How Fred Segal’s signature West Coast style and licensing savvy is bringing brand and buyer together.
Los Angeles isn’t just the heart of California, but a lifestyle, a culture and an icon of individuality. It’s these defining characteristics that the Fred Segal brand was built on 60 years ago, bringing an entirely new take on collaboration to capture LA’s cutting-edge cool.
Opening in 1961, the 300-square-foot retail location on Sunset Boulevard of the jeans-only brand (originally known as Pants America) grew rapidly by inviting brand and merchandising experts into the store and building the offering of what would become the iconic Fred Segal flagship. Since then, the brand has taken its signature looks and collaborative collections to Fred Segal stores in Seoul, Malibu, Vegas, Taipei and Switzerland.
Jeff Lotman, owner, chief executive officer, Fred Segal encapsulated the DNA of the brand during a License Global Live webinar session earlier this year.
“What’s cool is that so many brands started at Fred Segal, we call them Season Zero,” says Lotman. “It shows a lot about who we are, and because we played so strong in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, we’re at this really great place where people identify with those eras. So, it occurred to us that we should really try to launch some of those great era brands that were no longer.”
Drawing inspiration from its forever muse of Los Angeles, Fred Segal works with brands to build on the collective character of the city and the brand’s own unique style to stay ahead of tastes and trends.
“We are in a nostalgic cycle, and there are a lot of cultural reasons for this,” says Ashley Petrie, senior vice president, merchandising, Fred Segal. “Fred Segal is the perfect partner to play in this area because we are both a heritage brand and always current and forward. Our approach is to seek strategic partners that will interpret and capture our brand DNA within their specific product category [and expand] our brand presence outside of our stores to ultimately generate incremental consumer awareness outside of Southern California. This we feel the foundation for our future global expansion. We work with amazing brand-right partners, we love collaborating. We give it our all: our team can work on the full package from creative direction and design, merchandising, marketing, eco strategy and social. It’s all about a genuine partnership that moves both partners forward. At Fred Segal, we think it’s important to think outside the box.”
The revival of the 1977 Camp Beverly Hills brand is the ultimate example of the collaborative Fred Segal approach. Bringing a collection of pastel capsules from the golden age of Rodeo Drive to in-store pop-ups in 2021, Fred Segal brought an icon back to life and embraced the retro-cool of a brand that is also synonymous with Los Angeles.