Simply Blue Apparel, the Seattle-based manufacturer of the Christopher Blue denim brand, is targeting another demographic with its latest label, Blue House Drive.
Mel Matsui, chief executive officer of Simply Blue Apparel, is looking to tap into what he views as an underserved but growing market of older, larger women who are looking for more fashion choices at retail.
"We're trying to provide the more mature customer with their own look and their own vibe," said Matsui.
Blue House Drive rounds out Simply Blue Apparel's portfolio of denim brands. Christopher Blue has been the company's bedrock label, catering to women who covet the slender cuts and low rises of most trendy jeans lines but need a fit that is more forgiving. This spring, the company introduced Pine IV, it's first pure-play premium offering, retailing for more than $200 and designed for the more fashion-conscious consumer. Blue House Drive, said Matsui, represents a logical next step from Christopher Blue.
"We took what we consider our fit and just brought it out a little and brought it up a little bit," said Matsui. "It's a little more comfort driven and a bit more tasteful."
The line retails for around $100 and is available in high, medium and low rises. Matsui acknowledged the target consumer for Blue House Drive is one who will follow trends rather than set them. As a result, washes and other stylings will play it conservatively, catering to the strengths of the department store environment.
"We've got whatever the market trend is, we'll address it — except, for $100," said Matsui.
Test orders began retailing this holiday season at Nordstrom and a select group of specialty stores. Matsui said that early response to the line has been positive, but he isn't counting on explosive growth. He's confident the company's solid footing with retailers and its sourcing and manufacturing practices allow it to test the market without creating excessive risk to the overall business.
"If it happens, it happens," said Matsui. "If it does happen, then we're ready to roll it out with all the right production."
He's equally confident the potential Blue House Drive customer is largely being left out at retail and may only have one or two pairs of jeans in her wardrobe. He also believes that, as Baby Boomers age, they will demand more fashionable apparel options.
"I feel this segment of the population is getting hipper," he said. "The malls are so hip now. Who would have thought years ago there would be a Hugo Boss store in every mall in America?"
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast