The Fred Segal store on Sunset Blvd is 13,000 square feet and, in a new setup, Diesel will have about 600 of those square feet all to itself, offering a small mix of its bestsellers alongside collaborations with streetwear-centric brands A-Cold-Wall, Eric Emanuel and ReadyMade. While Diesel has been sold on and off at Fred Segal in the past, this is the first time the brand will be housed in the retailer’s flagship. But Rosso said such a big and targeted presence inside another retailer is part of his new retail mentality.
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“What the company is going after is more qualitative distribution,” Rosso said. “Our mantra now is to work on quality over quantity. We believe going after top net sales and having crazy returns is pushing the customer away and it’s not what the company wants to be about.”
With the Fred Segal partnership, which does not include any lease on the space, Rosso sees a good opportunity for Diesel to further engage in the “drop culture” starting to cement in fashion, while also having a real retail presence in a still-popular shopping area in a major city. It closed its own flagship in L.A. in 2016 and now has one inside the Beverly Center mall. But generating hype for its own sake is maybe even more vital to the brand right now.
“If I had to give a preference, at this moment it’s more about driving attention and showing what Diesel is all about,” Rosso said.
Retail is still important to the business though, and it’s own retail sales make up the biggest part of its business, followed by e-commerce, then wholesale. Rosso said retail is still a “fundamental” core, despite being much-changed from just a few years ago.
“What we explored in the 2000s — open as many stores as we can, long-term leases all over the place — I think this is gone,” he added. “The modern way to do retail is different stores in key locations, then short-term leases in test markets and then experiential pop-up stores to drive interest. A mix of all of that.”
And being the store to showcase Diesel in a new way is fine with John Frierson, president of Fred Segal. He said he saw Rosso in Paris months back and the brand was doing “so many new things, we decided to make a feature out of it.”
“It’s really our philosophy to showcase brands and let them do it their way,” Frierson said. “People come to us to see what’s happening next and that can be a new brand or a new collaboration. They’re interested in something super creative.”
As for fashion’s onslaught of collaborations, from high to low and everywhere in between, Frierson said such collections are still selling and generating shopper interest in-store.
“It does create newness and excitement, so I don’t see that going away,” he said.
One thing he’s less sure about is whether streetwear style and products will continue on its run of popularity. Despite all of the Diesel collaborations coming into Fred Segal having such a bent, Frierson said he doesn’t see the store as focused on the trend.
“We’re not really a streetwear store, to be honest,” he said.
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