ATLANTA — After 15 years as general manager at Jeffrey Atlanta, Jim Whitlow realized an entrepreneur's dream — turning a personal passion into a business concept.
"I combined the two things I love most — high fashion and fitness," said Whitlow, a competitive runner and personal trainer who opened Deka, a specialty store with high-end athletic and leisure apparel, a formula he said was nonexistent.
"The only shopping alternatives are big-box or sporting goods stores, which usually didn't offer the fashion," he said.
Whitlow considered naming the store for a Greek goddess but settled on Deka because it is Greek for the number 10 and he said he liked the association with the idea of "the perfect10."
After opening in January 2007, Deka increased space from 1,400 square feet to 2,500 square feet last February, opening up the second floor of the freestanding building in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. A second 3,200-square-foot store is planned for Alpharetta, a north Atlanta suburb, in fall 2009. Sales for 2008 are projected at $1.3 million, from $850,000 last year.
This fall, the store will exclusively carry Y-3, among its 30 lines, which include international designers such as Stella McCartney for Adidas, Puma, London's Millie Fox, Brazil's Blue Fish and California's Rese Pilates. Shoes are 25 percent of the mix, with 12 lines, including Nike and Asics, edited with a focus on fashion items such as Puma's gold ballerina flats.
Yoga and Pilates are the big categories, with skirts, skorts and vests as hot spring trends. Prices start at $45 for T-shirts, and reach $350 for a nylon jacket by Stella McCartney. Cardio, golf and tennis items also work for soccer moms who want cute looks for lunch, carpool and shopping dates, Whitlow said.
Deka is colorful and rustic, with antique sports equipment doubling as display fixtures. Shoes are shown among old wooden barbells, a Fifties' basketball scoreboard hangs behind the register and gym clothes drape over century-old parallel bars Whitlow found in London.
"Our customers want workout wear, but a large number just want comfortable, fashionable clothes to live in," he said. "Advances in performance fabrics and design have made this category work for everybody."
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)