For Kohl's new Design Nation program, the mass retailer is taking the high-low collaboration model to new places -- literally -- flying designers to a city of their choice to gain inspiration for their collection. Narciso Rodriguez and a team of Kohl's executives kicked off the program with a trip to Istanbul earlier this year.
It was a really interesting idea to travel somewhere you had never been to before, and get your inspiration from a place that wouldnt normally be in your comfort zone, bring that back and turn it into a collection, Rodriguez told WWD. I was completely inspired by the people, the city and all the different cultures.
Rodriguez took in the "really cool new scene" of the Turkish city, visiting museums, palaces, bazaars and hopping on a boat tour down the Bosphorus. Hours spent browsing through and photographing rugs resulted in an abstract print for the Kohl's collection, which will launch in November.
Featuring outerwear, knitwear, dresses and tops, the month-long line will retail for $30 to $150, thus bringing Rodriguez's work to a much wider audience. A designers mission is to dress as many people as possible, he said. Its always been something that I have looked to do to reach and touch peoples lives with my work."
Rodriguez also understands that in today's fashion climate, mass appeal is almost a necessity. There is a broadened opportunity now, and every designer is looking to touch peoples lives in different ways, whether its through fragrance, accessories, capsule collections, or secondary lines. Theyre all very real parts of the business today.
The Kohl's Design Nation program, originally intended for JC Penney, is partnered with the CFDA and its Business Services Network through LF USA to pair up designers with the department store. Derek Lam is rumored to follow in Narciso Rodriguez's footsteps, but for now everyone's playing the "no comment" game, which as we all know means it's probably true. [WWD, sub req'd]