The Gloria Vanderbilt brand has a new face.
The denim-skewed label owned by One Jeanswear Group has tapped Priyanka Chopra Jonas to serve as an ambassador and feature in a new advertising campaign that will launch this summer.
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Chopra Jonas will be the first celebrity face of Gloria Vanderbilt since the late ’90s when Helena Christensen served in that role. She will be featured in a multimedia marketing initiative that will kick off on Aug. 1 and will include digital, social media, out-of-home and in-store components.
The campaign is titled “I Have Needs. Fit Them” and is meant to inspire women to speak up for what they want. The campaign will spotlight the Amanda jean, which was one of the original fits developed by the brand.
Jack Gross, chief executive officer of parent company OJG, said the company looked at a number of choices when searching for an ambassador and when he started researching Chopra Jonas, “she resonated with me and my team.”
“She’s a strong-willed person, a pioneer, an independent thinker and she exemplifies what a woman is today.”
“I am always inspired by a woman with a pioneering spirit,” Chopra Jonas said. “Gloria Vanderbilt changed the game for fashion, introducing the first pair of designer denim, a wardrobe staple for so many of us. She was also an advocate for women and I’m honored to be part of the Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans legacy with this new campaign. When I tried on my first pair of GVs, I was quickly reminded that only a woman knows what a woman needs, and this collection has jeans that fit every body.”
Chopra Jonas is an actress, producer, model, singer and philanthropist, and is vocal about causes such as the environment, women’s rights and gender equality. She and her husband Nick Jonas welcomed a baby girl named Malti Marie via surrogate earlier this spring.
Gross said that, at least at the outset, Chopra Jonas will serve strictly as the face of the brand but he’s open to the possibility of working to get her input on design of the collection or the creation of a capsule in the future.
Gross said the Gloria Vanderbilt label is “the mother of my company.” The label was created by the heiress with Murjani USA in the late ’70s and is widely viewed as the first designer denim brand. The brand, which became popular because of its fit, changed hands several times over the years, first becoming part of Gitano in 1988 before being rescued when Gitano went bankrupt by Isaac Dabah, Gross and a group of private investors. The Amanda silhouette was created in 1989 by Dabah and Gross and is touted as the first slimming jean. In 2002, it was sold to Jones Apparel Group, which itself was sold to Sycamore in 2014 and the jeans division was renamed One Jeanswear Group. OJG is now owned by Premier Brands Group.
Because the label had so many ownership changes, Gross said the promotional efforts fell to the wayside over the years. “We didn’t focus on marketing as we should have,” he admitted.
Gross said that in the beginning of the label’s life, Vanderbilt herself was involved in the business. But by the time it became part of OJG, she was elderly and not looking for a job, according to her son Anderson Cooper, Gross said. She died in 2019.
Although Gross said that young people today may not be familiar with Gloria Vanderbilt the person, the label is well known. “When we do research studies,” he said, “everyone knows the name of the brand even though they may not know her. And it’s the number-one-selling brand with women over 50.”
In fact, he said the label currently ranks number two behind Levi’s as the top-selling missy jeans brand and is number one in units sold.
He attributed its popularity to the fit and the price point which has “kept it alive and flourishing better than ever.”
It is sold at a variety of retail levels including the mid-tier department stores such as Kohl’s and J.C. Penney as well as Macy’s, Belk and Amazon. In addition to jeans, the brand also offers jackets, knits and woven tops, and Gross said the plan is to expand into additional categories such as handbags, footwear, accessories, intimate apparel and home through licensing deals. In addition, the brand will explore more “soft-dressing” options with a feminine feel and will launch its first dedicated e-commerce site this fall.
“We will build off the foundation of this powerful jeanswear brand,” he said.
He said that with Chopra Jonas on board, the plan is to create a message to attract the modern woman, both young and old. “It’s not an age, it’s an attitude,” he said, adding, “But we’re not going to alienate the customer who got us here.”
Gross acknowledges that because of the size of the Gloria Vanderbilt brand, OJG has had the ability to expand into other brands and private label opportunities and today, the company designs, markets, produces and distributes apparel for over 30 brands including Anne Klein Jeans, Nine West Jeans, Jessica Simpson and others.
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