The brand best known for its velour and terry cloth women’s tracksuits first appeared in 1997 and quickly grew into a fashion empire.
The Juicy Couture tracksuit represented the evolution of fashion for many teenagers, including myself.
Ashley Mooney, a junior at SMU, said, “I remember my first Juicy outfit. I got the pink velour suit when my mom took me to the Rodeo Drive store in California.”
Juicy Couture was founded by Pamela Skaist-Levy, a former Hollywood costume designer, and Gela Nash-Taylor, a former actress, with “just $200 and a few T-shirts.”
In a 2006, interview with Carnegie Mellon Today, Nash-Taylor noted, “People say you have to go to a bank, do a business plan, and borrow $60,000 to $100,000. If I’d started a business $60,000 in debt, I wouldn’t have been able to get up in the morning.
The two friends chose not to take out the $100,000 loan everyone had suggested they needed. “Everything that came out of our business we put back into it,” said Skais-Levy in a 2008 interview with USA Today.
The entrepreneurs started the line by creating clothes they wanted to have hanging in their own closets.
The Juicy Allure
Known for its risqué slogans and high prices, Juicy Couture’s racy take on casual fascinated consumers and became the limelight of Hollywood.
Celebrities like Britney Spears, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez were among Hollywood’s A-list wearing the sweat suits.
“I felt hot in my Juicy outfit, like I was wearing adult clothing—just like the celebrities—except my dad didn’t approve,” said SMU junior Alison Hackett.
The flirtatious design of the notable Juicy tracksuit became a Hollywood essential in teenage genre films. Films like Mean Girls and Legally Blonde are among the many during the first decade of the 2000s that feature sophisticated, sexy teen girls wearing Juicy track suits.
Juicy Grows Up
The Juicy brand has come a long way from where it began. In 2003 the company was acquired by Fifth & Pacific Companies, INC, formerly Liz Claiborne, for an estimated $53 million.
With its appeal to a more fashion-conscious and affluent consumer, “Juicy Couture adds another dimension to our portfolio, further broadening our ability to offer apparel and accessories across a wide range of consumer lifestyles and tastes,” said Paul Charron, Liz Claiborne chairman and chief executive in a 2003 statement to the Los Angelos Times.
In addition to Juicy Couture the parent company has acquired the Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and Mexx labels in recent years.
With this change Leanna Nealz became chief creative officer and president of the brand, while founders Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor remained with the company as co-presidents of the line.
According to a 2005 article in Bloomberg Buisnessweek Magazine, since the deal, Juicy revenues have quadrupled and are nearing $200 million.
Marketing experts note that most major fashion brands today have started with one key item — such as the Kate Spade bag. Or the Juicy Couture track suit. Admirers of a brand are often marked by a shared consciousness as well as shared rituals and traditions.
By appealing to fashion-conscious young women who yearned for comfortable casual wear that reflected their interest in body-conscious style, Juicy’s creators grew the brand into a “Juicy Empire.”
The brand had since expanded into every outlet of the fashion industry. You can now purchase Juicy Couture jewelry, computer and phone cases, and perfumes. Juicy launched its new Couture line that focuses on cocktail and special occasion outfits to offer more variety from the line’s casual and sports wear.
The brand has even ventured out with new lines and designs for all genders and ages. Juicy Couture is everywhere now, with a men’s, women’s and children’s line selling in almost every major department store.
Sam Zager, a junior at SMU, noted how Juicy seemed to have “grown up” with her. “It’s amazing how Juicy has expanded. I remember wearing the track suits in middle school, and just recently I got a blouse from their couture line.”
Today there are over 100 Juicy Couture and outlet stores in North America and it is sold in over 60 countries(Juicycouture.com).
The Juicy World
Recently, Juicy launched its “California Dreaming” holiday film featuring Candice Swanepoel.
The bathing beauty awakens in her California bedroom and transitions from one daytime location to another, then onto a nighttime party, wearing the perfect outfit for each occasion. With “girls just want to have fun” playing throughout the film the flirty, versatile and fashion-forward designs by Juicy are highlighted.
In a 2008 interview with USA Today, Skaist-Levy said: ”Celebrating friendship and girl power — that’s very Juicy.”
I found a picture from 8th grade of my friends and I posing in our juicy zip-up outfits. I laughed, thinking back to that when I was in the store this past weekend. During this Juicy shopping trip, I purchased a green leather jacket, a cashmere boho sweater and a key chain—a huge transition from the hot pink Juicy tracksuit I wore practically every other day in 7th grade.
Juicy has exhibited a natural progression, from an idea launched by two LA entrepreneurs who knew what they wanted to wear to an empire stretching overseas. The brand has grown up with my generation. And its success speaks for itself.
It definitely is a Juicy World out there. I have no doubt about it.