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The Rise And Fall Of Juicy Couture


Irene Kim: Juicy Couture
was an iconic part of early 2000s fashion. Its velour tracksuits and
matching oversized bags were everything and everywhere. But Juicy went from making
$605 million in sales at its peak in 2008 to being sold for less
than a third of that five years later. So, what happened? Juicy’s story begins
with these two ladies, Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy. They met while working at a
Los Angeles boutique in 1988. When Nash-Taylor became pregnant, she couldn’t find any
fashionable maternity clothing. As a solution, she started
making maternity pants out of her husband’s
jeans, which inspired her and Skaist-Levy to start
a maternity clothing line, Travis Jeans for the Baby in You. The pair’s stylish
maternity jeans took off, despite their $89 price tag. By the early 1990s, it expanded into a full maternity line. But around 1994, after feeling like they lost touch with the maternity market, the pair decided to
pivot to something new: developing the perfect
luxury V-neck shirt. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy
focused on four things: fit, fabric, comfort, and color. They both tried on their samples to make sure the V-neck covered
the right part of the arm, didn’t plunge too deep, and, overall, made your body
look as good as possible, things male designers fitting
T-shirts on size 0 models maybe weren’t taking into consideration. After perfecting their design, they released it in 26 colors under their new label, Juicy Couture. When Juicy first started in 1995, the economy was beginning to recover from the 1990 to 1991 recession, and consumers were hungry for expensive, or at least expensive-sounding, products. So Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy wanted the brand name to convey luxury. They also loved the irony of naming their casual T-shirt line “couture.” Juicy Couture quickly grew in popularity and expanded to include knit tops, accessories, and a
successful Juicy Jeans line. But it wasn’t the
full-fledged lifestyle brand its founders wanted it to be…yet. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy
looked to the brands they grew up with during
the ’60s and ’70s for ideas. Both thought terry cloth was “the most amazing 1970s fabric” and came up with a line of
tops and bottoms made from it. The silhouette of what would become Juicy’s signature tracksuit was created with the same purpose as
the original Juicy V-neck: to be as flattering as possible. The zip-up hoodie was
designed with front pockets to hide any stomach pooch and cut with an hourglass
shape to nip in your waist. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy
also added custom hardware: a J-pull zipper that
branded every tracksuit as uniquely Juicy Couture. The tracksuit bottoms were originally made with an underwear elastic, but when that proved to be too loose, Juicy’s founders switched to a quick cord they’d used for their maternity line. It worked perfectly. Juicy Couture released its
now iconic tracksuits in 2001, and they became a phenomenon. Not to mention, at $155, Juicy Couture’s tracksuits weren’t cheap, but they were accessible. Julia DiNardo: The price
point was a little bit high for essentially a glorified sweatshirt, but with a little bit of midriff
showing, the cool bootleg, and seeing celebrities in
some oversized sunglasses wearing it out and about, it kind of met that balance of just-within-reach pricing and somewhat of a luxury
item pooled into one. Kim: And it was seeing
celebrities wear Juicy Couture that really drove the brand’s success. Around the time Juicy Couture launched, tabloid celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were
becoming a national obsession. Tabloids like Us Weekly and People were documenting everything America’s favorite stars were doing, and Juicy was able to
take advantage of it. Because its founders didn’t have the funds for traditional marketing,
they got creative, gifting tracksuits to celebrities. While this is pretty
common today, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor were one
of the first to do it. They didn’t find success
overnight, but eventually Juicy’s tracksuits were being seen on all the right celebrities. DiNardo: The attraction
to celebrity culture in the early 2000s is
really what contributed Juicy to become such a popular brand. It really was the height of: “Celebrities! They’re just like us.” Seeing Britney Spears go get
a cup of coffee at Starbucks in her Juicy Couture
tracksuits, seeing Paris Hilton shopping all over town in
her Juicy Couture tracksuit. Kim: Juicy’s founders
even kept a photo wall of every celebrity who
wore their tracksuit. Soon, Juicy Couture was exclusively sold at upscale department stores like Bergdorf Goodman
and Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2003, Juicy Couture was
purchased by Liz Claiborne, now known as Kate Spade & Company, for $226 million to be paid over a five-year period. Juicy was colorful, fun, and covered in logos
during a time when people couldn’t get enough of
showing off the brands they were buying and wearing. DiNardo: It wouldn’t be a Juicy product without the Juicy label or
insignia or logo of some kind. Skaist-Levy: It makes people happy. Nash-Taylor: Juicy, it
is, it’s a happy brand. People love it. Kim: Net sales nearly
doubled from 2006 to 2007. By 2008, Juicy Couture had 100 stores generating a total of
$605 million in sales. The brand also expanded to include jewelry and a successful fragrance
line with Elizabeth Arden. But then the recession hit. While most brands struggled
following the recession, Juicy Couture’s flashy branding particularly stopped
resonating with customers. DiNardo: So, during the 2008 recession, fashion was at a point where the “it” bag was really not an “it” thing anymore. It felt a little bit too
gregarious, over the top, and proud in the wrong way,
so things started to recede; not that people weren’t shopping, but they weren’t buying
things that were so blatant as to what they were
and how much they cost. Kim: The recession inspired a movement towards minimalism, which was pretty much the opposite of what
Juicy Couture embodied. DiNardo: Juicy as a label was all about that flashiness and that fun. And so, there was a somberness
to fashion, a seriousness, after 2008, and it really
wasn’t on-brand for Juicy. Kim: Sales fell 11%
year-over-year in 2009. In 2010, founders Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor left the company, citing a loss of ability
to help their brand evolve. Sale numbers continued to drop
as Juicy failed to keep up with the growing
contemporary fashion market. While labels like Alexander Wang and Theory quickly pivoted to add more pieces to their
collections, Juicy didn’t. In 2013, Juicy Couture was officially sold to Authentic Brands
Group for $195 million. The company has an eclectic portfolio, including the licensing
rights for the estates of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. The group announced plans to close all of Juicy Couture’s US stores but said it would reopen five to 10 as it rebuilds the brand. ABG later made a deal with
discount retailer Kohl’s to sell Juicy-branded products,
effectively abandoning the brand’s veneer of
luxury for many loyal fans. Despite its fall from department
store to discount bin, Juicy Couture has been angling
for a comeback for years. A 2016 collaboration with
cult fashion brand Vetements re-sparked interested and
lent Juicy some street cred. Kylie Jenner even posted a picture wearing a pricey tracksuit
from the collection. In 2017, Juicy Couture
appointed Hollywood stylist Jamie Mizrahi as its
new creative director. The brand debuted its new collection with a New York Fashion Week party with OG Juicy Couture lover and living brand embodiment Paris Hilton. Pieces from the collection were available on Juicy’s website, as well as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, with prices
ranging from $30 to $400. This marked an upscale pivot for the brand after being sold at Kohl’s since 2014. In 2018, Juicy Couture
released its first-ever runway collection to show pieces from its main contemporary
line, Juicy Couture Black Label. It also released two new
cosmetic collections, which have been met with
varying degrees of excitement. As for whether we’ll be seeing Juicy’s tracksuit everywhere again: DiNardo: I think they could capitalize on those customers that
were in their teens or late teens when the brand was popular. Now those women are moms, and they want something
comfortable but pulled together. It’s quite possible that the
tracksuit could be that item. Kim: Plus, Juicy Couture
could fit right into the athleisure market that’s continuing to dominate the fashion industry. And with so many other
early 2000s fashion trends coming back, who knows? 2020 could be Juicy Couture’s year.

Glenn Chapman

92 Comments

  1. Who else loves Buisness
    👇

    Im trying to hit 3K, any help is appreciated

  2. “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”
    ― Karl Lagerfeld

  3. I feel like enough credit is going to the fact that they found 5 juicy tracks suits and walked around in them while filming. They even added the eye shadow. If I walked by them, I would they it was 2007 in Orange County. Great job ladies!

  4. Early 2000s,how time have change now we got China the new superpower and Trump as President.

  5. Luxury brand?? This stuff looks trashy and cheap like something a meth head would wear. Went the way of Ed Hardy. Need a rebrand.

  6. Black label? What’s with companies thinking they can just slap the word black onto a product and make it premier? Do something original and maybe you won’t be viewed as track suits for stuck up woman with bad plastic surgery.

  7. Juicy Couture was fire when I was in high school lol. You were that deal if you had that pink velour tracksuit…I graduated in 2002.
    That being said I will still wear the brand. I bought a sequin juicy couture sweatshirt off of posh mark. It’s nostalgic like Lisa Frank, and cabbage kids.

  8. I remember most of the patients on the mid 2000’s plastic surgery shoes wore these home from the clinic. 😂

  9. I don't care how comfortable it is. If it costs that much and Paris Hilton wore it, I don't want it

  10. Juicy Couture pioneered athleisure but couldn’t stay afloat. There fragrances are still luxurious in my opinion.

  11. Juicy Couture is just a fad and I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.
    Personally it got annoying to see so many women wearing it.

  12. Juicy couture is the embodiment of the American lower class at least in my European view

  13. I loved being a part of this video! I want to wear this track suit every day of my life haha.

  14. Hi everyone, if interested, here's a truffle festival video from Apecchio, Italy.
    https://youtu.be/bYyD3XE33Ic

  15. Juicy Couture is the "shenzhen" product of the US. Might as well be sold with a fake chanel handbag on a LA sidewalk.

  16. There is a old asian lady at the Cypress swapmeet at Cypress College in Orange County Ca and she wears every color of Juicy track suits (jumpers) hahaha.. Says Juicy on her butt.
    She sells Cell phone stuff and Knick Knacks. Japanese toy models of planes, trucks and cars.

  17. So the recipe is… Giving your product to famous person and hope they will wear it…..

  18. Juicy was ugly, slovenly, unflattering on most people, and way too ghetto. Good riddance to overpriced trash.

  19. Esos trajes de pants tan horribles y nacos de muy mal gusto vestir con esos pants con esas letras que bueno que ya no se ven tanto 🙄

  20. I think people mis-understand fashion as it's definitely a sign of the times of bygone eras. What was popular may very well not be popular now. That's not even hind-sight, because what's en vogue now, may be ridiculed a decade later. But fashion is ever-changing (and in many ways cyclical too). For example, Tommy Hilfiger pretty much died as a brand in early 2000s until he had a renaissance up until a few years ago. Mom high waist style jeans from the 90s is back in style. Champion was dead in the water (as they were sold at Target and Costco up until 5 years ago) and now is one of the more iconic fashion brands currently. The comments of people saying that Juicy track suits are ugly??? Track suits were popular in the 70s/80s. Ever hear of RUN-DMC? Think about what you wore say 10, 15, 20 years ago and realize that you may not have been so different in your fashion choices.

  21. This is a good series. There was surprisingly more design and thought that went into the production and marketing of these clothes than I'd assumed. Still hideous but credit where it's due.

  22. I'm honestly hoping for their comeback. Something about their tracksuit are appealing to me.

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