By  on September 15, 2008

NEW YORK — Bleach, parent of the fashion-forward Australian surf brand Insight, plans to break into the premium men’s market with a men’s shirt line called Six is Nine. Set to hit stores in spring ’09, the men’s-only collection will consist of 26 styles and range in retail price from $70 to $130.

For its first season, Six is Nine—named to evoke the classic Jimi Hendrix tune “If 6 Was 9”—will include only woven shirts, in a wide variety of fabrics and designs, including checks, pinstripes, chambray and denim. The collection offers both slim and regular silhouettes, with a variety of vintage-washed casual styles as well as more dressy tailored offerings. Design details, such as covered buttons or turned plackets, will be hallmarks of the brand, said head of sales Nathan Butcher.

“Shirtings are becoming a new flavor at retailers around the world, as guys dress up more,” said Butcher. “It’s one of our strongest growth categories within Insight.”

Unlike Insight, whose sweet spot is the irreverent surf crowd, Six is Nine is targeting a higher-end premium consumer, and eyeing upscale specialty boutiques and department stores as potential retail partners. While some of Insight’s largest accounts include teen-focused chains like Urban Outfitters and Active Ride Shop, it also retails at many fashion-oriented specialty boutiques, from The Closet to Fred Segal, so the company expects some overlap for its new launch.

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