By  on February 28, 2008

NEW YORK — Contemporary label Raw 7 is bringing its tattoo- and rock 'n' roll-inspired vision to denim.

Founded in 2003 by Ofer Ashkenazy, Raw 7 has established a reputation for its graphic cashmere sweaters and tops. The brand has been expanding into new product categories and in October partnered with Israeli intimates company Le Cooper to introduce its first collection of lingerie for spring. This will be followed by the fall introduction of Raw 7's first denim offerings.

The decision to move into denim was spurred by repeated requests from his retail customers, many of whom said shoppers purchased Raw 7 product along with jeans from brands such as True Religion, Seven For All Mankind and AG Adriano Goldschmied, Ashkenazy said.

"We don't want to become a denim company," he said. "But we thought that if we add an item that would be denim and make it a little more special, the consumer would buy it as a novelty product."

Women's styles will be available in skinny, flare-leg and basic styles and made from Spanish denim. Wholesale prices range from $95 for women's to $120 for men's. Ashkenazy has opted for a heavily treated wash and finishing process, a strategy he believes gives the fabric a softer feel and will help differentiate it from other basic denim offerings.

"We wash the fabric, make the pants, spray it with black wax, bake it in an oven then rinse it again," he said. "Finally, we take wax paper and iron the jean with it to give it that final shine."

The same process is being applied in three different color schemes. There's a blue denim sprayed with black, a black on black denim and a standard blue denim with only the wax effect.

The graphic elements from the brand's selection of tops will also find their way onto the bottoms. Ashkenazy said embroidered artwork from the label's fall collection will be incorporated as details, including embroidered lions, a dagger and eagle image and a cross. The images will be tone-on-tone so as to maintain a more subtle and sophisticated look.

Early reaction to the line has been strong, particularly in men's, Ashkenazy said. The line is also being shown to retailers in France, Japan, Germany and Italy. Ashkenazy said he has booked more than 3,000 pieces, spurring him to move forward with expanding the denim portion of the business."We're already working on our second designs for holiday and with new ideas for finishing," he said. "I don't want to make it look torn with too many things going on. It's going to be mostly a cleaner look for now, with a special finishing and more hand detail than your basic five-pocket jeans that are out there."

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