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Face to face with… Skinnydip

We chat to founder James Gold about the fashion accessory brand’s licensing approach.

We all know that being a bit different, a little bit quirky and a change from the norm gets you noticed at retail – and this is certainly true for London-based fashion accessories brand, Skinnydip.

It launched in 2011, but the company – which describes the lines it creates as ‘fun and fearless statement products’ influenced by fashion, social media and current trends – has quickly notched up a number of milestones.

It runs over 200 concessions in retailers such as Topshop, Selfridges and Harrods, while it also works with ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, plus has six of its own stores and a dedicated website. New product styles are offered weekly to ensure its customers’ fast fashion needs are met.

It has produced successful licensed collaborations with Fox Consumer Products and The Simpsons and Coca-Cola – the former winning it Best Licensed Giftware Range at the Licensing Awards 2016 for its Krusty the Clown line.

“Skinnydip is a fun brand and we loved the idea of partnering with iconic global brands to create a really unique licensed range,” explains co-founder James Gold. “For us, going down the conventional route isn’t very Skinnydip and we’ve been fortunate in having great partners in 20th Century Fox and Coca-Cola, who’ve allowed us to be creative and design what we feel are very distinctive ranges.”

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That ‘distinctive’ element translated into Skinnydip taking inspiration from Krusty the Clown’s various business ventures for its first The Simpsons collection, even turning its Carnaby Street store into a ‘Krusty Burger’. It then turned to characters such as Mr Burns, Moe, Patty and Selma for The Simpsons Undressed, which saw them portrayed in a rather risqué way.

“I don’t think anyone has ever done that before,” laughs James. “We’ve been blown away by the reaction from our customers and our second range is proving even more popular than our first.”

For Coca-Cola, James says that Skinnydip managed to produce a collection which stayed true to the brand’s identity, but also added its own playfulness to it.

“As such a global brand, we had a lot of fun going back through their 100 years of back catalogues for branding and imagery. There was such an enormous amount of content to work with.”

While James won’t be drawn on any potential new collaborations in the pipeline for 2017, he did say that Skinnydip is always on the lookout for new opportunities where it can partner with a brand to create something totally different.

“Collectively our brand mentality has always been to do things differently,” he adds. “We look at a licence and think to ourselves what can we do that nobody else has thought about doing before. I like to think that gives us an edge, rather than going down the most conventional route.

“We would like to continue to bring products onto the market that customers pick up and makes them smile. If we’re doing that, we’re happy.”

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2017 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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