Von Dutch readies Los Angeles flagship store
Von Dutch, with its catchy logo, seduced the U.S. market at the turn of the millenium. Clever celebrity product association with pop-stars, and a bling-bling style highlighted by designer Christian Audigier, saw the brand achieve global success. However, such success also accelerated the demise of the label, which progressively disappeared in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Bought in 2009 by Royer, Von Dutch was relaunched in 2014 by the French group and Olivier Mercier, the CEO of Royal Brands International. Mercier decided to position the brand as 'Kustom Kulture', corresponding to the identity of artist-mechanic Kenny Howard, nicknamed 'Von Dutch.'
The relaunch has seen the brand, via international licenses and distribution, establish more than 2,500 points of sale across the world. It's a growing retail presence that brand management intends to support with the opening of a Los Angeles store.
"We are opening a 150 square metre store in Los Angeles," explained Olivier Mercier.
"The launch will take place in spring, around April or May, with a Von Dutch-style atmosphere, inspired by his garage and the customisation of cars."
The opening also highlights the ambition of the brand, whose business volume would today be some $45 million. Von Dutch's primary market is The Philippines, where it boasts a network of 20 boutiques and 90 concessions in Manila. However, Von Dutch is playing hardball in the U.S.
"We are present in France, Italy, Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand, and also in the German-Austrian-Swiss zone. But with a presence in Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Bloomingdale's, and our development with multibrand retailers, the U.S. could become the major market from 2018."
In France, distribution lies with Textiss (Freegun) who, after targeting specialists Kustom, has expanded its target to jeaners and neojeaners.
"We are seeing people reappropriating the logo and the main product is the cap," said Sylvian Caire, the French group's chief, while attending the Paris tradeshow Who's Next.
"New product is dropped every two months. This has allowed us to attract around 500 customers. In 2016, we achieved a turnover of around 2.5 million euros and we should achieve 50% growth in 2017. I think there's potential to hit 10 million euros with Von Dutch."
A potential that is all the greater as the brand expands into and develops an accessories line. Von Dutch will soon offer a range of shoes made by the Royer group.
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