Fashion Designer: Gabrielle Union Launches Clothing Collection With New York & Co.

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Gabrielle Union in one of the looks from her collection for New York & Co.

Actress Gabrielle Union, who is currently starring in the BET drama Being Mary Jane continues to expand her forever growing résumé. In the beginning of this year, DM Fashion Book reported the Union added “beauty” to her résumé, by launching a hair-care line, Flawless by Gabrielle Union (see it here).

Now the 44-year-old actress has added a new title to her résumé: fashion designer.

Union has designed a collection for New York & Co., which will be sold in the retailer’s 335 full-price stores beginning Aug. 16, as well as online.

In a multiyear partnership, Union will design three collections for fall and another three for spring, followed by multiple collections in ensuing years.

I wanted to offer on-trend fashion at affordable prices. That’s the bottom line,” Union said in a telephone interview with WWD.

Her goal is to created nice pieces at affordable prices. “There’s got to be a way of creating fly, dope, on-trend, fashion-forward pieces for a much lower price, and that was my goal,” she said.

Asked to describe her personal style, Union said, “I always describe my personal style as ever-evolving and changing. It depends on my mood. Some days I get up and I just want to rock joggers. Some days I get up and I’m all about a statement piece, and some days I want a beautiful sheath dress. I’m not one of those people you say ‘boho chic.’ My closet pretty much looks like Intermix. A little high, a little low and a little everything in between.”

New York & Co. gave her free rein to design whatever she chose. “The direction was ‘we want what you think is amazing.’ Usually when people come to you offering deals, they give you a short leash. Not with New York & Co. They said, ‘We want you to offer something that people might not expect and we’ve never seen before.’ I’ve really taken that challenge and run with it,” she said.

The first apparel collection was inspired by her character on Being Mary Jane, where she plays a news anchor.

She’s a fierce leader, she loves a statement piece, she brings a lot of flair to the workplace,” Union said. “I wanted that leadership element of my character to jump out. You see a lot of great sheath dresses in materials that are incredibly flattering and helpful. In my own life, I’ll say to my stylist, ‘This material is fighting me and it’s winning,’” she said. A lot of the fabrics she uses have stretch, “but with stretch that doesn’t have too much give. It will hold you in place.”

Her collection has 51 stockkeeping units and seven will be online only. The first collection hits stores Aug. 16, and there will be a second wave to add freshness to the assortment that will be available Aug. 31. The next full collection will come out in October. Describing the multiyear deal, she said, “I wanted to make a commitment.”

The first collection includes pants, suits, joggers, dresses and bodysuits. Union plans to add accessories down the road. “My goal is create the world’s most perfect stretch pant. Eventually I’d love to do denim and intimates,” she said.

Everything retails for under $100 except for the outerwear. For example, dresses retail from $74.95 to $79.95, jumpsuits are $89.95, separates are $46.95 to $69.95 and jackets/outerwear retail from $89.95 to $139.95. All of the fabrics have properties that hold its shape and enhance curves, including all proprietary brocades and embroideries. The collection includes novelty jacquard knits and crepe suiting. Sizes range from 0-20 and XS to XXL.”

The label is called Gabrielle Union. “We wanted to create a tag that was classy, understated and clear,” she said. The collection will have a separate area on the selling floor at New York & Co. “And the hope that it will be in the on-trend area of the store,” she said.

Union first became a brand ambassador for New York & Co.’s 7th Avenue Design Studio line in April, when she became the face of that collection. She will continue to appear in many campaigns for both 7th Avenue and her namesake collection.

Norman Jean Roy shot the Gabrielle Union Collection campaign in New York in June. Ads will appear in Glamour, in-store and online, as well as New York & Co.’s social media and Union’s personal channel.

Union said she plans to do personal appearances at the store, and expects to promote the collection while she is promoting her other lines, such as her Flawless hair products and her new book that comes out Oct. 17 called We’re Going to Need More Wine.”

Gabrielle Union in one of the looks from her collection for New York & Co.

Gabrielle Union in one of the looks from her collection for New York & Co.

Photos Credit: Norman Jean Roy

Source: WWD

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