LOS ANGELES — Blue Cult will reintroduce itself to the U.S. market for spring — as a moderate brand.
A pioneer in California's premium denim business, Blue Cult is reentering the market two years after its last domestic shipment. Frank Mechaly, who also designs premium brand 575 Denim, has taken the reins and is looking at Blue Cult's past to build its future.
Mechaly has returned to Blue Cult's original fit and elaborate U-shaped back-pocket embroidery for the initial collection that includes 15 women's styles in faded denim, white linen and cream twill. All styles will retail for $89.
"It's hard selling $150 jeans anymore," Mechaly said. "The consumer is looking for a premium product at a lower price."
Mechaly is banking on an updated version of one of the brand's most popular styles, Gwyneth, named in honor of Gwyneth Paltrow. The actress put the brand on the map after being photographed wearing a Blue Cult style in 2000 that featured a form-fitting silhouette, a slightly flared leg and two tiny front pockets. To prevent Gwyneth from looking dated, Mechaly widened the leg opening to 26 inches and added back pockets.
Mechaly understands that the challenges for Blue Cult will be greater than before. The label stopped shipments in the U.S. in spring 2006 because of late deliveries that soured relations with retailers. The brand's European and Japanese distribution has been uninterrupted.
"Blue Cult was a victim of the denim boom," Mechaly said. "I don't think they were on top of the product and they were sloppy — so late [with deliveries]. The only way to build the trust is to ship the right product and on time."
Mechaly's father, David, cofounded Blue Cult with his wife, Caroline Athias, in 1999. The brand quickly expanded to 200 employees and sold in 800 retail doors in the U.S., 800 in Europe, 150 in Japan and 150 in other regions. Annual wholesale volume for Blue Cult eventually reached as high as $60 million. Offshoot brands also emerged, including Blue Cult Knits, Blue 2, Sacred Blue and Elite by Blue Cult. Mechaly designed Sacred Blue until he left to start 575 Denim in 2004.
The premium denim segment has faced significant pressures since Blue Cult exited the U.S., as retailers have opted to focus on a core group of top-performing brands and gradually have shifted their assortments from denim toward dresses and contemporary apparel. Even at 575 Denim, which wholesales from $90 to $120, Mechaly said he will introduce basic styles wholesaling for $69. He also plans to find a licensee to produce Coil, the other moderate line that he designs. Coil's spring collection will be the last one he'll spearhead.
"The price point is going down [in the premium business]," he said.
With the first shipment scheduled for March, Blue Cult's 15 styles include straight-leg jeans punctuated with red and yellow stitching, a boot cut in a black rinse with a four-piece yoke in the back and the Gwyneth in a faded 10-oz. denim.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)