Kohl's streams NY Fashion Week, ties to e-commerce

Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) made a splashy debut during New York Fashion Week by showcasing a fairy-tale inspired collection from reality TV celebrity Lauren Conrad in a runway show, captured digitally with a live stream.

The designs were available for online purchase immediately following the show, and select items will be available in stores through December.

        LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection available at Kohls.com

Although Target has also taken part in Fashion Week, this was a first for Kohl's, and the show was accessible to its mainstream customer base by the shoppable, live-streamed content at LCRunway.com. The live stream featured a look at the red carpet, catwalk and behind the scenes.

"We were making a statement, maybe surprising people a little bit," Arthur Lewis, Kohl's exec-VP of development, told New York Post at the show.

The LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection at Kohl's is priced to appeal to the retailer's customer base, with most of the dresses and outfits, including gowns, miniskirts and one-piece pantsuits, priced from $40 to $300, with the $300 item being a leather tote. "The best part is that customers can use their Kohl's Cash (loyalty program)," Lewis said.

"Designing and seeing this capsule collection come to life has been an incredible experience," Lauren Conrad said in a statement. "The aesthetic follows the easy, whimsical style of my Kohl's brand, but we've elevated this collection through amazing fabrications, vintage-inspired pieces and intricate detailing."

The collection follows Conrad's "clean, polished and pretty" aesthetic, "inspired by the mystery and enchantment of the forest," the retailer said.

"We are thrilled Lauren has created an elevated yet accessible collection that speaks to the trends of the moment and offers our customers a taste of Fashion Week designer style," said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief merchandising and customer officer. "The Runway capsule seamlessly blends high-fashion with looks our customers love from the LC Lauren Conrad brand in wearable, affordable pieces that are sure to be coveted."

Kohl's used the live-streaming app Periscope for the first time, as well as a video on the retailer's e-commerce website to help consumers shop the collection, AdAge reported. Using Periscope, viewers could mix and match the runway styles, said Bevin Bailis, senior VP of public relations and communications for Kohl's. 

"We're so excited to be able to offer our customers, as well as people who may have never seen Kohl's products before, the opportunity to experience a runway show," Bailis said. "We're able to use our advantage in the digital space to reach a much broader audience.

"It's about giving the customer that accessibility to shop whenever and however she wants. It really is truly bringing the products that customer want to them in the way that they want it." 

The digital tools were especially appropriate for the Lauren Conrad Collection because she has a strong presence on social media. This allowed Kohl's to take advantage of her followers—something the retailer hadn't done previously during its seven-year relationship with Conrad. The strategy is an extension of the retailer's "Greatness Agenda" that strives to enhance the omnichannel shopping experience, use data to create personalized marketing strategies, and boost social influence.

"Lauren is so socially connected it almost begs you to do something a little different than you would do for a normal runway collection," Lewis said. "She's a forward designer and a forward thinker, and that works with the clothes that we're creating for the future."

The collection, he said, is "accessible for many women, many different types of women, many different body types, and it's a really great value for what you're going to see come down the runway."

For more:
-See this Kohl's statement
-See this New York Post article
-See this AdAge article

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