Entrepreneur Develops New Model to Revolutionize Fashion Licensing, Merchandising and Design
Jaguar International develops new model to create more individuality within fashion lines.
“We no longer live in a one size fits all society–our uniqueness is very important to us. -David Latty, COO, Jaguar International
David Latty plans to change the model for the fashion industry, particularly in the area of licensing. Latty owns Jaguar International, a licensing and merchandising company that develops private label brands for celebrities, stylists and companies looking for a slice of the $200 billion being spent in the junior and multicultural apparel market worldwide. Jaguar assists with new market penetration, branding, retail channels, brand licensing and master agency management both domestically and worldwide.
In the past, says Latty, the fashion industry was focused on the collection—an old model in Latty’s opinion. A designer would create a “line” which people will purchase. Even if the purchaser is brand loyal, not all the clothes in the line appeal to the purchaser, as variance in personal taste and style exists. According to Latty, this model no longer meets consumer demand in today’s marketplace where individual need-based products, information and service is readily available through technology. He maintains that today’s fashion design, manufacturing and promotional model has to be more diverse and complex, and that in today’s economic climate, fashion is all about the individual. Latty visionary plan is to redesign a model where he will create a one stop place to create a brand and outlets for consumers to shop in both online and in retail stores. “I know that this is the model. I will bet my success on it,” says Latty.
His idea is one whose time has come. He brokered several deals with A-listers such as Janet Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Daisy Fuentes, Shari Belafonte and NFL Hall of Famer Deacon Jones to create lines which would be sold through major US retailers. Also, Latty is very interested in bolstering the multicultural market, whose annual spending on fashion is approximately $106 billion, yet there are very few role models that represent them in fashion. Latty is looking to change that.
This time, Latty is establishing a brand by bringing together a consortium of designers and then developing strategic partnerships with major retailers and his own online store. In this way, his brand will remain fresh. The designers who work with him will be mentored by a team of advisors with over 40 years in the fashion industry, so that they can eventually develop their own individual lines. The implications for such are astounding as he will have several looks for his brand that will appeal to both the teen and junior markets.
What makes Latty’s idea unique is two-fold: sustainability and technology.
Latty plans to bolster to the community in which his brand is purchased by generating a receipt in which the purchaser selects a code, thereby giving a portion of the proceeds to a regional charity of their choice. Therefore, purchases in Brazil can help the rainforest, while purchases in the US can go to breast cancer awareness or Alzheimer’s research. He sees this also as a way to eliminate fraud. If the purchase does not generate a receipt for the giving back option, it is not an authentic purchase.
In addition, Latty will ensure that all product marketing is regionalized so that minorities are represented in advertising and promotional campaigns.
Latty also envisions that his online model will utilize technology whereby the purchaser can input their dimensions on the site and will be able to see virtual diagram of how an item of clothing will look like on them. He believes this feature will eventually reduce returns.
Latty has been away from the fashion industry for a bit, but has not stopped analyzing it in anticipation of his return. In 1998, he forecasted that retailers were missing the mark on the burgeoning junior apparel and Hispanic markets—something that retailers soon discovered and capitalized on later. He sees tremendous opportunity within the market at this point and believes his new model and marketing strategies through the use of social and new media platforms will provide price conscious and savvy consumers purchasing options that will add quality, unique styling and reduce costs–and yet make a contribution to the human condition, something that he is passionate about.
“I am really excited about this venture,” says Latty. “I feel that the time has come to give the consumer choices as it relates to brand. We no longer live in a “one-size-fits-all” society—our uniqueness is very important to us. I can offer that level of individualism under the umbrella of one company. This takes one-stop shopping to the next level, and saves and sustains our planet.”
About Jaguar International:
Jaguar International licenses clothing lines for celebrity and brands through private label clothing manufacturers and distributors, with an emphasis on micro advertising and sustainability. For more information on Jaguar International, visit http://www.jaguarint.com.
Major Retailers Overlooking The Junior and Hispanic Markets.
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–July 7, 1998–David Latty has a dream, a dream that has remained, sadly, yet unfulfilled. He dreams that he can license clothing lines targeted toward the junior market to major retail distributors. He has the best intentions, he networks with the right people, negotiates with A-list celebrities, follows all protocol, gets the talent contracts negotiated and then — it doesn’t work out. It appears that major retail outlets are skeptical of this burgeoning market.
