By  on March 18, 2007

Trading up is getting contagious and Brooks Brothers is the latest to catch the buy.

On Tuesday, the retailer unveils its first designer collection, created by Thom Browne, and called Black Fleece.

It's also Browne's first crack at women's wear. He won the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award in 2006.

Black Fleece will consist of about 50 looks; half men’s, half women’s, and initially, it will be sold in about 30 Brooks Brothers stores in the U.S. starting in September, and several overseas. Trunk shows will be staged in many more locations and will have special items.

Brooks Brothers expects Black Fleece to crack $10 million in sales its first season, though the projection could change, considering decisions on pricing and how the collection is presented in the stores have yet to be made.

The label won’t bear Thom Browne’s name, though in-store signage or hangtags might, to explain the collection was designed by him. The Black Fleece moniker for the collection was adapted from the Golden Fleece, which is the Brooks Brothers logo, and a label on men’s dress suits and ties, and women’s blouses in the store.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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