I.B. DIFFUSION IS DRESSING DOWN

Byline: Sophy Fearnley-Whittingstall

The Chicago-based manufacturer, best known for its better-price embellished knitwear, launched a line of contemporary, casual knit separates in June for fall retailing.
The line, called Ron Stuart Live-Ins, is named for the company's president."We're already experts on knitwear and the trend is toward dressing down," explained Stuart.
The line consists of 40 items in muted colors made from cotton chenille, fleece and terry and cotton and Lycra spandex. Wholesale prices range from $12 for a pigment-dyed T-shirt to $49 for a jacket. The average price is $30.
Stuart said the line should generate sales of more than $1 million in its first year. I.B. Diffusion had sales of more than $80 million last year, he said.
Besides selling to stores that already carry I.B. Diffusion merchandise--mainly specialty and department stores--Stuart said he hopes to attract some new, more casual accounts with the line. "It's a way to build on our customer base," he said.
The line is being designed and manufactured by the same team that puts together I.B. Diffusion, under Stuart's direction, but he said that as the line grows, it will probably be spun off into a separate entity.
In addition to manufacturing and selling the I.B. Diffusion brand, the company also owns I.B. Diffusion Blouses and the Santonia brand of moderate sweaters, and has a private label division.

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