Pepsi's Project Cobalt Launching First Line

While Pepsi may have spent the majority of its life as the primary competitor to Coca-Cola, the brand will be known for something else: clothes. Project Cobalt, the new culture platform from Pepsi, will be launching a collection by a group of young designers this week. The designers, known as the Craft Class, work together with mentors to create seasonal collections. The first Craft Class includes Olu Alege and Edgar Garrido of Street Level Culture, Alexandra Kennedy and Samantha Giordano of Dolores Haze, and Drew Villani of Dreu. They were mentored by Jeff Staples, owner of retail business Reed Space, Liza Deyrmenjian, founder of Fashion Business Accelerator 360, and men's contemproary swimwear brand Park & Rowen.

“Project Cobalt is an overarching initiative to engage the young creative community within the fashion space, the design space and the experiential space,” Anthony Flores, project manager of Project Cobalt Style, was quoted saying in Women's Wear Daily. Pepsi took notice to a cultural shift and wanted to do something about it. Instead of “answering it themselves and asking the people inside of their doors, they reached out to our agency [All Beuys Club] that put together a strong community of fashion veterans to begin engaging on this program for them,” Flores elaborated.

While the project is still in its infant stages, they are making excellent progress. However, because the project is so young Pepsi has no concrete plans yet on what exactly Project Cobalt will be going forward. This year is going to be their "discovery year" as they work on fleshing out more details for the new endeavor. While all the details are still unclear, Pepsi is hoping that Project Cobalt will be a project that will help propel the creative class forward.

Pepsi entering the creative sphere with Project Cobalt line

Pepsi may be a billion dollar company, and they did have an excellent fiscal year for 2014, but, the company is not doing quite as well as expected as people are beginning to opt for drinks that are healthier and cutting back on soft drinks. However, PepsiCo sees themselves as more than just a soft drinks company, they have a level of cultural relevance as well.

To select the Craft Class members Project Cobalt worked with their partners (Fashion Business 260, Agenda, and Liberty Fairs) to ensure they had very talented teams. Every six months the class rotates and they all produce one full collection. The items will be sold at a shop-in-shop at Reed Space on the Lower East Side from Wednesday April 15th to Wednesday April 22nd. They will also be sold at Project Cobalt's online shop.

The collection will include everything from bomber jackets, unisex casual bottoms, knits, jackets, football tees, soccer shorts, polos, graphic t-shirts, and hats, with prices ranging anywhere from 40 dollars to 150 dollars. The apparel is manufactured in Nepal and New York. The interesting thing about this collection is that it will not include a single Pepsi logo.

Pepsi wants the collection to be about the designers, not them. But, many would ask why would a soft drink conglomerate the likes of Pepsi be putting their weight behind a clothing line that won't even feature their logo? For Pepsi it is most likely about helping to create culture relevance and help the next generation of young designers. It might just be an attempt to seem like they are also creative and not just business, but, we will see how Project Cobalt continues to be fleshed out.




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