By  on April 2, 2009

Mek Denim wants to take its jeans-loving bohemian customers on a trip around the world through a new travel-inspired sportswear collection.

This fall, the Los Angeles-based denim company will begin selling T-shirts, hoodies and jackets wholesaling between $18 and $50. With as many as 12 styles for women and 10 for men, Mek aims to add freshness in the tops business for its existing base of retailers, including The Buckle and Metropark, which already sell its jeans at retail from $125 to $155. After the launch of a premium label called Voyage and an eco-friendly line, Mekology, the sportswear represents the next step for the four-year-old company in building a lifestyle brand.

“Some of our key retailers are asking us to build a product and build a full collection, not be pigeonholed to just do jeans,” said Kurt Lester, Mek’s vice president of sportswear.

Rather than sticking with plain jersey, Lester said Mek opted for a jersey-Lycra blend and combed-cotton fleece to enhance the body-conscious silhouettes, ranging from wide scoopnecks and plunging V-necks to long tanks and hoodies cinched under the bust.

The tattoo-inspired embellishments underscore the travel theme Mek uses when naming its $125-plus jeans after locales such as Casablanca and Woodstock. Screen prints of tropical flowers enliven the sleeves of a white hoodie dubbed Tahiti. A formfitting T-shirt called Karachi catches the eye with pops of metallic nail heads and Lurex thread atop a screen print evoking an elaborate henna tattoo. As orange is the official color of the Netherlands, Mek picked that tint for the contrast stitching on a graphite-colored jacket named Amsterdam.

Lester said Mek will expand its selection of fabrics and categories. For instance, he said the holiday collection will integrate a cotton-based fabric that feels like cashmere, and skirts will form part of the subsequent spring lineup. The company said children’s sportswear also is in the works.

Lester declined to give first-year sales projections for the new collection.

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