What’s actually the story with Frankie B. Hollywood? Our last chat was in 2015 after the L.A. denim brand was acquired by Jeremy Weitz and Kevin Chen. Back then the former Frankie B. brand was renamed to Frankie B. Hollywood and re-launched. The result of the make-over was presented with a teaser collection at New York Fashion Week in 2015 showing rock & roll inspired looks for women at a more accessible price point ranging from $78 for denims up to $250 for a leather moto jacket. Additional to the Frankie B. Hollywood collection there was a second line launched in 2016: Frankie offers a premium womenswear collection employing high-quality materials such as Lambskin leathers and cashmere wools, fine silk and premium denim. Accordingly, the price point is higher ranging from $235 for denim up to $6.000 for leather fur coats. Here, Chen gives an update about the brand’s future plans.
In 2015 Frankie B. Hollywood started a make-up of the brand. What has changed? What does the collection look like now?
The brand has evolved quite significantly over the past year and half, collections offer a wider selection of RTW designs, and we now have our retail concept space located in the Arts District downtown LA, which won the ‘AZURE ‘Best Boutique Design’ for 2016 which showcases the move upmarket direction we have taken the brand.
Looking back: How successful was revamping the brand in numbers?
Already it’s growing fast. We’ve not reached the numbers that the brand enjoyed before just yet, but we really don’t want to blow it out at this point. We’re trying to do everything right first so that the retailers can be sure of quality, deliveries, designs etc. Trust and reliability is everything to us, but now we feel ready, on all levels.
What plans do you have in terms of own retailing?Since the new launch of Frankie in 2016, we’ve opened our flagship CoLab concept store in the Arts District., with plans to open a 2nd retail space in LA by end of this year. In 2018, we’re expanding to NY for a third store location. We’ve also got other big plans in the works that we can’t share just yet, but be sure Sportswear International will be the first to know when the time is right.
You create very clean design in the store. What’s your approach and what distinguishes you from other stores?
The build-out for Frankie CoLAb has been an idea I’ve had on my mind for 2 years. I brought in Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai to discuss my obsession of black and white stripes with a modular aesthetic.
With Lai’s study in deconstruction, abstraction to merger between buildings and billboards, buildings with a brick facade to gutters, pipes, ledges, and windows, he could work with me to bring my vision to life in the Arts District.
The store features bold painted shadows and unusual patterns that mingle with other constructed forms in a black and white mural (the same colors as the brand’s logo) this is the signature of the brand pattern.
Perhaps the most talked about element is that the interior has bespoke furniture with nine distinct fixtures from display units, shelving, fitting rooms and cashier station, all of which are mobile and can actually fit together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle to create a 28-foot-long stairway that can be utilized as a stage or catwalk for our in-store events. It’s genuinely spectacular and a feat of engineering and design.
Light boxes suspended from the ceiling mimic the irregular shapes of the display units, while a mirrored wall at one end creates the illusion of larger space. In FRANKIE CoLAB we’ve created a new space and environment for shopping which we hope will shape the future of bricks and mortar spaces.
What are the strongest items for the next seasons? What are the main trends the new line Frankie is working with?
Standout pieces for Fall 17 is our great selection of outerwear; the leather jackets and blazers are made with superior quality fabrics, adding a luxe feeling to our collections.
Key trends for Fall feature metallic menswear shapes, feminine ruffles in silk dresses and blouses, and an updated moto jacket in a new fashion-forward silhouette.
For Spring 18 the standout styles include: lightweight jackets, wide-leg pants, structured blazers, jumpsuits, and pegged denim.
Statement styles will feature: strong angular shoulders, boxy silhouettes, and textures such as metallic and velvet
From its history Frankie B. Hollywood is a denim brand. How important is denim still for the collections?
Denim is an important part of our collections. We’re focused on jeans that are more design-driven and fashion-forward, we experiment and update silhouettes, creating jeans that are more aligned with a RTW aesthetic and synonymous with what we see on the runways in London / NY and Paris.