Thursday, November 22, 2012


"I've always tried to give women a sense of inner beauty with joy, and now it's just the right time to make that more democratic. When I was thinking about this collection, I wanted to give American classic shapes and ideas a global flair."- Duro Olowu

We know that J.C. Penney is not doing well, posting a $55 million net loss during the first quarter of 2012. But, the retailer is hitting back, tying its survival to a reinvention strategy announced this past January. Chief among it is J.C. Penney's strategic approach to wooing a highly desired demographic: the fashionable young consumer. According to, stores will be reorganized into specialty shops; high end designer collaborations with the likes of Duro Olowu,  Marchesa, Tourneau and Cynthia Rowley; and leadership by CEO Ron Johnson--who brought Apple to retail stores and is responsible for Target's strategic partnerships with fashion forward designers--are expected to turn the struggling retailer around. After digesting some competitive analysis, J.C. Penney is (finally) diving head first into the world of mass-retailer-and-hot-designer collaborations and is starting off by pairing with Nigerian-by-way-of-London designer Duro Olowu. Olowu, a former a laywer, is known as the designer responsible for bold, brash, painterly prints, a mix master of sorts, who is also the 2005 British Fashion Awards' Designer of the Year and a favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Click "read more" below for additional pictures and more on Duro Olowu's capsule collection for J.C. Penney. Click the label below for vintage Style Collaborations posts!

 Duro Olowu for JCP
"Working with J.C. Penney has allowed me to merge my vision of style and quality with their affordability, resulting in a line that is stylish, beautifully made and accessible. It has been an exciting experience to bring this fashion and home collection to life." - Duro Olowu

This collab begs the question: What took you so long, exactly? That's neither here nor there, really. The important thing is that the retailer is taking a calculated risk that is sure to bear fruit.

Duro Olowu for JCPenney Skinny Belt.

As mentioned, JC Penney is not content to tip its toes in tepid waters, in keeping with the head first approach, the Duro Olowu for JC Penney collection is not limited to apparel and accessories, it will also include home goods--dinner ware and decorative items--and stationary. And, in what might also be another first, Olowu himself is collaborating with peers: Bella Foster will work on prints and living fashion legend Iris Apfel will lend a hand on bags and necklaces. The Duro Olowu for JC Penney collection will become available in stores and online in Spring 2013 (March to May) and pieces will range from $10 - $100. Can't wait to see the collection live. Here's to J.C. Penney's successful reinvention!
Duro Olowu for JCPenney Clutch.

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