Volcom shows its "feminine side" with Georgia May Jagger
At the beginning of June, summer weather was on the menu at one of the restaurants of Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris for the launch of the Volcom collection, developed with Georgia May Jagger. Volcom x GMJ and Stone Row x GMJ are the names of the two lines of the Californian label, owned by the Kering group, created with the young Georgia May Jagger (GMJ).
Launched in June, the first line is part of Volcom's "core" offering, which is the brand’s main collection, and features about 15 pieces, from a viscose romper to a black openwork jacket, to two bathing suits and a neoprene dress. It is distributed exclusively in Volcom and Zalando stores. The second line, Stone Row x GMJ, is more aspirational. Designed with higher-end fabrics, it also includes about 15 pieces, but it targets a "somewhat more mature" clientele than the "core" line. It will go on sale at the beginning of August.
This collaboration marks an important step in the Californian brand’s commitment to showcase its more "feminine side". As part of that effort, last October Volcom promoted Kelly Summer, to head of design for their women's collections. The English designer was previously "senior designer" for the women's collection of Volcom Europe, working in France and then in London. Last June, the young designer was offered a promotion. Though she was very attached to European culture, and especially hesitated to settle in Los Angeles because of her dog, she has since taken the plunge. She now oversees three designers, a graphic designer, a designer who specializes in print, as well as three designers based in three other continents: Europe, Australia and Japan.
"I was chosen to develop a stronger identity for the women’s line with a more street, more urban influence and therefore a little less 100% Californian," says Kelly Summer. "The brand wanted to emphasize three points: strengthening the women's collection by focusing on a greater coherence with the men's collection, taking more inspiration from European streetwear, but also working with black and white, the colors of the brand's logo. I took all this into account while still working on the brand’s core values of skateboarding, surfing and rock.”
As for Georgia May Jagger, Kelly Summer’s thought she was the best possible pick: "We didn’t just want a celebrity name. We wanted a person who sincerely loved the brand. This is the case for Georgia. She participated in every step of the creation of the different lines. She has nothing to prove about her rock culture. What’s more, we have a common London culture."
Like other fashion brands, Volcom wants to improve its "sustainable" approach. After launching chinos from recycled materials, it developed a line of "sustainable" boardshorts and plans to use recycled cotton more and more often. This strategy seduced Georgia May Jagger.
Over the past few years, more than one brand from skateboard culture has gone through a "growth crisis" and had to deal with different setbacks. According to Kelly Summer, it is "essential to focus on our core values. Right now, the 90s are a huge trend in fashion. Fashion cycles come and go. Our goal is to evolve without being disrupted by the slightest emerging phenomenon. The brand has a very good image. We don’t want to loose that."
Founded in 1991 and bought by Kering in 2011, the American brand last year suffered from the effects of large multi-brand chains in difficulty across the Atlantic. It reported sales of 242 million euros, down 8 percent compared to 2015. It has about 40 brand stores across the world including 12 in France. One of its latest, a Paris flagship, just opened at the end of May in the Bastille neighborhood in Paris.
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