Miss Sixty’s Seventies Inspiration

It was a month behind, but Miss Sixty pulled it off.

Originally scheduled to open in September, the company celebrated the opening of its flagship Tuesday evening. Located at 386 West Broadway in Manhattan, the store is brightly lit and accented by Seventies-inspired details, such as bright orange carpeting and rounded edges on everything from the counters to the one-of-a-kind furniture.

"This store is a mix of all things I like from the Seventies," said Wichy Hassan, owner and founder of Sixty SpA Worldwide, the parent company of Miss Sixty. "From the furniture to the colors, this project is my dream."

With the help of Florence, Italy-based Studio 63, Hasson said he was heavily inspired by the Seventies, which is seen in each detail of the store’s design. He looked to many examples of graphic designs from the decade, as well as popular music from that time. An avid David Bowie fan, he was also inspired by Bowie album covers.

To accent the theme at the party, the DJ played music from the era mixed with an array of contemporary music. Vintage cars were lined up in front, ready to take guests to the after party in TriBeCa.

While this 3,000-square-foot space is the company’s New York flagship, it also runs a small boutique on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.

"We really use that shop as a denim-based test store," said Andrew Pollard, director of sales and marketing at Sixty USA. "The new store will carry the entire Miss Sixty collection."

Pollard said the firm plans to aggressively roll out shops in the next few years around the U.S. Sixty USA, which also runs six other labels, including the Killah junior line, and Sixty, a men’s line, will begin opening shops bearing the names of its other brands, in addition to Miss Sixty. While Pollard did hint that the company is searching for a lower Manhattan location to open a men’s store, he declined to be more specific.

Pollard said he expects Sixty SpA Worldwide to reach $500 million by the end of 2002.As for the delay in the store’s opening, Pollard said a lot of it had to do with customs delays, since much of the merchandise and furnishings came from Italy — where the company began and Hassan still lives, running European operations.

Pollard also used the opening celebration to announce the company’s newly signed eyewear license with Marcolin. This is the first license the company has signed, since the shoes and handbags are done in house.

— Julee Greenberg

Avondale’s Red Year

Denim giant Avondale Inc. slipped into the red for its fiscal year ended in August. As a result of $7 million in restructuring expenses, the Monroe, Ga.-based company posted a net loss of $130,000 for the year, compared with net earnings of $1.3 million a year ago.

Sales were $659.7 million, down 14.6 percent from $772.8 million a year earlier, according to the company. Privately owned Avondale releases its financial results because of public debt.

The firm closed two North Carolina yarn mills this year in an effort to cut costs, a move that also marked Avondale’s exit from the yarn-selling business.

Chairman, chief executive officer and president G. Stephen Felker said in a statement, "Were it not for the $7 million restructuring charge associated with these plant closings, earnings for fiscal year 2002 would have been approximately $4.2 million."

The company noted it paid down debts by $60 million this year and invested $13 million in capital expenditures.

"Our facilities are in good shape, efficient and competitive," Felker said. "Investment in infrastructure and systems in recent years has made it possible to achieve overhead and labor-cost reductions without undermining our commitment to maintain our properties and customer-service levels."

— Scott Malone

Zana Di in Licensing Deal

Junior brand Zana Di Jeans plans to launch a licensed line of handbags and small leather goods for spring retailing. The company recently licensed out its name for those categories to Worldwide Dreams, a maker of accessories.

Assad Jebara, president of New York-based Alpha Garments, which makes Zana Di Jeans, called the deal "part of our overall strategy to build and manage the equity of the Zana Di Jeans brand." For fall 2003, the firms plan to expand the leather accessories line to include backpacks and belts.— S.M.

The Doctor Was In

Crowds gathered with jeans in hand on Henri Bendel’s second floor Oct. 17-19 waiting to see the doctor, that is Sean Hornbeck, the Denim Doctor.

The Los Angeles-based Denim Doctors can lower a waistband, change the taper of a leg, adjust the buttocks or do other changes to make a pair of jeans fit. Hornbeck, owner and president of Denim Doctors, and a tailor set up a rack of jeans and a sewing machine, prepared to meet the needs of the next customer.

As part of the New York retailer’s West Coast Week promotion, women stopping at the store had the opportunity to have a new pair of jeans tailored or have a pair of Denim Doctors’ vintage Levi’s customized. They could also bring in their own jeans of choice for fixing.

"I saw a real need for custom jeans and we really took off right away," Hornbeck said.

While Hornbeck said he likes to customize vintage Levi’s, they are getting harder to find.

"They have become so popular," he said. "There’s so much competition in the jeans business these days and everyone seems to want vintage Levi’s. But what the stores want from the jeans is different on each coast. New York stores like the jeans to be clean, with no stains or rips. In L.A., they want the rips and stains. They want the history that comes with those jeans."

Hornbeck said the average pair of jeans that he sells comes to around $160."Basic jeans run between $88 and $160 a pair," he explained. "Some can run as high as $240, but I like to try and keep them in the $160 range."

Customers who prefer to bring in their own jeans for customization can do so for about $30, he said. "But it depends on how much work is involved." Hornbeck joined Denim Doctors three years ago and took it over two years ago. It was originally founded by Zip L. Stevenson.

— J.G.

Innovo Results Soar

Los Angeles-based Innovo Group Inc., the maker of the Joe’s Jeans line, said it climbed into the black in its third quarter, as sales increased more than threefold on the strength of the Joe’s line.

For the quarter ended Aug. 31, the firm had net income of $820,000, or 5 cents per diluted share, which compared with a $16,000 net loss a year earlier, essentially break-even on a per-share basis. Sales were $10.1 million, up from $2.6 million.

Jay Furrow, chief executive officer, said demand for the Joe’s line was "exceptionally strong during the period, with growing demand in the international market."

For the nine months, the company posted net income of $531,000, or 3 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $75,000, or 1 cent per share. Sales for the nine months were $20.2 million, up from $5.7 million.

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