Tag Archives: Uncle Kimono

Mal-clothed-vich?

by Sally Applin

John Malkovich is selling clothing.This, in itself is not news, but its interesting for several reasons:

  1. as an actor, he’s not affiliated with the garment industry,
  2. he hasn’t been on many best dressed lists, and
  3. he tends to fly under the radar, even as an actor, and he doesn’t seem to be part of that trend of appealing to the young people

In general, it seems epidemic as a trend: actors, singers, and other celebrities getting involved in licensing/designing/manufacturing/and otherwise imprinting “their” particular stamp on clothing and other “wares.”

What gives this time? Why Malkovich?

In a way, aging celebrities, like other smart business types, are looking for ways to increase their longevity in the marketplace though extending their “brand.” In other words, they bank on the idea that “if you like the celebrity, you’ll love the: clothing, drink, shoes,” etc…

So, do you, buy it? Let’s get back to JM. His clothing has a tweedy English, yet hip-to-NYC vibe, at kind of high prices, but seemingly good quality fabrics–or at least they look that way in the photos. The tees at $49 bucks, seem to be the worst value, but perhaps the sweaters or berets offer better quality. For $2000, custom suits are available.

The real key here for 52 year old Malkovich is how well he can get the boomers to identify with him. They are aging to be sure, and they have a _lot_ of money, which they spend. There is much effort in this website to create John Malkovich as a lifestyle brand. You can have the John Malkovich “Uncle Kimono” brand Personal Sylist dress you. Their ad? “Mid-life clothing crisis? Let our Personal Stylist help dress you.” Nuff said. That’s a boomer call to clothe if I’ve ever heard one.

But wait, there’s more!

“Uncle Kimono” is only one brand under the Mrs. Mudd umbrella, which includes “Providing services ranging from trend forecasting, to graphic design, branding, to fashion film production and clothing design.”

We are invited to “Get a glimpse of tomorrow’s life.”

With the fashion veterans Francesco and Thommaso Rulli joining JM at the helm, there is a wonder where this brand is going to lead. As a outside trend observer, I’m going to wait and see, but I’m skeptical. Malkovich is an actor. Its not that he doesn’t have a chance in the market, but Malkovich isn’t a strong brand. No matter what muscle is behind him, as CEO, he’s going to need more to convince me as a someone who studies brands and trends, that he is qualified for the role of heading a branding and trend company.

That said, as a clothing brand, perhaps individual consumers will feel that they too, can have the “mark of Malkovich” and be the sinister cool guy who gets away with it. If it works.

Good luck to him and Mrs. Mudd.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.