The Rise And Fall Of Juicy Couture


Irene Kim: Juicy Couture
was an iconic part of early 2000s fashion. Its velour tracksuits and
matching oversized bags were everything and everywhere. But Juicy went from making
$605 million in sales at its peak in 2008 to being sold for less
than a third of that five years later. So, what happened? Juicy’s story begins
with these two ladies, Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy. They met while working at a
Los Angeles boutique in 1988. When Nash-Taylor became pregnant, she couldn’t find any
fashionable maternity clothing. As a solution, she started
making maternity pants out of her husband’s
jeans, which inspired her and Skaist-Levy to start
a maternity clothing line, Travis Jeans for the Baby in You. The pair’s stylish
maternity jeans took off, despite their $89 price tag. By the early 1990s, it expanded into a full maternity line. But around 1994, after feeling like they lost touch with the maternity market, the pair decided to
pivot to something new: developing the perfect
luxury V-neck shirt. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy
focused on four things: fit, fabric, comfort, and color. They both tried on their samples to make sure the V-neck covered
the right part of the arm, didn’t plunge too deep, and, overall, made your body
look as good as possible, things male designers fitting
T-shirts on size 0 models maybe weren’t taking into consideration. After perfecting their design, they released it in 26 colors under their new label, Juicy Couture. When Juicy first started in 1995, the economy was beginning to recover from the 1990 to 1991 recession, and consumers were hungry for expensive, or at least expensive-sounding, products. So Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy wanted the brand name to convey luxury. They also loved the irony of naming their casual T-shirt line “couture.” Juicy Couture quickly grew in popularity and expanded to include knit tops, accessories, and a
successful Juicy Jeans line. But it wasn’t the
full-fledged lifestyle brand its founders wanted it to be…yet. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy
looked to the brands they grew up with during
the ’60s and ’70s for ideas. Both thought terry cloth was “the most amazing 1970s fabric” and came up with a line of
tops and bottoms made from it. The silhouette of what would become Juicy’s signature tracksuit was created with the same purpose as
the original Juicy V-neck: to be as flattering as possible. The zip-up hoodie was
designed with front pockets to hide any stomach pooch and cut with an hourglass
shape to nip in your waist. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy
also added custom hardware: a J-pull zipper that
branded every tracksuit as uniquely Juicy Couture. The tracksuit bottoms were originally made with an underwear elastic, but when that proved to be too loose, Juicy’s founders switched to a quick cord they’d used for their maternity line. It worked perfectly. Juicy Couture released its
now iconic tracksuits in 2001, and they became a phenomenon. Not to mention, at $155, Juicy Couture’s tracksuits weren’t cheap, but they were accessible. Julia DiNardo: The price
point was a little bit high for essentially a glorified sweatshirt, but with a little bit of midriff
showing, the cool bootleg, and seeing celebrities in
some oversized sunglasses wearing it out and about, it kind of met that balance of just-within-reach pricing and somewhat of a luxury
item pooled into one. Kim: And it was seeing
celebrities wear Juicy Couture that really drove the brand’s success. Around the time Juicy Couture launched, tabloid celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were
becoming a national obsession. Tabloids like Us Weekly and People were documenting everything America’s favorite stars were doing, and Juicy was able to
take advantage of it. Because its founders didn’t have the funds for traditional marketing,
they got creative, gifting tracksuits to celebrities. While this is pretty
common today, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor were one
of the first to do it. They didn’t find success
overnight, but eventually Juicy’s tracksuits were being seen on all the right celebrities. DiNardo: The attraction
to celebrity culture in the early 2000s is
really what contributed Juicy to become such a popular brand. It really was the height of: “Celebrities! They’re just like us.” Seeing Britney Spears go get
a cup of coffee at Starbucks in her Juicy Couture
tracksuits, seeing Paris Hilton shopping all over town in
her Juicy Couture tracksuit. Kim: Juicy’s founders
even kept a photo wall of every celebrity who
wore their tracksuit. Soon, Juicy Couture was exclusively sold at upscale department stores like Bergdorf Goodman
and Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2003, Juicy Couture was
purchased by Liz Claiborne, now known as Kate Spade & Company, for $226 million to be paid over a five-year period. Juicy was colorful, fun, and covered in logos
during a time when people couldn’t get enough of
showing off the brands they were buying and wearing. DiNardo: It wouldn’t be a Juicy product without the Juicy label or
insignia or logo of some kind. Skaist-Levy: It makes people happy. Nash-Taylor: Juicy, it
is, it’s a happy brand. People love it. Kim: Net sales nearly
doubled from 2006 to 2007. By 2008, Juicy Couture had 100 stores generating a total of
$605 million in sales. The brand also expanded to include jewelry and a successful fragrance
line with Elizabeth Arden. But then the recession hit. While most brands struggled
following the recession, Juicy Couture’s flashy branding particularly stopped
resonating with customers. DiNardo: So, during the 2008 recession, fashion was at a point where the “it” bag was really not an “it” thing anymore. It felt a little bit too
gregarious, over the top, and proud in the wrong way,
so things started to recede; not that people weren’t shopping, but they weren’t buying
things that were so blatant as to what they were
and how much they cost. Kim: The recession inspired a movement towards minimalism, which was pretty much the opposite of what
Juicy Couture embodied. DiNardo: Juicy as a label was all about that flashiness and that fun. And so, there was a somberness
to fashion, a seriousness, after 2008, and it really
wasn’t on-brand for Juicy. Kim: Sales fell 11%
year-over-year in 2009. In 2010, founders Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor left the company, citing a loss of ability
to help their brand evolve. Sale numbers continued to drop
as Juicy failed to keep up with the growing
contemporary fashion market. While labels like Alexander Wang and Theory quickly pivoted to add more pieces to their
collections, Juicy didn’t. In 2013, Juicy Couture was officially sold to Authentic Brands
Group for $195 million. The company has an eclectic portfolio, including the licensing
rights for the estates of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. The group announced plans to close all of Juicy Couture’s US stores but said it would reopen five to 10 as it rebuilds the brand. ABG later made a deal with
discount retailer Kohl’s to sell Juicy-branded products,
effectively abandoning the brand’s veneer of
luxury for many loyal fans. Despite its fall from department
store to discount bin, Juicy Couture has been angling
for a comeback for years. A 2016 collaboration with
cult fashion brand Vetements re-sparked interested and
lent Juicy some street cred. Kylie Jenner even posted a picture wearing a pricey tracksuit
from the collection. In 2017, Juicy Couture
appointed Hollywood stylist Jamie Mizrahi as its
new creative director. The brand debuted its new collection with a New York Fashion Week party with OG Juicy Couture lover and living brand embodiment Paris Hilton. Pieces from the collection were available on Juicy’s website, as well as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, with prices
ranging from $30 to $400. This marked an upscale pivot for the brand after being sold at Kohl’s since 2014. In 2018, Juicy Couture
released its first-ever runway collection to show pieces from its main contemporary
line, Juicy Couture Black Label. It also released two new
cosmetic collections, which have been met with
varying degrees of excitement. As for whether we’ll be seeing Juicy’s tracksuit everywhere again: DiNardo: I think they could capitalize on those customers that
were in their teens or late teens when the brand was popular. Now those women are moms, and they want something
comfortable but pulled together. It’s quite possible that the
tracksuit could be that item. Kim: Plus, Juicy Couture
could fit right into the athleisure market that’s continuing to dominate the fashion industry. And with so many other
early 2000s fashion trends coming back, who knows? 2020 could be Juicy Couture’s year.