Latty is president of Jaguar International, a company whose charter is to license clothing lines between celebrity clients, clothing manufacturers and distributors. He has assembled an impressive team of professionals, advisors and mentors such as Allen Alexander, entertainment attorney; Brian Thaler, president of Scott-Thaler & Associates, an executive placement and consulting firm specializing in the fashion industry; fashion designer, Nancy Hellar; and Art Snyder, veteran fashion advertiser/merchandiser. Latty negotiates solely with prominent manufacturers. With such an esteemed group, what is wrong with Latty’s strategy?
Latty is very interested in marketing to the minority market — particularly the Latin market — which represents $348 billion in spending annually. Latinos are the fastest growing minority segment of the population in the United States; by the year 2050, one in four Americans will be Latino.
Most recently, Jaguar International negotiated on behalf of Daisy Fuentes, former MTV vee-jay and now popular co-host of America’s Funniest Videos. Fuentes is an idol to many growing up on MTV, not to mention a Revlon model. A clothing line with her name inscribed as “inspired by” would be a virtual cash cow in a middle America-type retail outlet (such as K-Mart, JC Penney, Sears, etc.). Or would it?
It would seem not, as Latty has not yet been able to secure a retail distributor to carry this line. And, it has nothing to do with financing, deal points or other such negotiating frivolities. It has to do with appeal.
The question arises, do major retailers not believe that people of color provide the same cross-over appeal that their mainstream White counterparts do? Latty wonders. To date, there are no minority clothing lines appealing to this market. Advertisers, however, have been picking up on the rise in the Latino market, spending $1.4 billion annually on this segment.
This constitutes a rise of 7 percent over 1996 advertising expenditures. If advertisers see this as a viable market, why are retailers unwilling to target this growing population? When you consider that in the Los Angeles area alone, the Latino market comprises approximately 55 percent of the population, the numbers become too significant to overlook. Or, one would think so.
Celebrity clothing lines can bring literally millions to major retailers. Wal-Mart took on the Kathie Lee Gifford line and brought in an estimated $450 million. Kathy Ireland enjoys a successful line distributed through K-Mart. She has been quoted as saying, “The clothes in magazines are unattainable for most women.” If this is in fact true, would not a clothing line geared toward the junior market receive similar results for these retailers?
Jaguar International has also negotiated similar deals for Vanessa Williams and Shari Belafonte, both of whom enjoy considerable success, looks and appeal. Latty spoke with world-renown clothing designer Bob Mackie regarding the Williams venture, who thought that such a line would work well in retail distributors having a mass appeal (such as JC Penney or Sears stores).
These deals have also gone wayward. Again, Latty found that the major retail distributors that he approached declined to carry such a line. In terms of dollars, these stores have essentially turned their backs on a venture that would, most likely, bring them millions in revenues. Does this represent a foolhardiness or a fear of embarking into unknown territory on behalf of these types of stores? Is it such a major risk to take on a celebrity line when the celebrity is of color and is well known throughout the junior market?
Undaunted, however, Latty believes in his mission. “I know the minority market is a gold mine, and I also know that minorities have certain role models who are beautiful, fashionable and are also people of color. What I can’t understand is why this does not translate to the retail distributor.
“With all the influences that American society has absorbed through the integration and assimilation of cultures, why is it so difficult to find a distributor who has the vision and courage to see the wave of the future?”
Latty knows through his research that it makes sense to appeal to the junior market as they hold the future buying power. And, minorities tend to be very brand loyal purchasers.
Latty continued, “Why would we not want to start the ball rolling by securing a role model represented by this market?” Art Snyder further substantiates that “there is a significant Hispanic market.” Latty concludes by saying that he does not feel that the junior market has been penetrated nor tapped to its full potential by current marketing strategies adopted by major retail distributors.
Perhaps as the millennium approaches, retailers will see the value of including the junior market as part of its marketing plan. Maybe, then, they might include minority celebrities as part of that marketing strategy. As we edge closer to a global society every day, it is important that all people be represented. Said Latty, “Fashion is not bound to racial lines, but personal style. If the clothes look good or are represented by someone the consumers trust and like, they will buy.”