FLORENCE — After an eight-year absence, Italian denim brand Meltin' Pot is back at Pitti Uomo, the international men's wear exhibition, topping off a six-month makeover spearheaded by general director Augusto Romano.
"We are ready to become a more international brand," Romano said in an interview at the fairgrounds here.
Although available at about 2,000 points of sale around the world, Romano said the company has been working on different fronts, from product and style to communication and marketing, to fine-tune its strategies for the next 10 years.
A key element is the company's production arm, Romano SpA, based in the southern region of Apulia, which does work for designers such as Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld and which feted its 40th anniversary last year. A photo exhibition, "Blue Workers," by Paolo Pellegrin, celebrates the people and expertise behind the firm and is set to be turned into a book.
For fall 2008, the company, which is expanding with a new group of designers and commercial teams, has redesigned its signature five-pocket jeans with a more modern, stylized and stitched M logo on the back pocket.
"We feel a design should be basic, but eye-catching and unique at the same time," said Romano, adding that it is not necessary to flood the stores with a wide range of products. "A pair of jeans defines a brand and that is not something European distributors have caught onto, compared with American retailers, for example. They still think that if a customer buys a pair of Meltin' Pot jeans, they'll want a Meltin' Pot sweatshirt. That's not the way customers think now. They are increasingly turning to specialized brands, they buy from those brands that have know-how."
For this reason, the company has focused on selected products and expanded variations of those themes. Despite changes at the brand, the price range will not vary, set at $160 to $180. Denim accounts for 70 percent of the company's sales, split between women's and men's wear.
As for styles, Romano said the denim industry is in a transitional mode.
"The trend is toward large, but the bulk of our sales still comes from slim fits," he said. "Another shift is toward lighter washes, but we are still not there yet. Indigo is still too relevant for denim."The key requisite is for increased comfort, Romano said.
"Thanks to new technologies, even stretch denim, which was often considered cheap-looking in the past, now has a chicer, more elegant edge," he said.
In the U.S., the brand is available at 100 points of sale, from American Rags and Atrium in New York, to Riccardi in Boston and Villands in San Francisco. The market accounts for about 2 million euros, or $2.93 million at current exchange. Romano wants to significantly boost that figure.
"We had a two-year learning period, but we are now ready to tackle the U.S., which is much more competitive and dynamic than Europe," he said.
The company opened in New York's Meatpacking District in April 2006 to better penetrate the U.S. market.
"We feel the visibility of a product on the market is more important rather than being in a specific store, which is still not perceived in Europe," said Romano, who is also working on a store concept with architect Fabio Novembre, with an eye on opening signature units by the end of this year or in the first half of 2009.
Communication is a top priority for the company. Romano has tapped marketing expert Armando Testa for Meltin' Pot's spring ad campaign and has earmarked 10 percent of sales for communication. The company generated revenues of 60 million euros, or $88 million, last year, in line with 2006.
Asked to define what the brand stands for, Romano said: "Our customer is contemporary, absorbs different stimuli from around the world, making them his or her own, entirely in tune with his or her surroundings."
He challenged the perception that there are deep problems in the denim sector.
"This is a cyclical business, but it's constantly growing and is part of our culture," Romano said. "There are no alternatives to this fabric in the mind of the consumer."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews