By  on March 25, 2010

Vancouver’s Dish Jeans Ltd. is out to capture a more style-conscious male who is still committed to the durability of his denim.

The company, which produces the Dish Jeans and Desi women’s lines, is introducing its first men’s label, DRT Jeans, to the U.S. and Canada in May. The line will feature four silhouettes and retail for $98 to $118.

Donald Johannesson, Dish Jeans’ creative and design director, said the company has been testing the men’s market for several years in an effort to perfect the fit.

“We’re really studying every body shape and the type of lifestyle that goes with that jean,” Johannesson said.

The lineup of fits include a relaxed straight, a classic boot-cut, a slim straight and a skinny tapered style, all available in two or three washes. Johannesson said the company has about 50 stores signed to sell the line and independent retailers likely will be the preferred distribution channel. The goal is to develop a stock business with retailers, and the company is even offering no minimums on orders in an effort to help build relationships organically.

“We’re not looking to do $150 million in a year, we’re just happy to get things in the stores, get it moving and have the stores happy,” he said. “We’re in a business to build partnerships with retailers.”

Johannesson believes there’s been a change in attitude among retailers, as well as male consumers, when it comes to denim.

“I’m finding that the male customer is getting a little more adventuresome than he was,” he said, noting more men are waking up to the extra comfort of a stretch fabric. “They’re much more concerned about fit than they used to be. It used to be if a jean fit in the waist, that was it.”

Retailers, on the other hand, are seeing the business environment improve and are ready to move forward.

“We’re in that cycle right now where [retailers] are looking for something new and a little different, something with a little bit of a hook that they can latch on to,” Johannesson said.

The company also is looking to stress its value and, as the DRT Jeans name suggests, durability, he said. Each style has been designed with additional elements aimed at preventing wear and tear. Back pockets have been given extra fabric to prevent wallets from wearing through, while belt loops and front and back pockets have been reinforced with rivets and extra stitching.

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