The company, which launched in Paris in 1999 and now sells a ready-to-wear collection throughout Europe under the BGN label, is launching a collection for the American contemporary market for spring. Called So, the label is based in a new showroom here at 250 West 39th Street.
"So was really created with the American contemporary customer in mind," said Baris Bilen, brand manager of So. "BGN is sold outside of the U.S. and does quite well, but it's not for the same woman."
So, designed by Cristina Ruales, formerly a designer at DKNY, consists of a full sportswear collection, including linen dresses, silk chiffon tops and skirts, leather jackets, cotton woven tops and tailored pants. The collection wholesales from $50 to $350.
Bilen said that while the brand only includes contemporary sportswear for now, it will eventually grow into a full lifestyle label, offering everything from hats to shoes.
"The brand will show off the entire point of view of the designer," he said. "We are already showing some belts in the line, and I am sure it will expand pretty quickly."
Bilen said the ultimate goal with So is to launch a lasting brand, like its parent has done with the BGN label.
"This customer is really looking for value," he said. "They want that sophisticated designer look, but at a reasonable price."
Bilen said he is also beginning to look at opening freestanding stores for So but will not rush into that. So far, the So brand has been picked up by specialty retailers including Fred Segal and Only Hearts in Santa Monica, Calif.; Pieces in Brooklyn, and Factory People in Austin, Tex. Bilen said he expects to reach $1 million in sales for the first season.
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