Now, Walmart is making up for lost time. The retailer in March named Brandon Maxwell, whose sophisticated colorful designs are sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as creative director, as the retail and digital giant tries to gain a firmer foothold in apparel beyond the basics it’s been known for.
Maxwell oversees Free Assembly and Scoop, Walmart’s two exclusive elevated fashion brands. The role is a first for Walmart’s private brand apparel business, which aims to expanded its assortment of on-trend and accessible fashion to help customers built their closets. The first collections for adults under his purview will bow in spring 2022, and his influence will be seen on the kids collection next year.
Walmart recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of Free Assembly’s launch for men and women, and is following it up with Free Assembly Kids. The brand focuses on approachable designs, quality fabrics, modern silhouettes and fashion-forward details. The timeless wardrobe staples are easy to mix, layer and assemble freely, hence the name.
Walmart’s design team created Free Assembly from the ground up, which includes everything from the brand concept to fabric selection, to product attributes and fit to eco-friendly denim washes and the manufacturing process.
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The inaugural Free Assembly Kids collection shares all of those elements. It includes nearly 50 different styles in sizes ranging from 5 to 18 and priced between $6 and $36. All silhouettes are designed to work together, including classic plaid and bandana prints, one of fall’s key trends, with plaid flannel shirts for boys, $14, and a smocked dress with puff sleeves for girls, $18.
“At Walmart, we continue to focus on growing our fashion assortment of exclusive, elevated brands that offer consumers quality, on-trend and accessible style at an incredible value,” said Deanah Baker, senior vice president of men’s kids and shoes at Walmart U.S., adding that Free Assembly is a key addition to the retailer’s range of elevated and exclusive brands such as Scoop, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara and Eloquii Elements.
“We designed Free Assembly Kids to seamlessly complement our adult collection,” Baker said, adding that Walmart has been expanding fashion options for children including the recently introduced Justice assortment for tweens and Wonder Nation, comfortable basics and trend pieces for kids sizes 4 to 18.
With Athleisure a key element of adult and kids’ wardrobes, Free Assembly is leaning into comfy pieces for children such as graphic hoodies, $18, fleece bomber jackets,$20 and zip-up hoodies, $15. There’s also cropped silhouettes including short-sleeve cropped T-shirts, $6.
There are coordinated looks for girls such as a monochromatic mock neck fleece sweatshirt and matching wide leg sweats with the message, “We are the future,” embroidered on the back for added inspiration. Boys can choose color blocking with a mock neck quarter zip sweatshirt and color block joggers 2-pack.
“We designed Free Assembly Kids with many of the same trends as the adult collection,” Baker said. “Free Assembly will now be a key part of our children’s apparel assortment with new collections released seasonally.”