NEW YORK--First there were body-shaping undergarments. Then came the cleavage-enhancing bras. Now, there's Miracle Boost, a derriere-defining pair of jeans from Sun Apparel. In a market dominated by the basic five-pocket jeans, manufacturers and retailers are constantly on the lookout for innovations that will differentiate their products and grab the consumer. With its new enhancing jeans, Sun hopes to do just that--literally. The new product, which combines fabric technology, cut and finish, is being introduced to Sun's Code Bleu line of contemporary and junior denim. That line, which is sold to department stores such as Macy's East and Rich's, retails for around $30. Miracle Boost jeans will start shipping for late July delivery, and will cost about $10 more--but according to Eric Rothfeld, president of Sun Apparel, it's worth the higher price. Referring to the recent run on cleavage-enhancing bras, Rothfeld said: "Miles [Rubin, partner in Sun] said, 'Everyone's talking enhancement, enhancement, enhancement. Why aren't we doing it?' So we put the idea into development." Rothfeld said that he's expecting the new jeans to generate $20 million in sales through the end of 1995. "A few years ago, women never talked about their bras, their girdles, their body-shapers," said Michelyn Camen, executive vice president of marketing and licensing for Sun. "Now, women flaunt their push-up bras." The new jeans, which will come in Code Bleu's classic slim cut, are made from a cotton and spandex blend that is cut and sewn such that it "lifts and defines" the behind as much as an inch, according to Claire Tassone, director of merchandising for Sun. Rothfeld noted that he's applied for patents and trademark protection for the Miracle Boost process and name. So concerned is he about possible copycats that he won't reveal the fabric source, other than to say that it's not an American mill. "For years, people have been advertising flatness, flat butts and breasts and how flat can you look from the side," said Tassone. "Now, curves are in." "This is a way to tap into the shape-mania that's happening," said Camen, noting that there will be a new ad campaign just for the Miracle Boost. Part of the campaign will be a black-and-white photo of a woman's rear with a purple contraption that resembles a bra wrapped around her hips. It refers to Code Bleu's earlier black, white and purple ads that were posted around New York at the time of the brand launch in January 1994. Camen said the ads will include print and outdoor advertising, and will launch in July. But the Miracle Boost isn't just for jeans, Rothfeld said. Given its lifting powers, "the applications will certainly be broader. We'll start it in Code Bleu for our hip junior customer and then go from there." Rothfeld said the plan is to launch the product with department stores across the country such as Macy's East and Rich's. Specialty stores that are under consideration for the launch include Merry-Go-Round, Gadzook's and Express, said Lainey Goldberg, executive vice president of sales for Sun. The new jeans are expected to get a boost, so to speak, from the renewed interest in stretch and tight jeans, said Tassone. "You have one pair of jeans that are tight stretch jeans for when you really want to work it. You have your classic pair with the holes in the knees that you wear on the weekends to run to the dry cleaner or out to do errands, and you have the pair that you bought four sizes too big to wear cinched at the waist. These are for that first mood." For the first shipments, the jeans will come in stonewash and dark indigo and black. "We will roll out into color and other denim-related enhancement products in fourth quarter," said Rothfeld. The timing is right for a new stretch jeans look, Tassone added. "It's a case of mood and timing coming together," she said. "There's an interest in stretch again, for a certain customer." After the initial launch in the classic cut, the Miracle Boost style will be introduced in other cuts, she said. "For example, we could loosen up the leg for a contemporary customer," she said. In addition to the new ad, there will be plenty of in-store promotion and merchandising, said Rothfeld. Stores will be required to carry point-of-purchase materials, including "explanatory material, before-and-after pictures" and a holographic photograph that demonstrates the effect of the jeans. Other promotions will include sweepstakes and endorsement campaigns, Rothfeld said. "It's only $10 more at retail," said Rothfeld. "Do we think we could get $80 for these? Yes. But we want them to be available to as many people as possible."
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