The verdict is in from Gwen Stefani: Denim is out; DWP is in.
The No Doubt singer, who successfully launched L.A.M.B., Harajuku Lovers and multiple licensing deals in the fashion industry, evokes her effortlessly chic vibe in a new laid-back line of lightweight basics called DWP, or Design with Purpose.
The 18-piece collection – launching today at market to hit stores for spring, according to WWD – pairs the singer with Michael Glasser, the denim expert behind 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity and Rich and Skinny. The refreshing line is grounded by a slouchy trouser made of Tencel, presented with the same treatments used on premium denim and cropped to show off ankle boots and strappy sandals.
"What’s so great about DWP for me is it's different from anything I’ve ever done, working in L.A. and having the factory right here," said Stefani. (DWP is manufactured out of Glasser's factory in Vernon, Calif., sharing production space with Rich and Skinny.) "With L.A.M.B., we have so many categories within the collection and you have different factories that do specific things, so you are a little detached.… The actual designs are very simple because it’s all about everyday wear. So that’s different and new."
While the pants come in leather-like fabric and camouflage and snakeskin prints -- named the Gwen, Drew and Leah, no less – the line is filled out with loose-fitting tanks, motorcycle vests and cropped tees in bright colors and patterns.
"I was trying to get all the basics," said Stefani, currently seven months pregnant with her third child, reports WWD. "Michael nailed the bottoms. For tops, I was trying to think about what I wear besides a tank top. I love cuffed-up sleeves, tops that are long in front and short in back. And we did a jumpsuit and a dress to fill in the gaps."
The venture is a departure for both of the UTA-repped designers, who initially envisioned DWP as a sustainable premium denim line that required no heat and only a gallon of water to produce. The acronym was initially intended as a play on the Department of Water and Power, but the fading shelf appeal of denim triggered the pivot.
"A buyer from Neiman Marcus came up to me and said, 'If you show me another five-pocket jean, I’m going to punch you.'" said Glasser of the swap. "The purpose of this company is to step into a place that we believe will encourage the business to get better, take the pressure off jeans, give it a rest. There’s no question jeans will be there, but the scale has to be balanced."
Stefani introduces DWP around the time of a Harajuku Lovers fragrance and a 52-episode cartoon, collaborations with OPI and Burton, an e-commerce launch for L.A.M.B. and a potential new music project, about which she says, "I have some things I’m figuring out."
DWP pieces wholesale for between $80 and $130, and Glasser hopes to score $5 million to $8 million in sales in the latter half of 2014. "If I have my druthers, we won’t overexpose. I don’t want to be in all department stores," he says.
Head over to WWD to sneak a peek at DWP.