Kim Kardashian tests turning Skims into ‘going out clothes’ and prepares to expand brand


Vanessa Friedman

On a Friday afternoon, just after launching the “ultimate nipple bra” online — a bra with built-in erect nipples — and just before announcing that Skims would be the official underwear partner of the NBA, WNBA and USA Basketball , Kim Kardashian was sitting in her office in Calabasas, California, framed by two windows that offered views of manicured green lawns, and talking about size. Specifically, how big she wanted Skims to be.

“The sky is the limit,” she said in a video interview. Her long hair was dark brown again, after a brief period of platinum, and it framed her face as well as the view outside. “I want to be in every country possible. I don’t start doing anything if it’s not to be as big as possible.”

This is Kim, the mogul. Kim, whose journey from intimate video to reality TV to Kanye West’s muse to billionaire businesswoman, has been a whirlwind tour of early 21st century American culture. Kim, the “emblem of American capitalism in the of the social media economy,” as MJ Corey, a psychotherapist and author of the upcoming book “DeKonstructing the Kardashians,” put it, taking another step towards world domination through Skims.

Founded four years ago, the brand went from a value of US$1.6 billion (R$7.83 billion at current exchange rates) in 2021 to US$4 billion (almost R$20 billion) last summer in the northern hemisphere. In the meantime, it has become the official underwear supplier for the United States team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and won the 2022 Innovation Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Last month, a men’s line was launched.

Since the end of September, Skims has dominated so much of the conversation on social media — first when Kardashian showed up to Victoria Beckham’s Paris fashion show 45 minutes late, then with her new campaign starring Cardi B, then flooding the zone with scantily clad male athletes like Brazilian soccer player Neymar advertising underwear and then the bra with nipples, sold with a tongue-in-cheek public service announcement about climate change and in part to benefit an environmental organization—which sometimes seems like the brand is single-handedly providing a distraction from the overwhelming news cycle. And now, she’s getting spruced up.

Next week will see another collaboration from Skims: a partnership with Swarovski, the Austrian crystal company known for its tacky animals and rock star customizations. Indeed, the first commercial shot of the holiday season, it involves “body jewelry” — crystal-embellished belly and breast chains and necklaces — as well as crystal-encrusted mesh dresses and jumpsuits, a custom-made dress made up of enormous crystal strands and several separates with crystals embedded in a sheer fabric the brand calls Jelly Sheer, which is reminiscent of the Marilyn Monroe dress Kardashian wore to the Met Gala in 2022 and makes you look nude and glowing at the same time.

Thanks to the connection with Swarovski, the line will expand not just on social media, where Kardashian, with her 364 million Instagram followers, already reigns supreme. It’s also a play to dominate the physical world, where it will be sold in 40 Swarovski stores around the world, including a new 4,400-square-foot store in New York opening this month, as well as pop-ups in major department stores. such as La Rinascente in Milan, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Following Skims’ collaboration with Fendi in 2021, it’s clear that Skims has transcended shapewear to become part of the larger story in fashion today.


“The best-kept secret about Skims,” ​​said Jens Grede, the brand’s co-founder and CEO, “is that our biggest clothing category is stay-at-home clothing” — whatever “stay-at-home clothing” means. home” means in a world where clothing categories are becoming increasingly flexible, where leggings have practically been accepted as pants and comfort is key.

This year, Skims appeared on Lyst’s “hottest brands” index, ranking 17th based on searches in each of the three quarters so far. It is the only official brand that is not high fashion (Nike, which used to be in the index, disappeared this quarter). In the most recent list, Skims was sandwiched between Louis Vuitton and Fendi, which reflects both how people dress these days and the fact that Kardashian is, according to Corey, “testing how far she can go.”

“We’re all watching in real time, waiting for everything to fall apart,” she said, “but it never does.”

That’s the goal of the collaboration with Swarovski: “to extend what the brand can do,” Grede said. “When we launched Fendi, for example, we were very concerned about the much, much more expensive product. But it turned out that the higher-priced items sold out first.”

Collaboration is a low-risk way to test the waters to see what the market supports and lay the groundwork for possibly more in the future. Considering the brand has plans to open flagship stores next year in Los Angeles and New York, along with another five to eight locations in smaller cities, it’s hard not to see the Swarovski x Skims initiative as another way to test retail in real life. .

Furthermore, it is not something to be kept secret. It’s meant to be worn in public: at cocktail parties, dinners, dates, special occasions — anywhere someone wants to look “super chic this season,” Kardashian said. This, despite the fact that “super chic” is not a term that has traditionally been associated with Skims, which has largely been “super basic.” And despite the fact that Kardashian is careful to say that he has no concrete plans for his own runway brand.

Still, she acknowledged that winning the CFDA award “gave us a little bit of impetus to do collaborations that were more high fashion collaborations and branch out.” She also that “people wear our clothes as outerwear.” “All the time.”

And, Grede said, once you cover those clothes in crystals… well, “lounge pieces really become evening dresses.”


“I feel like it really embodies who I am, being very simplistic, but I also have this bright feminine side,” Kardashian said. She was modeling a Skims Jelly Sheer bandeau-style top in nude color, and studded with crystals, like little twinkling stars, as if to demonstrate.

“I’ve definitely evolved since the 2000s,” she said. “It’s been a journey of taste that I’ve been on over the last decade, in all the things that I’m very interested in: architecture, landscaping. How I want my hedges trimmed isn’t too far from how I want my packaging to be, with clean lines, very symmetrical. But as for my crystallized things, I’ll always hold on to that. They just make me feel a certain way. I go to dinner at my mom’s house and everyone’s in their pajamas, and I arrive all in Swarovski. That’s just who I am.”

That’s why Giovanna Engelbert, Swarovski’s creative director, wanted to work with Kardashian. While Swarovski has supported designers in the past by delivering crystals as raw materials, this is the first time the company has worked with a brand to co-create clothing that will be sold in its stores.

“We didn’t just want to make a crystal bra,” Engelbert said. She wore Skims during her pregnancies and knew Kardashian vaguely through fashion. She reached out to her about two years ago and they officially embarked on the project six months later, largely through group messaging. Kardashian calls them “think tank group conversations” (she and her team use the encrypted messaging app Signal so no one can steal the ideas).

The partnership represents both “a new level of collaboration” and an expression of what Alexis Nasard, CEO of Swarovski, said is a new business strategy built around “cultural relevance.”

“Kim’s persona and her visual codes are not in tune with everything you see,” he said. “Her style is also not always in tune with everything you see. There’s a lot of originality in her, and in some ways she’s been a cultural shaper.”

Kardashian, it turns out, has a history with crystals. “If I put a crystal in my tooth,” she said, pointing to her mouth, “it has to be a Swarovski crystal. I used to make, like, little hair accessories and things with rhinestones, and I had my glue — that glue E6000—and a toothpick and the crystal, and I started decorating everything.” Her children started giving her Swarovski figurines for Mother’s Day, like “a bear, you know, or a little Princess Jasmine. There are certain things that just make you happy.”

One of the things that makes her happy is covering her laptop case with crystals. When she had a pink Apple MacBook, she covered it in pink crystals. When she had a black one, the shine was black. And now that she’s gone back to silver, her Mac is iced in Swarovski silver.

“I’ve always had this idea of ​​making outfits with jewelry,” Kardashian said, adding that she’s not sure which of her new jewelry-like outfits she’ll wear to the opening of the Swarovski store on Fifth Avenue. “I have a few options that I have set aside,” she said. “There are two options that I really love. I might need to change my clothes.”

Source: Folha

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