By  on February 27, 2008

NEW YORK — This coming fall, German label Marc Cain is making its way to U.S. shores.

The brand is doing the journey via The Isabella Co. here, which also represents lines such as Basler, Gerard Darel and Bianca. Howard Aubrey, the showroom's president, said Marc Cain targets upscale department and specialty stores and anticipates wholesale volume of at least $3 million in the first year.

While Marc Cain is a household name in Germany, where it operates 18 freestanding stores and has an extensive wholesale network, it is largely unknown Stateside. The label was founded in Italy in 1972 as a knitwear company by German native Helmut Schlotterer. Now based near Stuttgart, Germany, the firm remains in the hands of the Schlotterer family.

The label has a focus on updated takes on knitwear with unusual techniques as well as clean, elegant woven items.

"For us, color is important, prints are important, and always mixed in with knitwear, and jersey in summer," said Norbert Lock, distribution director of Marc Cain. "For us, quality is important and the fabrics and yarns are from Italy. We own our knitwear and printing production facilities."

Over the past eight years, the company has been able to triple its turnover by reaching beyond German borders. The business outside of the U.S. now accounts for 56 percent of sales, of which 10 percent are outside of Europe, including China and Russia.

In 2007, the company's sales volume was 133 million euros, or about $227 million at the current exchange rate.

There are 76 Marc Cain stores worldwide. Outside of Germany, the units are franchised, including 15 in China.

Isabella offers both the main Marc Cain collection, and its offspring Marc Cain Sports, which has a more casual, and slightly active bent. "It's the same customer, but on casual Fridays," Lock said.

Overall, wholesale prices range from $85 to $725. Outerwear wholesales from $265 to $725, jackets from $125 to $430, dresses from $85 to $310, blouses from $115 to $185, skirts from $110 to $240, and pants from $89 to $280. Isabella also is importing Marc Cain accessories, such as handbags, shoes and scarves.

Lock said it has taken so long to take a stab at the U.S. market, because, "We were waiting for the right partner. We met Howard at a fair and felt it was the right time."

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