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Mark Cross is back in the men’s business.
This story first appeared in the August 29, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The luxury leather goods firm will introduce a tight collection of men’s bags, luggage and small leather goods for spring, marking a return to the category after an absence of more than 15 years.
The 168-year-old brand relaunched a women’s handbag collection exclusively with Barneys New York in the U.S. in February 2012, and the line has performed well, according to Neal Fox, chief executive officer, who bought the trademark with a group of private investors in 2010. The brand had been shuttered since 1997.
“The men’s collection has been in the works for a long time,” Fox said during an interview at his office in Manhattan’s Fashion District. He said the collection was inspired in part by some pieces in the Mark Cross archives, as well as others that offer a “modern perspective.” The offering includes travel bags, briefcases, totes, duffles, dopp kits, luggage, wallets, card cases and iPad cases. The line is designed in-house and produced in Italy, he said. Retail prices will range from $225 to $525 for the small leather goods and $1,895 to $3,750 for the luggage.
Barneys has already placed an order, Fox said, adding, “We’ll do some limited distribution beyond that.”
Fox said he believes the time is right for the return of Mark Cross to the men’s market. “It’s America’s oldest luxury leather goods brand, and in today’s world of legacy-driven brands, I see a clear opportunity for a heritage brand like ours.”
He said men today are “more interested in investing real money in quality leather goods” as they embrace “a sartorial approach to men’s wear.”
Fox said the ultimate goal for Mark Cross is to continue to expand both men’s and women’s product in the U.S. and overseas and eventually branch out into retail stores. “I’d like to see us back in the retail business in two to three years,” he said. In the Eighties, the company operated 23 freestanding stores.