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NEW YORK — Michael Glasser and Jerome Dahan are used to moving fast.
The sales and design team, who started the Los Angeles-based Seven For All Mankind label more than two years ago, saw the brand reach $64 million in just a couple of years in business. After an abrupt end and pending lawsuit against third partner Peter Koral, Glasser and Dahan launched a new brand, Citizens of Humanity, at the Fashion Coterie trade show here this week.
Glasser, president of the new label, said he expects to reach at least $25 million in sales the first year.
“Buyers called us even before they saw any product to tell us that they were on board to buy the new line for their stores,” he said. “We are about passion and integrity, and the stores are recognizing that.”
Based in Los Angeles, with space at the Simon showroom here, the Citizens of Humanity line mimics quite a bit of what the Seven line is. It is at about the same price point, wholesaling between $50 and $140, and can be recognized by the pocket designs.
The first collection, ready for fall selling, consists entirely of denim. Dominated by a line of basic jeans, it also features a few skirts and denim jackets, as well as a couple of trendier jeans styles, such as a boot-cut piece with buttons accenting the bottoms.
“The most important thing is our fit and quality,” Glasser stressed. “We are making basics the foundation of this business and going from there.”
With his prior experience in the denim business, Glasser said he has learned quite a bit about supply and demand.
“We don’t want to fill the stores with too much merchandise so we are creating a demand for the jeans,” he said. “A customer will come in, buy the jeans, tell her friend about them and when she gets to the store they may not be there. This will make her want them even more and she will wait a couple of weeks for them to come in.”
Glasser said he and Dahan started this new line directly after leaving Seven because he believed there was room for a new name out there.
“We did it once and we can do it again,” he said. “This time, we can do it better. The hardest thing I’ve had to do so far was say no to the stores who are still carrying Seven.”
Meanwhile, the Seven booth at Coterie was bustling. As reported, the company has hired two new seasoned designers: Stefano Aldighieri, former Levi’s design director for fabrics and finishes, is now Seven’s creative director, while Tim Kaeding, who was Gap’s head design director for the past four years, is overseeing the women’s line. The new hires will work with Rebecca Danenberg, who joined Seven’s design staff in September 2001.
“Business is as strong as ever,” said Jennifer Highman, East Coast sales manager for Seven, who also recently joined the company from AG. “Buyers and customers don’t care about what happens behind the scenes. They care about the product.”
Highman said the company doesn’t plan on making any major changes in the product design, since it continues to sell so well for them. “We have plenty of new options for the stores to buy, but we will never walk away from what has made us famous,” she said.
Highman said that the brand hasn’t lost any clients since the launch of Citizens of Humanity and that Seven continues to be picked up by new stores.