EXCLUSIVE: Fwrd Opening Pop-up With Kendall Jenner, Eyeing Brick-and-mortar
Kendall Jenner is bringing her famous sense of style to a store this summer.
Fwrd, the Revolve Group-owned luxury e-commerce player with Jenner as its creative director, will open its first pop-up shop June 9 at 8804 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
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The location at Robertson Boulevard is right in the hubbub of West Hollywood, near celebrity-frequented retail and dining destinations including Craig’s, Cecconi’s, Maxfield, Chrome Hearts and Palace Skateboards.
The 4,000-square-foot space will feature women’s and men’s apparel from established and emerging designers, as well as beauty, accessories, art and homeware. The offering will also include rare vintage handbags, clothing, jewelry and sunglasses from Chanel, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Gucci through the Fwrd Renew platform.
“I’m beyond excited to bring the first Fwrd pop-up to right where I grew up in L.A. It’s a major step for us as a team, and as creative director, to curate some of the best products our designers have to offer and deliver something fresh and unexpected that we can finally experience in person. Let’s do it,” Jenner said in a statement.
“Fwrd has been around since 2012 and we feel like at this point in time, there’s a really big opportunity to support growth and continue our brand awareness efforts with physical retail. I think a big part of our future is going to be physical retail,” April Koza, vice president of Fwrd, told WWD.
Revolve Group’s inventory is housed in Southern California, so local customers will be able to select items from the Fwrd website and have them delivered to the store to try on the next day.
“It really gives the consumer the opportunity to bring in the product that they want, and curate the themes in the store and the storytelling.…The integration is key and something we really want to keep building on as we dip into the physical retail space,” Koza said. Customers can also book personal styling sessions and make Revolve and Fwrd online returns at the store.
The layout will include one larger room for ready-to-wear by Advisory Board Crystals, Alaïa, Area, Beams+, Bode, Coperni, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy, Jacquemus, LaQuan Smith, Kidsuper, Mugler, Rhude, Sky High Farm, Thom Browne, Tom Ford, Toteme, Versace, Visvim and more, and one smaller room where accessories will come to life.
“Bags and shoes are almost half of our business and we want to make sure that those are really well represented with a big moment in the store,” Koza said. “I’m particularly excited about our offering of pre-owned, because in addition to bags, we’re offering ready-to-wear in the store, so think rare vintage like a Dior newspaper dress or a Chanel terrycloth bikini from the 1990s. It’s really going to speak to our first theme of summer in L.A.”
The store’s themes will change throughout the summer and the pop-up will be open until Aug. 13.
“We have 30,000 stock keeping units online and we can’t possibly replicate that in a physical space, so we are looking to give her a reason to come back through telling stories through the merchandise in the space,” said Koza, noting the first theme is embodied by Jenner in a new ad campaign, and will be expressed in store through swimwear by Mugler, Alaia, Bottega Veneta and others.
Every brand and product is curated by Jenner. “It’s all of her favorites,” the executive said, going on to explain how the relationship with the model has been valuable for Fwrd.
“At the Revolve 20th anniversary dinner, she wore and posted an Alaïa dress that retailed for almost $6,000 and it sold out immediately. Everyone is following what she wears, the brands that she’s going after. Take a brand like Heavy Manners, which is this incredible swimwear brand that she’s worn for a while. They’re direct-to-consumer, but because of that relationship, they also sell to Fwrd. We’re the only retailer so that’ll be in the store, of course. So those really organic connections are what has been important.”
Several of Fwrd’s top clients will be flying to L.A. for the opening event, she added.
Fwrd’s first pop-up comes at a time when global luxury e-commerce players are becoming increasingly competitive about grabbing L.A. market share and courting high-spending clients with elaborate events.
Recently, Mytheresa and Loewe Paula’s Ibiza partnered on a dinner party at the Sheats-Goldstein residence, and Net-a-porter launched its exclusive Erdem-designed vacation collection with a dinner at the Chateau Marmont.
“I don’t think we’re ever trying to replicate what anyone else is doing.…Having Kendall involved and having her really excited about doing something in physical retail was the driving force behind this and building out a space where you could really feel what Fwrd is versus just scrolling online,” Koza said.
Fwrd plans to partner with brands throughout the summer to host both public and invite-only activations, including events with The Row, Versace and Miu Miu.
“We’re doing this really cool drink experience with Versace where you can come in and build cocktails and we’ll have the new collection. These will be experiences that you can’t buy.”
On the future of permanent Fwrd stores, and when the first one will potentially roll out, Koza said it was too soon to comment. “We have really high expectations. There still will always be a really strong tide of digital in whatever we’re doing.…But this is something that we are seriously exploring across the country, not just in L.A.”
Publicly traded Revolve Group Inc., the next-gen fashion retailer aimed at Millennial and Gen Z consumers and led by co-chief executive officers Michael Mente and Mike Karanikolas, was founded in 2003.
In 2012, the e-commerce platform tapped L.A. retailer Elyse Walker to launch and fashion direct the luxury-oriented Fwrd.com, which she has since exited to focus on her own business.
In 2021, Fwrd named Jenner its first creative director. In first-quarter results released May 3, Revolve reported Fwrd net sales were $48 million, a year-over-year increase of 5 percent. Overall net sales for Revolve Group were $279.6 million, a year-over-year decrease of 1 percent.
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