SOULCAL ATHLETICS

SOULCAL ATHLETICS

FASHION DESIGN REBRAND

FASHION DESIGN REBRAND

Client: USC

Brand: SoulCal

Role: Sole fashion designer for SoulCal womenswear

Tools: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, fabrics & trims

Client: USC

Brand: SoulCal

Role: Sole fashion designer for SoulCal womenswear

Tools: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, fabrics & trims

SoulCal Deluxe is a British fashion brand exclusive to the retailer USC and their 50+ stores. I started working for USC in 2015, as the sole designer for SoulCal womenswear.  The brand had been facing some challenges and my task was to help steer it in the right direction.

The Problem

The Problem

the brand

The Brand

  • Sales were down year on year
  • All product categories were failing except hoodies and t-shirts
  • The brand was not keeping up with market trends
  • The brand had lost credability when a cheaper version of SoulCal was introduced in discount stores
  • Sales were down year on year
  • All product categories were failing except hoodies and t-shirts
  • The brand was not keeping up with market trends
  • The brand had lost credability when a cheaper version of SoulCal was introduced in discount stores
customer

The Customer

  • Youth customers were outgrowing the brand, but new youth were not adopting
  • Millenials were moving away from “heritage” brands like SoulCal in favour of streetwear brands such as Puma or Nike
  • Youth customers were outgrowing the brand, but new youth were not adopting
  • Millenials were moving away from “heritage” brands like SoulCal in favour of streetwear brands such as Puma or Nike

The Opportunity

The Opportunity

the market

The Market

  • A new large-scale “athleisure” trend was emerging
  • UK athleisure sales had increased 16% in 2015 (when I started designing SoulCal), and have been steadily growing since
  • A new large-scale “athleisure” trend was emerging
  • UK athleisure sales had increased 16% in 2015 (when I started designing SoulCal), and have been steadily growing since
activewear magazine sm
usc photo with white2
the store

The Store

  • USC stores were refreshing their image and branding with a fun streetwear aesthetic
  • A new mix of sporty brands were being sold in USC, bringing in a new type of customer
  • USC stores were refreshing their image and branding with a fun streetwear aesthetic
  • A new mix of sporty brands were being sold in USC, bringing in a new type of customer

Solution 1

Solution 1

Addressing the core problems

Addressing the core problems

  • Refresh our branding pack
  • Rebrand as SoulCal Deluxe to distinguish it from the lower price point version of the brand
  • Pivot the look of the main collection to retain the core brand image, but address the needs of their changing customer


  • Refresh our branding pack
  • Rebrand as SoulCal Deluxe to distinguish it from the lower price point version of the brand
  • Pivot the look of the main collection to retain the core brand image, but address the needs of their changing customer


Understanding the Youth Customer

Solution 1

Addressing the core problems

  • Refresh our branding pack
  • Rebrand as SoulCal Deluxe to distinguish it from the lower price point version of the brand
  • Pivot the look of the main collection to retain the core brand image, but address the needs of their changing customer

Understanding the Youth Customer

I created a new customer persona and mood board, to help clarify who she is and what she wants in a fashion brand.

I created a new customer persona and mood board, to help clarify who she is and what she wants in a fashion brand.

persona

Clear Direction

Clear Direction

A clear statement of the new brand direction was sent to merchandisers and regional store managers.

A clear statement of the new brand direction was sent to merchandisers and regional store managers.

brand direction

Solution 2

Solution 2

Introducting Athleisure

Introducting Athleisure

To catch the emerging athleisure trend, I wanted to introduce a small capsule collection under the SoulCal Deluxe brand.  A capsule is essentially a collection within a collection.

To catch the emerging athleisure trend, I wanted to introduce a small capsule collection under the SoulCal Deluxe brand.  A capsule is essentially a collection within a collection.

Test the Market

We introduced an 8 piece test collection to gauge our customers reaction.
A regular fashion collection takes around 10 months to develop. We used short-lead suppliers and pre-approved fabric to have a test collection in stores in only 10 weeks.

We introduced an 8 piece test collection to gauge our customers reaction.
A regular fashion collection takes around 10 months to develop. We used short-lead suppliers and pre-approved fabric to have a test collection in stores in only 10 weeks.

CAD

The Full Campaign

The Full Campaign

Following the test collection we proceeded with a full 16 piece athleisure capsule.  Due to the longer lead times, I had to start designing before receiving sales data from the test collection.  Luckily the test collection showed promise, and there was enough time to incorporate sales feedback into the full collection before it went into production.

Following the test collection we proceeded with a full 16 piece athleisure capsule.  Due to the longer lead times, I had to start designing before receiving sales data from the test collection.  Luckily the test collection showed promise, and there was enough time to incorporate sales feedback into the full collection before it went into production.

mood and colour

The Final Product

The Final Product

Feedback

Feedback

The first full athleisure campagne made up 40% of the seasonal best sellers, even though it only represented 25% of the available styles. With this success, the athleisure capsule has been included in every season since. Looking forward, I hope the current design team continues to evolve with the trend, and think of new ways to approach SoulCal Athletics.

The first full athleisure campagne made up 40% of the seasonal best sellers, even though it only represented 25% of the available styles. With this success, the athleisure capsule has been included in every season since. Looking forward, I hope the current design team continues to evolve with the trend, and think of new ways to approach SoulCal Athletics.

Learnings

Learnings

Sometimes working for an established brand can feel constraining.  I was forever trying to walk the line of staying true to the brand, while allowing myself to think outside the box.  For me, it was important to keep asking myself "what does the customer really want?" This helped me formulate a solution that is forward thinking, while still being unmistakably SoulCal.

Sometimes working for an established brand can feel constraining.  I was forever trying to walk the line of staying true to the brand, while allowing myself to think outside the box.  For me, it was important to keep asking myself "what does the customer really want?" This helped me formulate a solution that is forward thinking, while still being unmistakably SoulCal.