GeekWire).

Stores must evolve and embrace the inevitable societal and technological changes that are irreversibly affecting consumer trends. Traditional department stores must aim younger and cooler and leverage all available technology and social network platforms. Macy’s, for example, gets it. The retailer announced this week that its back-to-school promotion would include shoppable commercials on the “Snapchat” app. Macy’s will also launch a video-sharing challenge on the “TikTok” app dubbed “All Brand-New Challenge,” encouraging teens to record videos that showcase their new school outfits and share them via social media. This clever call-to-action speaks to younger consumers in their language–snap and share. Macy’s has also launched campaigns for pop-ups that featured “Pinterest” Pincodes for visitors to scan, which revealed a board with curated outfits based on each location. For the 2018 holiday season, Macy’s also offered shoppable Instagram stories based on personalized gift guides.

Though Macy’s faces an uphill battle (the retailer reported a decline in Q1 revenue, year-over-year), it’s on the right track and launching clever marketing campaigns that highlight its own brand name and cool narrative-driven retail concepts, such as STORY. Department stores should follow suit and implement fresh marketing campaigns that tackle all consumer touchpoints and authentically attract a younger customer base to ensure longevity. Offering free shipping is a must, and meeting consumers where they are–online–is no longer an option but a necessity.

The stakes are high, and department stores who don’t adapt will face the same fate as Barneys, Sears, et al.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/analysis/death-department-store

WWE Superstars to battle in ‘Brawlhalla’

Ubisoft has announced that WWE Superstars will join “Brawlhalla” as part of its epic crossover partnerships.

The special SummerSlam themed in-game event will see former and current WWE Superstars join the game as playable characters. “Brawlhalla’s” Epic crossovers will be available as a downloaded purchase for 300 mammoth coins.

Epic crossovers see existing “Brawlhalla” characters get reskinned to mirror characters not initially available in the game. The limited-edition crossover characters also receive unique fighting moves as part of the partnership. WWE’s crossover coincides with the upcoming SummerSlam event happening this year.

Superstars available for download include:

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an Epic Crossover for Sentinel;
  • John Cena as an Epic Crossover for Hattori;
  • Becky Lynch as an Epic Crossover for Gnash and
  • Xavier Woods as an Epic Crossover for Bodvar.

The “Brawlhalla” news follows a long line of in-game licensing deals that are providing licensors new avenues for partnerships

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/video-games/wwe-superstars-battle-brawlhalla

Viacom acquires Garfield brand for Nick portfolio

Viacom has announced plans to acquire Paws Inc., the global rights owner of the Garfield and the U.S. Acres franchises.

Following the completion of the acquisition, Viacom subsidiary Nickelodeon will develop a new Garfield animated television series. Global merchandising rights for Garfield will be managed by Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products, including the property’s existing portfolio of licensees. Garfield creator Jim Davis will continue to produce the Garfieldsyndicated comic strip.

The acquisition of Garfield will expand Nickelodeon’s growing portfolio of properties that already includes “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “PAW Patrol,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Blue’s Clues & You!” and an all-new animated “Star Trek” series.

Garfield is a global evergreen franchise that is a natural fit with Nickelodeon and our portfolio of iconic properties,” says Pam Kaufman, president, VNCP. “With fans around the globe that span both kids and adults, we are excited to ignite Garfield into a multigenerational consumer products juggernaut and further deliver on VNCP’s ‘Every Age, Every Aisle’ mission.”

Originated by cartoonist Jim Davis, Garfield has spawned movies, TV shows, stage shows, and various consumer merchandise. Last year, the character celebrated its 40th anniversary with a variety of licensing deals.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/character/viacom-acquires-garfield-brand-nick-portfolio