SAN DIEGO — The hint of rear cleavage on Roxy’s spring catalogue and Ezekiel’s second-season double-E printed ribbed tank, a nod to Chanel’s much-imitated logo, may have best summed up the three-day ASR trade show: Brands that cater to the maturing surfer girl can’t afford to ignore her fashionista alter ego.
Many lines were taking more fashion risks and departing from traditional logo styles. Tunics and multifunctional pieces were top sellers at the Roxy booth. A jumper was seen on the Split runway and Ezekiel touted its overall mini in railroad-worker denim.
Brands such as David & Goliath, Roxy and DC Shoes raised the bar on their cuffed denim jeans and miniskirts, pushing the retail price to $68 to $88 with the use of more expensive washes, baking treatments, wrinkling effects and undone hems.
“Junior is definitely regrouping,” said Diane Biggs, owner of the 15-store chain Diane’s Swimwear, based in Torrance, Calif. “There’s an extra ruffle here, more detail there and a lot of glitz. It’s about fun and stylish clothing.”
And it’s paying off, she said. Her sales are up 20 percent compared with last year and she opened a 1,500-square-foot store in Manhattan Beach, Calif., two months ago that will carry designer labels mixed in with surf and sportswear.
At the same time, companies that looked nothing like traditional surf brands, with nary a hibiscus flower in sight, were testing the waters at the show that ended last Sunday.
Amerikan Project, a four-year-old line out of San Clemente, Calif., made a splash with its rebellious looks, such as paint-splattered Ts and abraded denim. The Closet from Huntington Beach, Calif., and the Active Ride Shop chain picked up the line, designer Eric Crane said.
“There’s the surf, skate, lifestyle crossover thing happening,” he said. “Key stores want to carry both the contemporary lines like Seven jeans and surf lines such as Volcom.”
The show got a boost from the arrival of foreign lines, intent on tapping into the burgeoning U.S. market. The Australian brand Insight, known for its rocker sensibility with its drapy shirtdress and skinny jeans, attended ASR to find American distributors after its strong debut at ASR Europe in July. Plain Jane Couture from Canada and We from Sweden also piqued retailer interest.
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