GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Marc Ecko’s long-standing retail dream has turned into a reality.
The founder and creative director of Marc Ecko Enterprises has taken the first step of an elaborate retail rollout with the introduction of two Marc Ecko Cut & Sew stores. The company estimates that the Cut & Sew shops, along with additional vertical retail concepts planned for many of MEE’s apparel brands—including Ecko unlimited and Zoo York— will help boost its current $1.5 billion volume to $3 billion by 2010.
“Now that we have this stable of brands, we’ve got to continue to grow,” said Kent Chapman, senior vice-president of retail development and environmental marketing at MEE. “Retail is part of our long-term growth plan.”
Cut & Sew’s first two shops—at the Roosevelt Field mall here, and the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas—will be followed by two more Cut & Sew locations this fall: one on Eighth Avenue in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and another in the Houston Galleria mall. Next year, MEE plans to open 10 to 15 more Cut & Sew doors.
Like the fashion-forward contemporary men’s wear line, the Cut & Sew stores’ decor is an homage to Marc Ecko himself. Averaging 2,500 square feet, the intimate shops combine the conventions of a traditional men’s store with the eclecticism of the line’s founder.
Dark wood floors, cozy leather chairs and wrought-iron fixtures evoke a sense of old New York City, while funky copper ceiling tiles and a graffiti-style, cast-metal desk—a replica of Marc Ecko’s own desk from his New York City office—convey the edgy aesthetic of the Cut & Sew line.
And since no men’s store would be complete without a tasteful touch of sex, naked female forms (wearing headphones, of course) adorn everything from fixtures to door handles.
In addition to the complete Cut & Sew apparel collection, which ranges from $24 T-shirts to $185 blazers, the new shops carry the brand’s recently added accessories lines, including Cut & Sew watches, licensed to Callanen International. For spring 2008, the label will launch a shoe line, licensed to Skechers USA, as well as bags and hats, which are being developed internally.
“We see the Cut & Sew brand as a huge retail growth vehicle,” said Chapman. “Retail in general is the company’s biggest growth vehicle right now.”
MEE’s second stage of its retail plan may be even more ambitious than its Cut & Sew rollout; the company is set to unveil an Ecko Enterprises store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis by the end of this month.
The 5,000-square-foot, multi-brand retail concept, which will showcase the company’s young men’s Ecko Unltd. line, Cut & Sew and the Ecko Red juniors’ line, could eventually reach a store count of “a couple hundred,” said Naumann Idrees, MEE’s director of real estate and retail. “We don’t see any reason why we can’t be as successful as other vertical retailers like A&F.”
In fact, MEE’s retail plan in many ways echoes that of Abercrombie, whose umbrella of brands—including Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and Ruehl—are ubiquitous in malls throughout the country. At this year’s end, there will be 11 Ecko Enterprises stores with another 40 scheduled to open next year, in malls from the New York metro area to Florida, Texas and California.
By fall 2008 the company hopes to also launch stand-alone shops for other MEE brands, including the flight-themed Avirex label and the skater-influenced Zoo York brand. Both are slated to open their own outlets this fall, part of the 52 total outlet doors that MEE will operate by the end of 2007.
But unlike Abercrombie, MEE sells its brands to its mall-based competition, from specialty chains such as Dr. Jay’s and demo to department stores including Macy’s and Dillard’s. In fact, Ecko Unltd. is an all-door resource for both of those department stores, which means the brand is already present in nearly every mall in America.
Chapman insisted that the duplication of the labels won’t create competition, but will instead foster more brand awareness. “We’re already in multiple channels of distribution, from department stores to specialty stores to outlets,” he said. “They’re not cannibalizing each other.”
And to help alleviate the repetition of merchandise, Idrees promises that the company’s stores will consist of at least 15 percent unique product.
Reacting to the Cut & Sew and Ecko Enterprises openings, a Macy’s spokesman reiterated its commitment to the brand. “Ecko has been, and remains, a very important partner with Macy’s,” he said.
MEE certainly isn’t alone in establishing its own retail network. In the past year many of Ecko’s contemporaries in the young men’s market, from Rocawear to Quiksilver, have announced plans to focus on vertical shops.
Still, Chapman contends that his company’s retail rollout is simply a way to take control of its own destiny. “We’re still focused on our wholesale accounts, but we think retail is the next step for continued growth.”
@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