LOS ANGELES — In a time of heightened fiscal austerity, Civil Smith hopes to woo customers with hip basics that are as easy on the body as they are on the wallet in its fall debut.
Using only selvage denim, Civil Smith capped the wholesale prices for jeans at $82 for men’s and $65 for women’s. The men’s jeans are cut in a relaxed fit with enough distressing to yield a soft hand and a smattering of holes for character. Women’s jeans come in a weathered boyfriend version sitting low on the hips, as well as another loose style that cinches with a buckle in the back. For women who prefer a sculpted leg, there are also ponte di roma leggings that resemble five-pocket jeans on top with a ribbed hem at the bottom.
Plaid shirtdresses, tea-stained canvas chinos, Western flannel shirts mended with red stitching, cotton-linen jersey tank tops, French terry hoodies and moleskin jackets round out the 80 styles combined for men and women. Wholesale prices for nondenim pieces range from $21 for T-shirts to $82 for canvas pants.
“Right now, the market is not about being flashy,” said Lia Fisher, who oversees Civil Smith’s branding and development. “Every single buyer I talked to was concerned about price point.”
Civil Smith is taking a careful approach to the denim market — based on the experience of its four principals. Fisher previously handled sales, marketing and accounts development at Hudson Jeans and Diesel. Jason Ferro, a Guess Inc. and Levi’s veteran who heads his own premium denim label called Bread Denim, designs the men’s and women’s clothing. Scott Luirette is a trained lawyer who previously worked at Blue Holdings and now serves as Civil Smith’s chief executive officer. Daniel Barton, a former marketing executive at Diesel and Rock & Republic, spearheads the start-up’s advertising push through his Los Angeles-based marketing firm called No Such Agency.
Fisher developed the original concept for the line in September. Barton then drew the marketing plans for a fictitious female character who serves as the label’s namesake. Eventually, Ferro jumped on board to design and Luirette made the investment enabling the company to launch.
Aware of the challenging retail environment, Civil Smith plans to sponsor as many promotions as it can with retailers. In addition to providing a gift-with-purchase, it plans to hold seminars for training sales clerks and to list retailers’ names and addresses in ads.
“It’s to show them we want partners,” Barton said. “We’re not in to make a quick buck and get out.”
Retailers that have ordered the line include Japan’s Beams, online retailer eModa.com and Sy Devore in Studio City, Calif. Civil Smith aims to branch into the children’s market within two years.
Executives would not divulge a first-year sales projection, but industry sources estimated the line could generate between $500,000 and $1 million in wholesale volume in its first year.
“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