By  on April 22, 2010

Rogues Gallery, the premium label founded and designed by Alex Carleton, has closed its New York showroom and is cutting back its wholesale business.

The restructuring is intended to shore up direct channels and domestic production and enable Carleton to attend fully to his deepening relationship with L.L. Bean. He serves as creative director of L.L. Bean Signature, the retailer-cataloguer’s younger, trimmer, stylish label.

“We’ll continue to work with select wholesale accounts, and go back to a more limited assortment of items that we produce in Maine, and rein the project closer to its original premise,” said Carleton. “And we’re really looking to turbocharge our e-commerce site and our Portland store.”

Currently Rogues Gallery, based in Portland, Maine, has about 100 domestic and four international accounts.

“We are going to be selecting which accounts we’re going to deliver to for fall. We’re in that process right now. Going forward we’ll present limited collections and focus more on an item-based model as opposed to collections. And we’ll look at growing as a multibrand model. We’re looking to curate other brands to help subsidize our core assortment. So it’s evolving more into a general store concept,” he said.

Rogues Gallery launched in 2002 and found success in screened T-shirts and nautical motifs — not nautical in the posh, yacht-club sense, but as a reflection of the rugged Maine lifestyle. Carleton, a New England native, had previously designed for Abercrombie & Fitch and Polo Ralph Lauren.

As Rogues Gallery expanded into other apparel categories and channels, it turned to sourcing overseas, which it will now cease.

“I felt the assortment got too big and unwieldy. I want to get back on top of quality control and fit,” Carleton said.

He is looking to open another store this year, he said, since that channel has been profitable. Meanwhile, he intends to limit wholesale distribution to the boutique accounts with the best payment history and quality of merchandising, such as Steven Alan and John Derian.

Carleton did not clarify if Never Sleep, the diffusion line sold at Urban Outfitters and elsewhere, would be affected by the changes.

He did state that, as the L.L. Bean Signature collaboration continues to develop, he needs to deliver 100 percent on his commitment to the company.

“It’s evolving quickly and we’re about to start my fourth season with them. I’m having a great time doing it. Right now it’s indefinite, and we’re looking at it as a longer-term collaboration,” he said.

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