Jay Manuel Works Private Brand Attitudes

A little more than a year ago Sears Canada relaunched it’s Private Brand fashion Line Attitudes with the help of Creative Director Jay Manuel of America’s Next Top Model according to a article in the Canadian National Post:

Jay Manuel recently came across his earliest work in a New York airport. He was in a music store in the classical section when he spotted a CD cover featuring Luciano Pavarotti adorned in a wig and period costume. It had been his first celebrity styling gig.

“It freaked me out. I snapped a picture of it on my iPhone,” the 39-year-old Toronto native says in telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he is shooting the latest cycle of America’s Next Top Model.

The reminder of his roots is fitting since Manuel is preparing to come home with his latest work. The creative director of ANTP and host/executive producer of Canada’s Next Top Model is debuting his second collection for Sears’ Private Brand Attitude Tuesday at LG Fashion Week in Toronto.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do. The reason this brand has launched in Canada first [is that] I just felt like I wanted to come back home with this,” he says.

Sears relaunched its Attitude label in 2009 and then enlisted Manuel as its creative director. “In that first meeting, I’m always very honest, I really wanted to work on this brand. I did not want to be the face of a brand,” he says. “Right through the design process, to the fit process, to marketing, the runway shows – I wanted it to be my creative.”

He says people have regularly asked him: “Is this a celebrity brand?”

“I get that because I’m in the public eye. But if you look at what I’ve done for a living before I was on television, I’ve worked in this industry. I’ve worked with great visionaries and great designers,” he says. “I’ve learned so much from these people and that’s what I’m bringing to the table. It’s not like I was an actor and I’m now I’m doing a clothing line.”

That being said, he says lines designed by celebrities can still have value. The Kardarshian sisters, for example, have designed a collection for Sears in the U.S. Manuel says the reality TV stars, whom he knows well, are “very involved.”

“They’ve always been very involved in fashion. In terms of their line, they definitely have their stamp on it. For people who are buying into their brand, they’re getting a piece of them,” he says.

“With other celebrity brands, when they just put a celebrity’s face on it, sometimes that marketing strategy works. But I think the consumer is pretty savvy and they know what’s a marketing stunt and when you’re getting a piece of the celebrity’s esthetic.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.