Abercrombie & Fitch Co.'s lower-cost surf retailer Hollister on Thursday announced a Gen Z-focused sub-brand dubbed Social Tourist, devised in partnership with social media influencers Charli and Dixie D'Amelio. As of May 20, the brand will be sold at Hollister stores globally and at SocialTourist.com. No price range was available.
The effort launches "an exclusive, multi-year apparel agreement between Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and the D'Amelio sisters," per a press release. Their father, Marc D'Amelio, with three decades of experience in sales and design, is a consultant for the brand.
Social Tourist will have four apparel lines of its own, including gender inclusive items; trend pieces like dresses and skirts; essentials featuring premium basics; and swim. Each collection will include limited-edition items, with drops every month or so, the company said.
In the post-Kardashian era, the marketing power of social media, especially among younger consumers, has become undeniable. That leaves brands that cater to teens and young adults no choice but to turn to influencers, who can easily collect tens of millions in social media followers.
Given the influencers' youth and the vagaries of social media, such collaborations are not without risk. Influencers can lose followers at least as easily as they gain them when controversies arise, as when the sisters last year were perceived to have mistreated the family's personal chef.
But their influence on young people's tastes and emerging trends is such that brands increasingly have a hard time depending heavily on data in merchandising, experts say.
The D'Amelio sisters have already appeared in videos and posts sponsored by Hollister and previously collaborated with the brand on limited-edition items.
"Charli and Dixie are the quintessential example of what it's like to grow up in the digital world, and we've always believed they authentically represent our teen customers' mindset both online and in real life," Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Global Brand President Kristin Scott said in a statement. "We're thrilled to unlock new opportunities for all of us beyond our co-created products, which strongly resonated with our global customers. Given the high demand, we knew we could take our relationship further."