Extending its track record of absorbing competitors, The Doneger Group consulting, trend analysis and merchandising organization has acquired Directives West, another consultant to retailers.
Directives West, located in the California Market Center in Los Angeles, will become an independent operating division of Doneger, based in New York.
Directives West has a staff of 20 and was founded in 1982 by its president, Sandy Richman. The company has a West Coast fashion point of view and is best known for its expertise in the junior, contemporary and young men's apparel and accessories markets.
"It's a natural fit, and it's complementary," said Abbey Doneger, president of The Doneger Group, which has snapped up about 18 buying offices, consultants, trend forecasters and publications since 1980. "We will provide support and additional resources to allow Sandy to build the Directives West division, and Directives West will provide a more global perspective on the industry." It will also bring some new retail clients to Doneger, among them, Kira Plastinina, the 15-year-old Russian designer and retailer, who this year will begin to open stores in the U.S. Richman said Directives West has been helping Plastinina determine how to stock the upcoming U.S. stores.
Doneger has maintained a West Coast office since 2005 in the California Market Center. Members of the office, including Janine Blain, director, will join Directives West. Blain becomes merchandise manager and director of client relations, reporting to Richman.
Doneger's most recent acquisitions were Here & There, a provider of fashion information and trend publications in 2006, and Tobe, publisher of The Tobe Report, in 2005.
Asked where the contemporary market is headed, Richman replied, "The casual aspect of the market is still very important, even though the denim piece, which was a major growth factor, has flattened. The premium denim business is still very solid. Ahead for fall, people are looking at dressing up. This should really focus on the whole collection piece of the business, which should be very balanced going forward."
She also cited "major growth in the young contemporary piece of the business. It's a little bit less expensive and a tier that hasn't existed, but has come on strong for the past six months. A core piece of it would be BCBGeneration. Other vendors will be surrounding this. It's really fashion at a price," that emphasizes sweater dressing and knitwear. Other labels important in the trend are Kenzie, Level 99, Matty M and Sugar Lips, Richman said.
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