- Old Navy this week started selling its first clothing collection aimed at kids ages 10 to 13 as part of the Gap-owned brand's collaboration with media company Popsugar, per an announcement shared with sister publication Marketing Dive. The companies designed the limited-edition PS x ON collection for tweens to be comfortable whether at school or learning remotely during pandemic lockdowns.
- Old Navy and Popsugar, which is owned by digital media company Group Nine, sought inspiration for the collection from three tween ambassadors including designer Kheris Rogers, athlete and musician Jensen Gering and gymnast Alizé Lee. The tweens also photographed all the visuals for the collection's "Radiate Good Vibes" campaign while sheltering in place. The 25-piece collection includes gender-inclusive athleisure items, denim, fleece hoodies and jogging outfits in vibrant colors.
- To reflect the social awareness of tweens, the collection has graphic T-shirts with optimistic phrases like "I Am the Future," "Make the World a Better Place" and "We're Gonna Be Alright." The collection first will be available at the OldNavy.com website, followed by stores in the U.S. and Canada in August. As part of the rollout, Old Navy is donating $25,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, per the announcement.
The collaboration between Old Navy and Popsugar is notable for developing a clothing collection aimed at an underserved market of tweens for the back-to-school shopping season, which is normally the biggest sales period of the year for the retailer, Glossy reported. The PS x ON collection is intended for 10- to 13-year-olds who previously didn't have much choice at Old Navy between clothing for little kids or for adults, and likely will help Old Navy capture a greater share of seasonal spending. Old Navy may extend the PS x ON collection past the back-to-school season if it shows strong sales, WWD reported.
This year's back-to-school season comes amid the major disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, with many school districts developing plans to offer a mix of teaching in classrooms and distance learning. That means students could be looking for flexibility in their wardrobes, including comfortable clothing that can be worn at school or home.
In general, back-to-school marketing this year is shaping up to have a more somber tone because of the health crisis. However, marketing addressing activism, mental health, remote learning and even Old Navy's gender-inclusive clothing and T-shirts emblazoned with phrases like "Make the World a Better Place" could resonate more with grounded Gen Z teens.
Parents will spend about $234 on clothing for their kids during the back-to-school season, down slightly from $240 last year, per a survey by the National Retail Federation. The NRF found that the percentage of U.S. consumers who plan to shop at clothing stores fell to 30% from 45%, while the number of shoppers who will buy online grew to 55% from 49%. That trend could make Old Navy's online store a more important sales channel, which Popsugar also is promoting on its website.
For Popsugar, the collaboration with Old Navy is a sign of how its key audience of millennials are maturing into parents of tween kids. The media company's licensing efforts have included partnerships with Ulta Beauty, Amazon and Kohl's. Two years ago, Popsugar introduced its first line of cosmetics, Beauty by Popsugar, at Ulta Beauty stores, Digiday reported. Amid changing consumer tastes and a growing preference for athletic apparel, Kohl's in May announced it would sell more active clothing and included Popsugar among the eight brands it would eliminate from its store selection.