Fred Segal eyes Asian expansion

US West Coast fashion and lifestyle retailer Fred Segal is eyeing expansion into China as its new owner Global Icons seeks to revive the 57-year-old brand. 

In an interview with Glossy, Fred Segal president John Frierson said the European and Asian markets are big focuses for the company, singling out the growing spending power of Chinese Gen Z and millennial consumers. 

He told Glossy the company will be announcing “significant” plans for physical retail within Asia within the next few weeks, led by “big partners” in the region.

Jeff Lotman, CEO of Global Icons and Fred Segal chairman, said the company was in final discussions with multibillion-dollar trading companies in China, South Korea and Japan. Stores in those markets would follow debuts in Taiwan and Malaysia last year under the company’s previous ownership.

Global Icons has offices in Hong Kong and the company has secured licensing deals with brands as diverse as Hostess and Lamborghini.

Fred Segal, a tailor, founded his retail brand in 1961. It peaked in the 1990s and early 2000s when it became the first to sell Kate Spade and Juicy Couture, and was shopped by celebrities including Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins. 

The company operates through licensees in international markets and has already announced plans to open at least 20 stores this year. 

“To really have next-level success means going out and creating our own line of products, and selling the Los Angeles lifestyle to the world,” Lotman told Glossy. “We can no longer just be US-centric.”

He said he wants the international stores to retain Fred Segal’s retail signatures, including multiple brands, emerging designers, events and a restaurant. 

Added Frierson: “We’re lucky in that we’re not trying to harvest the value of the brand, but we’re trying to grow it. And we have a tremendous amount of growth to do in the next 10 years.”

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