By  on July 18, 2005

NEW YORK — Oakley's new flagship, which opened this weekend at 113 Prince Street in SoHo, marks another step in its plan to become a fashion lifestyle brand.

The 2,000-square-foot store is Oakley's first retail location in New York, as well as in the Northeast.

"Manhattan is obviously one of the world's preeminent retail areas, especially SoHo," said Link Newcomb, Oakley's chief operating officer.

The flagship sells products for women and men, including the brand's sunglasses, prescription eyewear, apparel, accessories, electronics and footwear, all of which are made in-house.

The store has a strong metropolitan street vibe. Brushed aluminum and stainless steel adorns the interior, wired light fixtures hang low above the merchandise and the playlist includes punk tunes from the Eighties.

Fitted tweed jackets sell for $120, and pairs of big-rimmed Riddle sunglasses that are new for fall retail for $120 to $200. Shoes range from about $80 for metallic flats to $295 for leather wedges.

The Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based company declined to give sales projections for the flagship. Oakley had a retail volume of about $585 million last year, with roughly 15 percent coming from apparel and accessories. Sunglasses are still the company's largest category, accounting for about 50 percent of sales.

The company is steadily adding product categories as it seeks to build its business outside of sunglasses. In February, Oakley showed at the 7th on Sixth runway event a fashion-forward collection featuring a selection of streetwear, outerwear and accessories.

"Historically, the brand is known for performance," Newcomb said. "One of the things we've worked hard to do is find a balance with fashion and lifestyle."

Oakley plans to participate in Fashion Week again this fall, said a company spokesman.

Oakley has 44 company-owned O Stores around the world, in addition to seven other stores that are operated under license. Several of the stores are located in other regions of the U.S. The company also recently opened flagships in London and Mexico City. Newcomb said Oakley plans to open 10 to 15 O Stores before the year is up, including one in Toronto.

"We're looking into a few international locations," Newcomb added, noting that Oakley will continue to expand its business through the opening of new stores, as well as with its continuing efforts to expand its lifestyle offerings.

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