By  on October 8, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Many rock 'n' roll fans are accustomed to throwing bras and panties onstage, but Raw 7 is giving them a reason to keep the panties on.

In partnership with Israeli intimates company Le Cooper, the edgy, tattoo-inspired brand based here is branching out from its signature printed cashmere apparel to innerwear. The first collection of lingerie for spring, priced from $6 to $30 wholesale, features 10 styles of briefs, thongs and hipsters with matching tanks and camisoles.

"We looked in the marketplace, and we didn't see anything exciting in underwear and lingerie where the best quality meets the rock 'n' roll lifestyle," said Raw 7 founder Ofer Ashkenazy. "Everything is girly, very sexy à la Victoria's Secret, or very clean."

Ashkenazy explained the initial attempt at creating a line of undies was to stick with graphics, which Raw 7 has used successfully on apparel, "so as not to confuse our customers." So far, images shrunk to fit undies include wings, roses, skulls and daggers.

A popular style previewed at Project Global Tradeshows in Las Vegas in August was a lacy number called Honeymoon, which is available in black, pink, red and fuchsia. Made in Asia, Raw 7 undies are rendered in 12 colors in Lycra spandex blends including Modal and cotton.

Distribution is aimed mainly at major department and specialty stores that sell Raw 7 clothing, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Macy's. However, Ashkenazy noted that specialty boutiques will also be key to distribution, citing 38 orders for Raw 7 lingerie at the Project trade fair.

"We have seen a lot of newer customers that just strictly buy underwear and lingerie," he said. "We can hit a larger audience."

Ashkenazy said he is cautious about a wholesale sales projection and estimated sales the first year should be $500,000 to $750,000, or 7 to 8 percent of Raw 7's estimated volume for 2007. In total, the women's business constitutes about 60 percent of Raw 7's sales, he said.

The company, founded in 2003, has been growing 12 to 14 percent annually, Ashkenazy said. Raw 7 items are found in 350 stores domestically and 700 worldwide."Our business is steady," he said. "Most of the business has grown internationally. Stores keep buying more and more."

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