100 comments

  1. I feel bad for juicy I used to have their jogging outfits in different colors and even my tshirts and bags . They are comfy

  2. Can you please do better next time and get a narrator who can say “that” and not “dat” and “with” and not “wif”….and c’mon.. she says “den” instead of “then” and “two towsend” instead of “thousand”…. like what the actual heck??

  3. Might as well just narrated the damn thing. The host looked like she was reading a sheet behind the camera, through the whole thing away.

  4. I remember working after school and saving to buy me one. We ended up going to Disneyland and a 4 week California vacation with my friends. It was kinda awesome and worth it.

  5. I was into L.A.M.B. That was my style, but juicy, however, i wasn’t into their velvety tracksuit because I did not want to dress like a clone but I really loved their handbags leather bowling bags satchels with oversized diamond ring attached and of course their perfume collection I also found sterling silver ring in which I’m keeping for investment but overall they need a comeback many designers and brands were replicating what was once a thing in the Y2K. I still have a pair of tan vintage jeans I’m keeping I was a teen then but now at 33 this was so iconic i remember I would go to nieman Marcus to find them extremely expensive but now I can go to my local thrift i find them and yes they are authentic and yes dirt cheap less than 10 usd I still collect them fix it up restore and cross my fingers and wait for it they have a chance they were truly the American fashion brand that dominated the world and the millennium could 2020 be their year???
    PS I did not know they were being sold at kohl’s also Dolls kill tried to put them on the spot

  6. Since neon colored faux fur jackets are a thing now I don't see why Juicy Couture would be too far off the market other than being so overdone by now. As for calling it trashy, hello, the Kardashians are popular and women wear yoga pants out and about. Compared to that Juicy actually seems classy lmao

  7. I had a couple of tracksuits at the time, which were cute, but I never liked this brand. The logo looked ugly and obnoxious to me. Then again, I was never really in touch with early 2000s fashion, as I've always been more of a minimalist. At the time, I thought just had no fashion sense though lol.

  8. Idk y people talking crap about how “it’s not flattering” y’all should see my booty in those sweat pants 👋🏽👋🏽👋🏽😂😂

  9. I NEVER paid attention its fall! I forgot all about Juicy Couture! Who says moms have to be out of shape for tracksuits??? Britney and Ciara would STILL look good in those outfits!

  10. I used to be so obsessed with Juicy, I even had a Juicy Couture themed birthday party for my 13th birthday. I had the charm bracelet, tracksuits,bags and perfumes. The store was honestly such a fun experience, so colorful and cute. I remember when it was so exclusive and now it’s for sale at Ross and kohl’s. It’s so wild that now we’re watching videos about their rise and fall, to quote “Juicy is For Nice Girls”

  11. I do not Care WHAT OTHERS SAY WITH ALL THEIR INSULTS.
    I WILL Always Enjoy and Really Like and Miss "THE STYLE :: JUICY COUTURE". Plus "ALL Those JUICY COUTURE Fragrances💕" .

  12. Thank U For this info. I always I guessed this was made by Real Women,I am So Proud to know " IT IS BY WOMEN For FemaleKind"💕 , I look for more brands made by Women /Girls …,U Know Made By Female Kind Cause #FemalePRIDE.

  13. I used to waste SO MUCH money on that crap! When I came to sell it all on eBay a few years ago, I got pennies for it. I was such dumbass in my 20s, paying up to £125 each for f***ing hoodies 😱

  14. Juicy still makes bomb ass perfume tho. Get compliments everytime I wear it 🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️

  15. I thrifted some grey sweatpants by Juicy & they’re so comfy !!! & no they don’t have juicy across the butt 😂

  16. The “juicy” on the butt inspired me to custom make a black pair that says “wide load” on the butt in yellow lol like the trucks. I do love those track suits as long as they don’t have words on the butt

  17. Their perfume better stay iconic though. Cuz I am Juicy is such a good scent; I dont care for the rest of their stuff tho. Gives me mean girls vibes 😌

  18. Ngl their ways of making the clothes were really smart; designing it so itd accentuate the female body; because as a curvy girl finding jackets, etc that look decent for my body is impossible ngl. Their idea was cute ig but i dont have their clothes so yikes 😂

  19. My mom never let me have anything from Juice Couture because she said it was “tacky.” Thank god she had some sense in her even when I didn’t lmao

  20. Sis really forgot to mention scandinavia, and HOW everybody i swear EVERY girl wear juicy sweatpants. I have 4 pairs, and know people with 10

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