Lord & Taylor’s men’s department just got a refresh. The legendary department store has added a new private label contemporary men’s brand as well as a special section within the men’s department both entitled Laboratory. It has officially launched in 19 Lord & Taylor stores, including the New York City flagship on Fifth Avenue, as well as online at lordandtaylor.com.
Lord & Taylor’s newest collection offers the latest trends in everyday fashion, while the new section is described as a curated space within the department store where customers can also find such fashion-forward brands like Eleven Paris, WESC, American Stitch, Reason and Strand.
To get more insight into the retailer’s newest launch, we recently caught up with Nelson Mui, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor’s men’s fashion director, to chat about why the retailer wanted to launch Laboratory, the design inspiration and how this new section is displayed within the store.
Q: What were some of the deciding factors on this new private label line?
A: We felt there was an opportunity for runway-inspired styles, prints and silhouettes priced at or around $100 or less. Today’s generation of guys are very influenced by street-style, and the aggressive looks that gain traction on social media. They’re confident and pick up on the new styles and trends quickly — so as long as the price per use calculation works for them, it’s an easy choice. This customer doesn’t wait a year to wear what they see digitally, so the bulk of the development of Laboratory takes place in less than three months prior to when the merchandise hits the floor.
Laboratory is also an opportunity for us to put into production trends and items that we felt were important and not as prominent in our current contemporary selection. We try to avoid duplicating any of the basics or styles that are already carried in our collection shops.
Q: What are some of the design inspirations for the Laboratory line?
A: The spring collection is inspired by the major trends we saw on the runway – for example, the loud vacation shirt, chinoiserie patterns and satin souvenir jackets.
Q: What will the Laboratory contemporary space look like in the store; will it be a special built out or a shop-in-shop?
A: Currently, Laboratory is an area within our contemporary menswear floor, with fixtures and signage tailored to create the zone. As you’d expect, the layout and assortments vary between the 19 stores which currently carry Laboratory and e-comm. As the line grows, we are exploring expanding the section to a shop-in-shop, similar to how the Birdcage concept shop or Design Lab is represented in our Fifth Avenue flagship.
Q: Are there any special social media tie-ins to go along with this launch?
A: At this stage, there aren’t any special social media tie-ins or contests to coincide with the launch; however, we have already begun to promote via our channels and will continue to do so throughout the season.
In addition to Fifth Avenue, Laboratory is available at the following locations: Scarsdale, NY; Manhasset, NY; Garden City, NY; Buffalo, NY; Syracuse, NY; Ridge Hill, NY; Crossgates in Albany, NY; Walt Whitman in Huntington Station, NY; Stamford, CT; Boston, MA; Westfield, NJ; Quakerbridge in Lawrenceville, NJ. Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ; Monmouth in Eatontown, NJ; King of Prussia, PA; Tysons Corner in Tysons, VA; Twelve Oaks in Novi, MI; Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL.